Foods that can Enhance Milk Supply

Oct 16, 2020

Food is FUEL and breastfeeding a baby means nourishing both mama and baby! Nursing moms need an extra 450-500 calories per day so choosing nutrient-rich foods is important!  

This article is written to help bring awareness to your current diet and what areas you might need improvement. Many of the foods listed below are packed full of fiber, iron, vitamins, and minerals. For many mamas adding some of these foods is just what they need to help boost their milk supply as long as they are  breastfeeding or pumping frequently enough and there are not any other underlying issues. It is equally important for moms to continue taking their prenatal vitamin as well. 


Lactogenic Foods that are thought to enhance milk supply:


  • Oats
  • Whole grains 
  • Quinoa
  • Beans (kidney beans, black or white beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Barley
  • Hops
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Flax seed
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Fennel
  • Basil
  • Leafy greens (dandelion, spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens)
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Green Papaya
  • Nuts & Seeds (almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
  • Lactation cookies (be careful of the sugar content!)
  • Coconut water
  • Mothers Milk Tea


HERBALS that are thought to increase milk supply- 

Herbals can be very effective but there are a few things to keep in mind. Herbals are not FDA approved. This means they are not required to go through all the testing and research that medications do. Because there is not regulation, not all products are created the same. If you are taking a medication, some herbals may also interfere with it. Another factor is that there is not a lot of research on effective dosages to achieve maximum impact on milk supply. 

Commonly used all-purpose herbals include: 

  • Fenugreek (caution use for those who have thyroid or diabetes)
  • Moringa (my favorite)
  • Alfalfa
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Goat’s Rue
  • Nettle
  • Shatavari


Importance of HYDRATION-

Drinking enough water so your urine is pale yellow or clear indicates you are well hydrated. Being dehydrated might impact milk supply, as well as, drinking too much water. 

Foods that can help you to stay hydrated: 

  • Soups or broths
  • Teas 
  • Smoothies
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juices (watch the sugar or do ½ juice, ½ water)
  • Frozen popsicles
  • Fruits and veggies (watermelon, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, and cantaloupe)


Importance of PROTEIN in the diet-

Protein is necessary to make milk. Many busy moms are not getting enough protein in their diet. It is recommended that breastfeeding mothers get 65g of protein in their diet ( ~2-3 servings per day). 

Sources of protein rich foods:

  • Lean beef, chicken or turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs (hard boiled eggs are a quick easy snack)
  • Milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Pistachios or almonds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Protein bar 
  • Whey Protein powder added to a smoothie


Impact of ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS in breastmilk-

In the American diet we generally lack essential fatty acids in our diet. Some of the latest research proves that a diet rich in DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acids will lead to an increased amount in breastmilk. Essential fatty acids help with growth and development for the baby! 

Omega 3 rich foods: 

  • Fish oil
  • Algae extract
  • Cod liver oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Leafy greens (kale, collard greens, spinach, arugula)
  • Bok choy
  • Walnuts
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Legumes
  • Fatty cold water fish (salmon, herring, cod, sardines)


Remember there is no one MAGIC cure if you think your milk  supply is low. All of these things can help in addition to some of the other suggestions in my blog “Top 10 Tips to Boost Milk Supply”. 

We were never meant to do this motherhood journey alone! If you are not seeing improvement, reach out for a lactation consultation with an experienced IBCLC, dietitian or your healthcare provider. 

Want a FREEBIE to help keep your milk supply up?
Click HERE to get access to the FREE Mini Milk Boosting eBook!

If you liked what you read and would like to learn more, I would love for you to join the Baby’s Best Beginning community! 


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With love & gratitude,



*This article is not meant to substitute seeking advice from a medical professional as there may be other underlying issues.

Marasco, L. and West, D. Making More Milk, 2020

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