You may have believed boobs already played a big role in your life, but welcome to breastfeeding. Your life is now all about your boobs and that one thing they were actually designed for, and that’s feeding your kid. Breastfeeding is awesome (no judgement, formula moms, we see you and we get it and we have our own favorite formula too), but we’re not going to lie, it’s not always easy. The number one reason moms give up on nursing comes down to pure supply and demand — your baby is demanding, but your boobs aren’t supplying.
There are plenty of ideas out there to help boost your milk production, but it starts with what you’re eating and drinking. More nursing or pumping until your boobs are empty means more milk, so nurse or pump every time your baby shows signs of hunger. It’s recommended to let babies nurse on demand or every two to three hours, although most babies end up “cluster feeding” or feed in frequent short bursts. Don’t panic — just because your baby only nurses briefly, that does NOT mean your boobs are running dry.
So, let’s talk about how breastfeeding is the epitome of “you are what you eat” and that means some foods may help, too. There are foods that could act as galactagogues, or in laymom’s terms, boob boosters. Let’s get those boobs flowing.
Go Ahead, Have Seconds And That Means Water Too
Great news, moms of the boob dependent. You get to eat more! If you don’t eat enough, you won’t make enough milk (think at least 1,500 calories a day — but 1,800 is better, which means yes to that extra slice). And don’t go without your snacks — keep some nuts, cheese, fruit and whole-grain crackers by your favorite nursing spots. There is also some research showing increased milk production in moms who ate 100 grams of protein per day. Don’t forget to drink up — hydration is key, so that means to hell with eight glasses a day, shoot for thirteen.
Holy Saponins, Batman! Oatmeal is jampacked with ‘em, and some research suggests they can be a way to power up your boob milk (what? That’s what it is, yo). So enjoy the oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies (hey, no raisins, am I right?), a hearty breakfast of your favorite oatmeal blueberry muffins. Added bonus is extra anti-inflammatory properties from the blueberries (great when everything is still inflamed from birth). So eat a bowl a day, maybe with just a little cream, yum.
You’ve heard that a nice hearty dark beer will help boost your milk production, but you don’t want to guzzle beers while you’re nursing (although we’ll forgive you if you have one, no judgement). No worries, you can simply add brewer’s yeast to your food instead (like the oatmeal cookies, maybe). It’s not proven to increase milk supply, but it’s a good idea since brewer’s yeast contains chromium. This may help regulate your blood sugar and keep you from eating all the oatmeal cookies.
Fenugreek and other herbs
Technically fenugreek is more a spice than a food, and while not scientifically proven to work some moms swear it boosts their milk production. You can take it as a supplement, but you can also work it into recipes. Best part? You’ll soon be wearing the best perfume ever because you’ll smell like maple syrup. There is a recommended dose, however, of 3,500 mg per day! Other herbs that may (or may not) have an effect are blessed thistle, goat’s rue, and alfalfa. The jury is still out on these, though, too.
There you have it. Don’t forget to check with your doctor before you add any supplements, and remember to drain those boobs as often as you can to stimulate production — and make sure you’re eating and drinking the right way. So there ya go —you might smell like an oatmeal cookie or a pancake, but you’re eating great stuff and your baby is content and will soon develop those deliciously dimpled elbows and knees. You got this, mom. You really do.
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