Foods to Help Maintain a Healthy Milk Supply
There’s no doubt that breastfeeding requires a lot from your body. After all, your body burns hundreds of calories a day as it produces energy to keep up with the demands of a hungry infant or toddler. For this reason, eating foods that will help increase and maintain your milk supply is key. If you decide to nurse your baby, keep in mind that the more you nurse, the more milk your body produces. In addition to this, certain foods can help increase and maintain milk supply naturally, especially as babies reach their growth spurt and require more milk. Your body becomes aware of the increased demand and starts to ramp up production. Eating the following foods will go a long way to help meet the demands of a hungry baby.
- Leafy Green Vegetables
Options such as spinach, broccoli and kale are excellent sources of iron and calcium. Calcium is extremely important while nursing because breast milk contains calcium. So for this reason, nursing mothers need to replace the calcium passed on to their babies during nursing. Fortunately, these vegetables are very versatile and can be prepared a number of ways, either raw in a salad or cooked in a stir-fry.
While there isn’t any definitive scientific proof (yet) that oatmeal increases milk supply, it’s still a recommended source of nutrients and minerals for nursing moms. It’s a great source of fiber so enjoying a bowl of oatmeal first thing in the morning will keep you feeling full longer. An added bonus for nursing mothers suffering from maternal anemia is that oatmeal is full of iron. A drop in iron levels can affect milk supply so replacing it with foods rich in iron is imperative.
- Brown rice
Another great source of fiber is brown rice. It’s a healthy option because the hull is still intact so unlike white rice, which has gone through the refining process that removes the hull, it still contains minerals and nutrients such as protein, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium which your body needs to function. Since so many calories are burned during milk production, brown rice goes a long way by replenishing these calories.
This fatty fish is perfect for both nursing moms and their babies. It’s full of protein, Omega 3, and DHA (which is needed for the healthy development of a baby’s nervous system). To minimize the amount of mercury you’re exposed to, limit intake to two to three servings a week. Fortunately, salmon has very low levels of mercury but it’s still a good idea to monitor how much you eat week to week.
This is technically not a food but staying hydrated is important for anyone but more so for nursing mothers. Adequate hydration goes a long way to ensuring your energy levels remain high (infants and toddlers take a lot of work!) and will help your body as it works to produce and maintain a consistent milk supply. Have fun with your water and add fruits such as berries for a naturally sweetened taste and added nutrients.
This is a guest post by Milveen Eke-Allen is a freelance writer and blogs about motherhood at glitterandglowmom.ca. She’s a mother of one and enjoys discovering new tips and tricks that empower the journey through parenthood.