Did you know there are certain foods you can eat to promote milk production? These foods, called galactagogues, are any food, supplement, or herb that promotes or increases the flow of a mother's milk.

Foods to help with breast milk supply

A few foods that help increase or maintain healthy milk supply are:

  • Water
  • Oatmeal
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Nuts
  • Green papaya
  • Sesame seeds
  • Ginger

These foods are not guaranteed fixes, but have been known to boost lactation and milk supply, especially water and oatmeal.

How breastfeeding can help

You should maintain a healthy diet while breastfeeding for yourself as well as for your baby. Breastfeeding burns hundreds of extra calories per day, which means you will need to stay hydrated (drink at least 8 glasses or 64 fluid ounces of water a day), and you will need to maintain proper nutrition (almost as if you were on a new workout regime).

Breastfeeding can help you get back to pre-baby weight, but should not be used as a dietary method or in place of a workout program- you must keep your body adequately nourished, or you risk compromising your milk supply, or your health.

If you're looking to cut pounds while breast feeding, without cutting your supply, there are a few foods that can help:

  • Legumes
  • Blueberries
  • Brown rice
  • Salmon
  • Lean beef
  • Oranges
  • Eggs
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Leafy greens

Foods and drinks to avoid

The FDA recommends you limit your salmon intake while nursing; otherwise, these healthy foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, while being low in fats and refined sugars- a perfect combo for someone looking to lose extra pounds while staying healthy.

You want to also make sure you aren't ingesting things that may harm your baby. You will definitely want to steer clear of drugs and alcohol, but there are a few other irritants you will want to watch out for while breast feeding.

Caffeine can irritate your baby, and the possible allergens in peanuts are not metabolized before being passed from mother to baby while feeding. Consider taking supplements, such as your daily prenatal vitamin, or B-12 (B-12 is essential for your baby's brain development). Your baby also needs vitamin D to help him or her absorb calcium and phosphorus (and to prevent rickets, a condition in which the bones are weakened or softened). It is also vital you seek foods rich in calcium, protein and iron.

Using a breast pump can help with milk supply

Using a breast pump can also help to increase your milk supply. When you can’t be with baby, a pump will allow you to continue to express milk and not interrupt your body’s production of breast milk, which in turn promotes milk production. It is important to continuously express milk to encourage milk production so you can breastfeed as long as you and baby wish, and also to prevent breast engorgement. It is important to note that breast pumping will still burn the same amount of calories as feeding, and will require the same diet maintenance.

Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby, and staying healthy is crucial to ensuring you will be able to continue to provide this amazing natural food to your child.