Foods and drinks that increase breast milk

Getting enough milk is a major concern breastfeeding mothers have. Nursing moms always look for solutions and recipes to increase milk production. In this article, I will talk about the best way to increase breast milk and about foods that help boost breast milk supply.

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Sally Al Beer
Published on:Jan 17th 2023 |Updated on:Jun 10th 2024
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What increases breast milk supply?

If you want a guaranteed and tested method that increases breast milk, you need to empty the breasts completely and continuously. Either through direct feeding or through pumping breast milk using a manual or an electrical pump.

How many calories does a breastfeeding mom needs?

When breastfeeding exclusively, women need 500 more calories than their daily calorie intake, for their bodies to be able to produce enough milk for the baby.

What about water?

Nursing moms need about three liters of water daily, to help their bodies produce enough milk, and to avoid any dehydration or exhaustion.

Foods that help increase breast milk supply

This list varies from one country to another, as such foods are strongly related to culture more than empirical evidence. Below are some of the foods that are common among different societies, they are healthy options that can increase milk supply so there is no harm in trying them.

  • Protein-rich foods.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Dried fruits especially figs.
  • Healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil.

Foods that might decrease the milk supply

These foods don’t stop the flow of breast milk, we recommend to breastfeeding women not consume them in great amounts, instead of stopping their consumption completely. These foods include:

  • Thyme “Zaatar” when consumed in great quantities may reduce the milk supply.
  • Mint, if you love mint-flavored tea and have three to four cups daily, you need to reduce it to one cup to maintain a good milk supply.
  • Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, and sodas is a diuretic so consuming it in great quantities can reduce fluids in your body, risking a decline in the amount of breast milk.

Herbal remedies affecting the amount of breast milk

Certain herbal remedies can increase or decrease breast milk. It is best to consult a pharmacist, or a breastfeeding specialist before taking any herbal remedy while breastfeeding.

Tips to increase milk supply

  1. Follow a healthy and balanced diet that contains all the healthy and essential elements, to ensure that your body gets the needed energy to produce enough milk so that you and your baby stay healthy. Make sure you get all the needed nutrients and avoid focusing on one type of food.
  2. Get healthy snacks especially while you breastfeed the baby or while you pump, healthy snacks include:
  • Salads that are rich with leafy greens.
  • Healthy smoothies.
  • Dates with sesame or tahini.
  1. Feeding on demand
  2. Emptying the breasts through direct feeding or pumping.

Check out What are the top breastfeeding challenges and how to overcome them?

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Sally Al BeerBreastfeeding Counselor & Newborn Care Specialist

Sally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Sharjah. She moved to Ontario Canada where she worked as a pharmacist for several years. Meanwhile, she had two children and received great support from breastfeeding consultants. She enjoyed the breastfeeding journey which drove her to volunteer to help new mothers in this journey as well. She found her passion in the field of mother and baby and continued to volunteer after returning to live in the UAE, until she became an accredited breastfeeding specialist providing support to hundreds of breastfeeding mothers, by helping them overcome the challenges of breastfeeding.

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