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5 Simple foods to increase breast milk supply

Diana Johnson is a recipe developer, photographer, writer and the creator of Eating Richly Even When You're Broke. She is passionate about helping people learn to cook and eat foods rich in nutrition and flavor, even on a tight budget, a...

Snack your way to a better supply

Low supply is currently one of the top reasons nursing mothers give for needing to stop breastfeeding. While many lactation experts say that a latch problem is a more likely culprit, there are easy ways to increase your breast milk supply naturally. Galactagogues are substances that promote lactation, and these five ingredients have been used for decades to help increase the flow of mama's milk.

Simple foods |

Photo credit: Diana Johnson/


Doctors and midwives have been recommending oats for lactating mothers for years. It's believed to positively affect the hormones that affect milk supply. You can use oats as a binder in everything from cookies to meatloaf, but the easiest way to get your oats is a nice hot bowl of oatmeal. Even the simple act of sitting down to eat a bowl of oatmeal can help a nursing mother relax and allow the release of oxytocin.

Overnight slow cooker apple pie oatmeal >>



Flaxseed contains phytoestrogens, a plant-based compound that can mildly mimic estrogen. Phytoestrogens are believed to have potential in helping to protect against a variety of health disorders. In addition to flaxseed's lactogenic properties, they are great source of fiber, another important need for nursing mothers. For the greatest health benefit (and financial savings), buy whole flaxseed and grind it as needed in a blender or coffee grinder. You can stir in into oatmeal or smoothies, bake it into cookies or muffins and even sprinkle whole seeds onto salads or yogurt.

Blueberry and banana smoothie with flaxseed >>


Brewer's yeast

Both brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast are incredible nutritional supplements full of B vitamins, iron, protein and several minerals. While brewer's yeast is the most commonly recommended for increased milk supply, nutritional yeast can be substituted in a pinch. The yeast has a slight cheese taste so try sprinkling it on foods that would pair well with cheese, like eggs, tacos and pasta. You can also use it in small amounts in baking or smoothies.

Arugula almond pesto >>



Legumes like chickpeas are a popular choice for breastfeeding mothers. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are a complete protein and have been used as a galactagogue for thousands of years. You can keep canned chickpeas on hand, or easily cook dried chickpeas in the crockpot. They're an easy addition to soups and salads, but they're especially fun to eat as hummus. Hummus is full of garlic (another galactagogue) and olive oil (a healthy fat) and makes the perfect snack for a breastfeeding mom when paired with some carrot or cucumber sticks.

Sunny Meyer lemon & pine nut hummus >>



Almonds are an easy snack for a quick dose of protein and healthy fat. Almonds are calcium rich and can be eaten whole, or even turned into almond milk. Try adding sliced almonds to salads, baking slivered almonds into cookies or muffins or just keeping whole nuts in a bowl nearby for snacking.

Sautéed green beans with toasted almonds >>

More breastfeeding diet tips

The breastfeeding diet for nursing moms
Less common foods to avoid when breastfeeding
Breastfeeding myths: From low milk-supply to diet

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