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Struggling with Breastfeeding? These 7 Foods Can Help

by SmartyPants Staff

Being a parent is full of ups and downs, and that can include breastfeeding. We know breastfeeding isn’t easy. And while there’s no magic potion that will increase your breast milk supply, there are some foods and supplements that can help you on your journey. We talked to our Director of Nutrition Science, Aletta Mayorga about some foods that may help and even better - they’re packed with nutrients you need as a breastfeeding parent.  

Remember: always talk to your doctor or lactation consultant if you’re experiencing ongoing issues with milk supply.


Oats

Oats are likely the best known food according to “traditional wisdom” to help boost milk supply. Science hasn’t really identified exactly why oats appear to help, but oats still stand as a great source of vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber; all in all a great nutritional powerhouse. Try overnight oats, oatmeal or blend in your smoothie.


Stay Hydrated

Does nursing have you feeling thirstier than usual? There’s a good reason for this. Breast milk is 90% water and the hydration needs of breastfeeding mamas are higher. Aim for about 16 cups (128 oz) of fluid daily. This sounds like a lot, but doesn’t all need to come from water! It can come from food (think soups) or beverages.


Fruits

Speaking of thirst quenching, fruits can be a great source of additional hydration, as well as antioxidants and essential nutrients like vitamin C, a vitamin we all know and love for its role in supporting the immune system. The vitamin C content of breastmilk varies depending on mom’s dietary intake, so if you needed more reasons to enjoy nature’s sweets, look no further!


Fenugreek

A popular herbal galactagogue (substance to increase milk supply) that some moms find helpful to increase milk supply is fenugreek. Fenugreek tea is a popular option and helps boost hydration too. If you’re curious about fenugreek, make sure to speak with your healthcare provider before starting on any new herbal remedies.


Salmon and Sardines

Nothing fishy about these beneficial seafoods! Salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA as well as Vitamin D and B12. These nutrients are important for both mom and baby and help increase the nutrient density of breastmilk.


Eggs 

Any style - but don’t ditch the yolk! Eggs are great sources of choline, lutein and several other vitamins that help boost the nutrient content of breastmilk. Choline and lutein in particular are generally under-consumed foods, but carry big benefits for infant cognitive and visual development.


Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are a great source of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals in plant foods that not only help plants stay healthy, but can be beneficial for people too - think colorful fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens are also a great source of calcium, which is an important nutrient for breastfeeding moms. The body will prioritize calcium content of breastmilk, so if mom isn’t getting enough of the nutrient, their own calcium stores may decline.

 

Sure, breastfeeding may not always be easy, but it can be a nutritionally rewarding journey. It’s worth remembering that even if mom’s diet is not perfect, breastmilk is still a superfood, packed with essential nutrients and immune building antibodies to support baby’s growth and development.

P.S. - Prenatals are an important part of any mom's routine even after birth. Check out our Prenatal Formulas to find the one that's best for you!

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