Foods that Can Help You Build Milk Supply

Many mothers have the best intentions to breastfeed their child for as long as possible, but unfortunately many are scared into thinking they don’t produce enough milk.

If a good nursing relationship was established in the beginning, then a drop in milk production is most likely to happen during the first few days upon returning to work, calorie restriction, over-exercising, during your period, or from stress.  Along with nursing on demand, adding some simple lactogenic foods to your diet can help increase milk supply.

Healthy fats are important for hormone production, which assist in regulating milk production. Coconut oil, omega-3-fatty acids and fatty fish such as wild salmon, herring and sardines are excellent sources of healthy fats.

Foods high in phytoestrogens are known for promoting lactation. Dark, leafy greens including kale, chard, and spinach as well as carrots and dried apricots should be included in a lactation diet.

Some vegetables have sedative-like properties; this supports the production of prolactin, which helps milk supply and letdown. Lettuce, fennel, onion and potato will all have this effect on the body.

Tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin the “feel-good” hormone, can have a positive effect on milk supply. Foods high in tryptophan include spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, carrots and sweet potato. Brown rice also increases the production of serotonin.

The Omega 3s and calcium found in sea vegetables have been found to not only support milk supply, but also help ward off depression. Wakame, Irish moss, kelp and agar are all surprisingly easy to prepare at home.

There are also supplements that can help mothers having trouble producing milk. Some to consider are fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, blessed thistle and Mother’s Love products.

If adding these foods and supplements to your diet doesn’t make any impact on your milk supply and you also have excessive hair loss, it could be an indication of a hormonal imbalance, such as a thyroid disorder. Make sure to get help from a certified lactation consultant if you are having trouble, and always check with your doctor or pediatrician when in doubt.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby. Visit her blog and website at


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