As a breastfeeding mom, you may worry if you are making enough breast milk. Many moms do. You want to make sure that your little one is getting everything he needs to grow big and strong.
The good news is that most moms will make as much milk as their baby needs. Milk supply works on a supply and demand basis the majority of the time.
However, there are a variety of things that can cause a temporary decrease in mom’s milk supply. There are also are moms who always struggle to make enough for their babies.
One easy way to increase milk supply is through your diet. There are foods that are called galactagogues, which means they help increase milk production. They are also referred to as lactogenic foods. If you are looking for foods to increase your milk supply, you have many tasty options to choose from.
Grains That Increase Milk Supply
Oats are a popular galactagogue. One great thing about oats is how versatile they are. Cooked oats or overnight oats are a popular choice for breakfast. But you also can add oats to cookies, muffins, and smoothies. Some cooks even put it in their meatloaf recipe.
Oat milk has become a popular dairy alternative. Cooking up some oatmeal with oat milk is an excellent way to get a good dose of this lactogenic food. Many mamas LOVE mixing Milk Dust protein powder with oatmilk in smoothies. It is delicious, and blends up super creamy.
Barley is another grain that helps with milk production. It is believed that a polysaccharide in barley can increase the milk making hormone, prolactin. It is typically used in soups and stews. But you can get creative in your kitchen and come up with other ways to incorporate some barley into your diet.
Barley malt syrup has the same lactogenic properties as the grain. It can be used as a sweetener in drinks or for baking. Look for a brand that does not add additional sweeteners.
Brown rice is another grain that is believed to help moms make milk. Brown rice also adds fiber to your diet and can be substituted any time that white rice is used.Milk Dust uses brown rice protein as part of the unique formula to help so many mamas increase their milk supply.
Protein rich foods aid in robust milk production. Meal prep can help busy nursing moms increase their protein intake. Many mamas underestimate the power of protein for milk supply, and immediately jump to the carb-heavy, sugary snacks as a quick fix to boost their caloric intake, rather than adding more protein-rich foods. Many breastfeeding mamas do not crave protein like they do sugar, so Milk Dust is an amazing option that offers the essential amino acids from protien for new mommies, as well as a delicious, sweet taste!
Make a dozen Hard-boiled eggs once a week. Store them in the fridge.
Peel and eat one or two by itself
Make an egg salad sandwich
Chop up and add to your favorite salad.
Cook several chicken breasts all at once in the crockpot or oven.
Milk Dust protein powder can be added to make delicious smoothies.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs
Fenugreek is a very popular galactagogue. It is an herb that is used in many cultures to increase milk supply. While many moms take it in capsule form or as a tincture, it can also be brewed as a tea or added to foods. Fenugreek is the most widely researched herb when it comes to milk supply and lactation, and it is an essential part of our formula.
You can tell when a mom is consuming a lot of fenugreek because it will give her body a maple syrup smell. This is why we do not soley use Fenugreek in our herb blend. High-doses of fenugreek can cause stomach issues, a maple syrup smell and very rarely, the opposite affect for some mothers. We use a smaller does of Fenugreek, in combination with other lactogenic herbs to ensure our customers get the best herb blend possible.
Fennel seeds are another popular herb used by women to help make more milk. This herb has a taste that is similar to licorice. Fennel is also available as a vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Fennel seeds are also an important piece in our lactation herb blend for Milk Dust.
Dates are a yummy fruit that helps mamas build a good milk supply. Delicious by themselves, they are also a popular ingredient in energy balls. Dates, oats and Milk Dust can create a fabulous energy-ball snack, that breastfeeding mamas can quickly grab for a big milk boost.
Pumpkin is a galactagogue that can be used in muffins, cookies, pancakes, or to make soup. There are also some really yummy snacks you can make using pumpkin and Milk Dust.
Making a pumpkin pie or pudding and adding Milk Dust will make it extra tasty and have extra milk boosting properties. Fenugreek has a nutty and maple flavor profile that complements the taste of pumpkin.
Papaya is a lactogenic fruit that can be eaten raw if it is ripe. Green papaya should be cooked. You can also add frozen papaya chunks into lactation smoothies for a delicious, creamy texture!
Nursing moms are encouraged to eat a lot of dark leafy green veggies to help them produce lots of milk. Dark, leafy greens like Kale, Spinch, Arugela and Broccoli are fabulous for adding iron, phytonutrients, calcium and more. Milk Dust has spinach, spirulina and chlorella in the formula to help nursing mothers get plenty of these vitamins in one shake.
Other Food Products
Brewer’s yeast has long been used by mamas who are trying to increase their milk production. It is a dietary supplement that is available as a powder, flakes, or liquid. It can be added to baked goods as well as smoothies or pancakes.
Combining the Top Foods to Increase Milk Supply
For the mama who is looking to get the most out of her time in the kitchen, many of these lactogenic foods can be combined.
Think pumpkin oatmeal muffins with a boost of brewer’s yeast and fenugreek.
Lactogenic snack foods have become very popular. They are available in different flavor varieties. And who doesn’t love a time saving convenience food? Unfortunately, many of the prepared lactation are full of sugar and less-than healthy options. Milk Dust Bars will be available soon, which are full of protein, healthy ingredients, low in sugar, and milk-boosting! Some other prepared foods include the list below. Keep them on hand for times when you will need something on-the-go, or a sweet fix.
There is very little reasearch on food sthat will actually decrease milk supply, Some anecdotal findings, where mothers ate very large quantities of peppermint, sage or parsely, noticed a decrease in supply. Keep in mind, that these herbs will only cause a decrease in supply if taken in very large quantities.
If you are really struggling to make enough milk be sure to contact a lactation consultant. She can help you figure out what is causing your low milk supply and come up with the best plan to help you maximize your milk production.
Healthy snacks are really important for breastfeeding mamas to maintain milk supply and keep from getting too hungry. Snacking is also helpful for weight loss because they keep a new mama from starving and eating anything in site.
What is the perfect, healthy snack for breastfeeding?
There is such thing as a perfect snack for a breastfeeding mama. A snack that has plenty of protein, healthy carbohydrates and a little fat is the perfect snack because of the nutritional benefits. A snack with one macro nutrient missing can leave you hungry again very soon after you snack. Of course we love protein shakes as a snack or meal for weight loss because you can keep your sugar low, protein high, and add a little bit of essential fats for your breast milk.
What to avoid when making healthy snacks while breastfeeding:
There are a good number of ingredients and nutritional facts you should avoid while breastfeeding if you want to keep your snacks healthy and filling. These include:
high sugar foods like jelly, granola bars and cereals
processed and packaged foods low in fiber and high in carbs
high-sugar dairy products like yogurts that claim to be healthy
Low-nutrient crackers with lots of processed chemicals
Creating healthy snacks while breastfeeding doesn’t have to difficult if you stick to some simple rules and get creative. Here are the rules we suggest following to make healthy snacks that will keep your milk supply going strong, while also slimming your waistline.
The three rules to making healthy breastfeeding snacks:
Always have a lean protein:
Lean proteins include clean, nitrate-free deli meats, a clean protein powder, low-fat and low-sugar yogurts, light string cheese, hummus, beans and clean, wild caught tuna. These are all awesome choices for a protein, and can be created into a great snack!
Never forget a veggie:
Your protein needs to be combined with a veggie of some kind. Think lean and green. The world of veggies is much larger, and there are so many ways to incorporate veggies into your snacks. Carrots and cucumbers are great for dipping, lettuce can be used as a wrap, peppers are also great for dipping, and of course many herbs and greens for salads. Many grocery stores sell riced and spiralized veggies which can help with the need for a noodle or rice texture to your snack.
Keep carbs and fats minimal:
When working on making a healthy snack, keep the carbs and fats to a minimum. This leaves more room for carbs and fats in your meals, and enables you to keep burning fat as fuel in between your main meals. Snacks are an opportunity to feed your body nutrients, but you don’t want them to ruin your healthy weight-loss goals. Adding some fruit, a little brown rice, or oatmeal to your snack works really well if you are needing some more substantial carbs for energy.
Healthy snack ideas for milk supply and weight loss while breastfeeding:
Slice cucumbers and stack with a lean protein, tuna and a low-fat cheese to make a bread-free, super healthy sandwich,
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt + Berries:
This is a great snack option, and it is very quick. Non-fat, plain greek yogurt is really high in protien, and you can add a few berries with a little honey to make it feel like a dessert snack.
These bars will be out around Spring, and they are so delicious! Full of everything our lactation powder has, but wrapped up in a sweet, lovely bar full of nutrients. You can pack these on the go, which makes it easy to stick to your goals, boost lyour milk supply and keep your sugar intake low!
Overnight oats are cold, so they make a wonderful snack. Easy to make, and easy to grab, which is really important as a new mommy. Grab a mason jar, pour in 1/8 cup – 1/4 cup dry instant oats, pour in a cup or so of milk of choice, stir in 1/2 scoop of Milk Dust for extra lactation + protein boost, and top with some sliced fruit.
Light trail mix:
Standard trial mix is actually very high in sugar with dried fruits. You can make your own, lighter version of trail mix by using fresh berries with nuts. This provides more nutrients, less sugar, yet still a very satisfying snack. Even some dark chocolate chips mixed in is less sugar than dried fruit.
Sweet potato nachos:
Homemade sweet potato chips are the best, but if you watch your portions, the packaged brands are usually pretty clean. Pile your chip with fresh pico de gallo or salsa, which is full of veggies, and you actually have a snack full of veggies. The only piece missing is some lean protein, which can come in the form of a non-fat Greek yogurt. A low-fat sour cream isn’t a terrible choice, or make some nachos with a light cheese and a lot of salsa or veggies. This is very filling, and as long as it isn’t drenched in high-fat cheese, it is a lit and fresh option.
Apples and peanut flour:
Peanut flour is relatively new on the market, but is a great way to have all the peanut butter without the fat. Most peanut flours mix with a few teaspoons of water, and blend into a yummy, peanut butter consistency. You can also blend your protein powder with non fat greek yogurt and a little Stevia or honey to make an awesome, creamy, protein-rich dip for your apples.
Carrots/Veggies + hummus:
Hummus is a great source of lean protein, and often comes in some really delicious flavors. You can dip so many veggies in hummus it is amazing. It also works well with the cucumber sandwiches as an alternative to cheese.
Beans and cauliflower rice:
If you are craving something more comforting, try black beans or garbanzo beans mixed with cauliflower rice. Make sure to season with your favorite seasonings and sprinkle a little low-fat cheese on top. You can find cauliflower rice in the frozen section at grocery stores, which makes it very easy to microwave and mix. This is a very filling snack, which is perfect for the snack times when you are so hungry you want a full meal.
If you are struggling between meals, and wanting to snack a lot, you probably aren’t getting enough protein.
Protein is an essential macro nutrient that we all need, especially when breastfeeding. If you aren’t getting enough protein, then you may experience sugar cravings, and a constant hunger. This is why we created Milk Dust.
Milk Dust is an amazing, nutrient-dense protein powder that helps breastfeeding mamas manage sugar cravings, as well as boosting milk supply. This takes the fear out of losing weight, while also ensuring nursing mamas are getting the proper nutrients.
The keto diet is gaining in popularity for weight loss because it is very effective for burning fat, and if done properly, burning stored fat. But, can breastfeeding mamas use the keto diet to lose the baby weight? There is still little research on breastfeeding and the keto diet specifically, but we can look at what research and experts say.
First, what is the keto diet?
You may have heard the keto diet is amazing for weight loss, and be thinking about it as an option to lose the baby weight, but not fully understand what it is. The keto diet is a very low carb, and high fat diet that forces your body to use fat as fuel, rather than carbohydrates. It is said that your body will then use dietary fat and stored fat for energy, which results in losing fat.
What do experts say about ketosis and breastfeeding?
Not many experts have made statements concerning the keto diet and breastfeeding. It is stated that while breastfeeding, you are sending glucose, or carbs, to your baby, thus burning more carbohydrates than a normal person. The standard keto diet isn’t the best solution because you need more carbohydrates for both mama and baby to function. Experts suggest that 30 grams of carbohydrates or glucose is sent to baby, and the keto suggests eating less than this for an average female.
Eating too few carbs can be dangerous for breastfeeding:
Experts suggest eating at least 50 grams of carbohydrates per day for breastfeeding mothers.
How to make low-carb eating safe for breastfeeding:
It is actually fairly simple to make low-carb eating safe for breastfeeding by adding in extra fruits, veggies, and complex carbs to compensate for the additional glucose being used as fuel for both mama and baby. At the end of this post, we have an awesome keto lactation smoothie that uses raspberries and avocado to help with the additional glucose needs, but still keep the carb-count low.
Our favorite low-carb carbohydrates for breastfeeding:
Eating carbohydrates does not mean eating processed foods like chips, bread and crackers. There are carbohydrates that are low-carb because they are high in nutrients and fiber, yet low in sugar. Here are our top picks:
Sprouted Grain Bread
These low-carb carbohydrates are really important to supplying breastfeeding mamas with both the nutrients and glucose they need to fuel themselves and babies, without getting too much glucose that will be stored as fat.
Is Milk Dust low carb?
The answer is yes! Milk Dust offers only 2 grams of sugar per serving, and it has 2 grams of fiber, leaving the total carbohydrate count at 5 grams per serving. Milk Dust is specifically formulated to be low in sugar, but offer an amazing sweet taste (just read our reviews!). This helps curb sugar cravings, balance blood sugar and offer the amino acids new mommies need. As you work through your keto diet, and make adjustments necessary for breastfeeding, try this amazing keto lactation shake!
Keto Lactation Shake For Breastfeeding Mamas
This Keto lactation shake is amazing for breastfeeding mamas needing a sweet, lactation boost, but wanting to stay low in carbs.
1/2cupwater or keto-friendly milk for blendinguse as needed for desired thickness
Blend all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy! Your water/milk for blending can be added a few splashes at a time for desired consistency, depending on if you like a thicker or thinner smoothie!
This recipe is specifically made for breastfeeding mamas on the keto diet. The keto diet can have wonderful weight loss and milk supply affects for some, and because Milk Dust is low in sugar, it works great for the keto diet as well!
Keyword breastfeeding protein shake, lactation recipe, lactatoin smoothie
Eating low carb while breastfeeding isn’t necessarily dangerous, but does require re-evaluating what low carb means.
If you’ve had success with the keto diet in the past, try adjusting your carb intake to higher than you were before, then tweak it as you monitor your health and milk supply.
Protein powder can help promote healing, nourishment and lactation after delivery. High-quality protein powders are full of nutrients, herbs, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that help new mommies increase:
increase milk supply
nourish their body for healing
get adequate amounts of protein
consume more healing antioxidants
eat a healthier diet
reduce sugar and carbohydrate cravings
Is protein powder safe to consume after delivery?
Protein powder is definitely safe to drink after delivery, and is a much better choice than many of the meals/foods the hospital cafeteria offers. Protein powder offers an easy way to absorb many nutrients, vitamins and minerals at once, which your body needs for replenishment after pregnancy.
Benefits of Protein Powder After Delivery:
Helps with tissue growth and healing
Helps with brain development in baby
Helps with muscle retention postpartum
Builds skin, hair, nails and other cells
Faster weight loss after pregnancy
Eating 65-75 grams of protein can help you stay full, heal faster postpartum and lose some of the extra weight from pregnancy. Our protein powder offers the essential amino acids required for the building blocks of postpartum healing, recovery and health. Without enough protein, your body has a difficult time repairing tissues, providing protein to baby through breast milk, and staying full from meals.
What happens when you don’t eat enough protein after delivery?
Not eating enough protein after delivery can cause some undernourishment in both baby and mama. Baby needs protein for brain development and nourishment through breast milk, and postpartum moms need protein to repair and heal after birth. Protein plays a vital role in healing skin and wounds both for c-section and vaginal births. Here are some side effects that are noticeable without enough protein after birth:
slower healing postpartum
lower milk supply
By eating enough protein after delivery, you are giving your body an essential macro nutrient to thrive postpartum.
What is the best protein shake to drink postpartum?
The wonderful thing about protein powder, is there are so many delicious recipes you can make for after delivery smoothies! We have a great recipe book, that goes over some awesome protein shakes you can make with our protein powder, Milk Dust, and here is our favorite after-delivery protein smoothie:
Postpartum Protein Shake For After-Delivery:
Postpartum Protein Shake For After-Delivery
This amazing protein shake should be enjoyed right after delivery for amazing nutrient benefits.
1tbspdairy-free yogurt or yogurt of choice (optional topping)
Blend all ingredients together at once
Keyword after-delivery protein shake, postpartum protein shake
How Much Protein Do You Need While Breastfeeding?
As we mentioned earlier, around 65-75 grams of protein is a great benchmark for breastfeeding mamas to set. Protein needs are very different depending on your weight, height, activity level, lean muscle mass and metabolism. Because of these factors, the general idea is to eat between 65-75 grams of protein while breastfeeding.
What does 65-75 grams a day look like? Here’s a sample meal plan to meat your protein requirements while breastfeeding!
Breakfast: Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie for Postpartum Recovery 23 grams:
1 scoop Milk Dust
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1.5 cups almond milk
1 frozen banana
Lunch: Spinach Salad With 2 Hard-boiled Eggs, Goat Cheese, 1/2 Apple 16 grams:
4 cups of spinach
2 hard-boiled eggs
3 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese
1/2 apple chopped
Drizzle favorite dressing
Snack: Clean Deli Turkey 2 servings With Two String Cheeses approx 15 grams
Dinner: Rotisserie Chicken 1 serving with Cauliflower Mash or Rice approx 20 grams
Cauliflower Mash: Boil cauliflower until soft. Slowly mash with small amounts of preferred milk and season with garlic salt. Quick and easy!
Grab a rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store because you are a mommy of a new baby, and that is the way to go!
Dessert: Try mixing some greek yogurt with 1/4 scoop of Milk Dust, or blend 1/2 avocado with 1/2 scoop of Milk Dust to make a yummy dessert protein pudding!
Protein powder offers so many amazing benefits after delivery, and our protein shakes are quick, easy and delicious to whip up for fast nutrition. Make sure to grab your first order with code: LACTATION to get 10% off!
Maternal nutrition requirements increase and change throughout pregnancy and lactation, and there are key nutritional requirements mothers need to have a healthy pregnancy and lactation experience. To encourage education around the topic of micro and macro nutrients during pregnancy and lactation, we’ve got a lot of nutritional advice for new mommies to go over in this post. To make is simpler for easier reading, we are also creating an Ebookfor all new mommies to keep and refer too.
Supporting maternal nutritional requirements both during pregnancy and lactation is our number one goal, so we thought we’d answer an important question:
What is nutrition for pregnancy and lactation?
Nutrition for pregnancy and lactation simply means the necessary micro and macro nutrients for mothers to support a growing baby and lactation. There are increased nutritional needs during both pregnancy and lactation, that if not addressed, can cause issues with baby’s development and low milk supply. Nutrition during pregnancy and lactation consists of:
Essential macro nutrients including carbohydrates, proteins and fats
Essential micro nutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and more
Essential hydration from water and electrolytes
A healthy diet that meets the nutritional needs including these macro and micro nutrients
What are the key nutritional requirements for pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are key nutritional requirements that are increased, which is why prenatal vitamins and healthy diet are so important. Here are the key nutritional requirements every pregnant mother needs to be aware of:
Folate 600–800 micrograms
Calcium: 1200 milligrams
Iron: 27 milligrams ‘
Protein 75-100 grams
Vitamins B6 1.9 mg/day
Vitamin B12 2.6 μg/day
300 calories in the 2nd and 3rd trimester
These are the key nutritional requirements during pregnancy, but not the only nutritional requirements pregnant mothers should be aware of.
A prenatal vitamin will help cover all your basis when it comes to getting adequate amounts of all the key nutrients, but diet is really important for consuming fresh, real nutrients.
What to eat during pregnancy to meet the nutritional needs:
Edamame, Lentils + Asparagus for Folate:
Folate is essential for baby’s development, especially in the first trimester. Folate is not to be confused with folic acid, which is the synthetic form. Milk Dust is an awesome supplement for pregnant mamas because it offers L-methylfolate, rather than synthetic folic acid. This is the live version that is easier to absorb, and better for many women with the 5-MTHF gene mutation. Adding some lentil soup, cooked edamame and roasted aparagus to your pregnancy diet can help ensure you are consuming real food sources of folate to supplement your prenatal vitamin.
Chia Seeds, Yogurt + Salmon for Calcium:
Calcium plays an important role for baby’s development, especially during the last trimester as it is transferred directly to growing baby. Rather than focusing on a supplement to do all the work, try adding chia seed puddings to your daily routine, salmon once a week for dinner and left overs and yogurt parfaits for breakfast or dessert. Milk Dust also has chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds as a part of our protein blend, to help fill your diet with the super-food benefits of these seeds.
Spinach, Shellfish + Legumes for Iron:
Iron levels are significantly increased during pregnancy, and many new mothers can be diagnosed with anemia because of low iron intake. Adding spinach to your Milk Dust smoothies is an easy and quick way to consume more spinach every day, as well as adding more beans like lentils, chickpeas and peas to your salads can help if you aren’t a big meat eater. Of course red meat is a great source as well, and adding some steak and beans to your salad is an awesome way to eat a very nutritious meal.
More Beans and Chicken for Vitamin B6 and B12:
Beans are nutritional powerhouses, and easy to add to many dishes. Beans with cauliflower rice and roasted chicken is a great meal option for a healthy, satisfying dinner full of B vitamins both you and baby need. Scrambled eggs with beans, peppers and salsa is also a great way to start your day if you want to consume more B vitamins, and Milk Dust of course has added vitamin B12.
Egg Yolks for Vitamin D:
Scramble up all the eggs, not just the whites to get the additional benefits of vitamin D. Of course the sunshine is another awesome way, and sometimes the best way to get your vitamin D intake, but isn’t always realistic. If you struggle with having the time to scramble up and cook eggs in the morning, try baking omelet/egg cups and storing them to quickly grab for snacks and breakfast. Hard-boiled eggs are also great on top of salads or for quick and easy snacks.
There you have some healthy foods to eat while pregnant, which will encourage meeting the important nutritional needs and support supplementation with a prenatal vitamin. But what happens after baby comes? How do nutritional needs change?
Nutritional needs during lactation, different from pregnancy:
Once baby arrives, and breastfeeding begins, postpartum nutritional needs change and adapt from pregnancy. Many of the key nutritional requirements during pregnancy are still important for postpartum. There are also additional nutritional needs breastfeeding mothers need to meet.
Key nutritional requirements for lactation and postpartum:
Increased caloric demands around 500 calories
Vitamin C 115 mg/day
Chromium 44 μg/day (AI)
Magnesium 360 mg/day
Zinc 13 mg/day
Increased caloric intake around 500 calories for lactation:
One of the main nutritional requirements during lactation is the increased need for calories. Many of these extra calories can come from stored nutrition, or body fat. This is the purpose of stored fat and nutrients during pregnancy, so many mothers don’t need to compensate for the caloric demands to produce a healthy milk supply. But, if a healthy diet while breastfeeding doesn’t offer essential nutrients, the body can not function properly during this process. If nutritional needs are not met, then the body may want to slow down milk production and hold on to stored fat. This is why we created Milk Dust as a product to support the nutritional needs by offering very nutrient-dense calories, with important nutrients to support healthy lactation. Increasing caloric intake isn’t always necessary, but caloric needs are increased during lactation.
Increased Vitamin C requirements:
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it passes through breast milk to baby. Baby’s intake of vitamin C is dependent upon the mother’s intake, so ensuring a healthy diet full of colorful fruits and veggies can dramatically increase the amount of vitamin C available for baby.
Chromium Needs Increased:
Chromium is essential for blood glucose control both during pregnancy and postpartum. Breastfeeding mothers need this essential mineral for proper functioning as new mommies transition from pregnancy to lactation.
After delivery, glucose tolerance generally reverts to normal, but women are at a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes (124). In fact, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women diagnosed with gestational diabetes is more than 7-fold higher than women not diagnosed with gestational diabetes
Adding broccoli and turkey to your diet postpartum can help increase your chromium intake, as well as making smoothies with Milk Dust because of the added chromium in our formula.
Increased Magnesium Needs:
Magnesium is an important mineral found in meats, grains, vegetables and beans. Often times new mothers aren’t getting enough magnesium. Magnesium is particlularly important during lactation because it plays a significant role in hydration, muscle relaxation, energy production and crucially, the deactivation of adrenaline.
Adrenaline is a stress hormone, which can interfere with the production and let down of milk. Because of that, keeping stress levels low is really important for breastfeeding.
During lactation, mothers can actually absorb more zinc to help fill the increased needs for mother and baby. Zinc also plays a role in helping mothers heal after birth.
The requirements for zinc during lactation are greater than those during pregnancy, especially during the early weeks postpartum. Therefore, lactation poses a significant threat to maternal zinc homeostasis, particularly in populations with chronically low dietary zinc intakes
Pumpkin seeds are great sources of zinc, in addition to meat, beans, seeds and nuts. Adding these to your daily diet is really important to increasing your zinc intake during lactation, as well as using our lactation protein powder made with pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds to help with zinc needs!
Remember, your nutrition during pregnancy and lactation should not be left overs. You deserve high-quality, nutrient dense foods to support the miracle of pregnancy and lactation.
Top Foods To Meet Nutritional Needs For Pregnancy And Lactation:
As you can see from the post, there are some repeated food suggestions to help you get enough nutrients, both macro and micro in your diet to meet the nutritional demands. Here is the list of those top foods we mentioned:
Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, black beans, edamame
Chicken + Turkey
How Milk Dust supports nutritional needs during lactation:
Milk Dust is an awesome solution for new mommies to nourish their bodies postpartum. It is full of protein, micro nutrients, minerals and tastes great! It blends really well with fruits and veggies, and we have a free lactation recipe book that helps guide you on what to blend it with.Milk Dust is easy, simple and no clean up, making it a perfect solution for new mommies to get the nutrition they need during lactation.
New mother’s need to understand their key nutritional needs during pregnancy and lactation for optimal health and functioning.
Losing belly-fat while breastfeeding doesn’t have to be impossible with the right fitness and diet steps. Belly fat is the area most new mommies want to lose weight, but sometimes it can feel like it will never go away. Here are some easy, yet very effective tips to lose the belly fat while breastfeeding:
Effective Steps for Losing Belly Fat While Breastfeeding:
Be Patient: This is a step because if you aren’t patient with yourself as you make healthy lifestyle changes, you will want to give up.
Focus on nutrient-dense foods
Add in more walking
Don’t jump into lots of crunches or ab work!
Focus on small snacks and meals
Try intermittent fasting
Use milk supply boosters
Thinking about all these steps can be totally overwhelming, but let us take you through each one, so you can make your plan to lose the weight, as well as keep your milk supply. We will go over some tips and tricks to keep your milk supply while losing weight, then take you through each step to lose the belly weight. We also have an awesome 10-day sugar detox + weight loss plan, FREE you can use to get started!
How to keep your milk supply while losing weight:
Keeping your milk supply while losing weight is a challenging, but possible! You can start by using galactagogues and supply-boosters to encourage a healthy lactation. We have a lot of information on the specific supplements that work, and of course our protein powder has a unique blend that will help breast milk production. Here are some quick tips that help encourage your body to produce lots of milk as you transition your diet for weight loss:
Increasing feedings is going to increase production. By upping the demand, you can increase your supply before you really start making an impact with diet. This will boost your supply to help mitigate and decreases that might happen when your diet, calories and nutrients change.
Add more pumping sessions:
Pumping more is basically the same as feeding more, but adding more feedings doesn’t always work with working and schedules. Sometimes baby’s don’t always want to eat more, so you can use the pump instead.
Wear baby more often:
Wearing baby can add more skin-to-skin contact. This is going to increase the pheromones that help product the oxytocin for lactation. By wearing baby more, or even co-sleeping, you can help increase these chemicals.
Use milk-supply boosters:
Using supply boosters like our protein powder, as well as some teas or supplements can help keep hormone levels stable and milk production going strong. Fenugreek is one supplement in particular that we use in our formula, and many moms have had success with to increase milk supply.
Now that you know how to keep your milk supply flowing strong as you start working on losing weight, let’s get into how to lose the belly fat while you’re still breastfeeding:
Be Patient + Make Small Changes In Your Breastfeeding Diet:
Changing your diet and habits is actually very difficult. People are habitual creatures by nature, so once we develop habits that make us feel good, like tasty food, it is really difficult to change these habits. Especially when the food switches are not as yummy. But, by switching to healthy food that tastes great (like our powder!), and is nourishing, you can get yourself to make changes! Start with small changes. Substitute breakfast for one of our lactation smoothies made with milk dust! Just substituting one meal is a small step with a big impact.
Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods For Breastfeeding:
What are nutrient-dense foods? These are foods that have a lot of nutrients per calorie. Think of fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories, yet high in nutrients. Some amazing nutrient dense foods, which we also have in our powder include:
Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
Spinach + Kale
Start Walking More Often for 45 Minutes At A Time:
Walking is an amazing, free and easy way to help your body burn fat. If you raise your heart rate a bit, but not as much as running, you keep your body in a fat-burning zone. Luckily, walking with a newborn isn’t too difficult, especially if you wear them and go for a walk. Most babies love to be worn and carried, so this makes both mama and baby happy. Some babies do really well in a stroller, depending on their age. By adding 45 minutes of walking to your daily routine, you will add in some fat burning activity to help burn off that belly fat.
Don’t Start Doing A Bunch Of Crunches!
Ab exercises are not going to burn the belly fat. Eating healthy, walking and ultimately burning more calories than you are consuming is going to help get rid of the belly fat, and extra weight all over. You can do some ab-healing exercises to help your muscles repair after baby. By focusing on closing the gap between your ab muscles, this will help your abs return to normal after pregnancy.
Try Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding:
Intermittent fasting can be awesome for burning fat because it helps your body use fat as fuel. By fasting for 14-16 hours, your body has to use stored fat once the glucose is used. By combining this with a nutrient-dense diet, you can lose weight, but still nourish your body for breastfeeding. Intermittent fasting can also help with appetite control and cravings, which are so common while breastfeeding.
Use Milk Supply Boosters:
Milk supply boosters, like our powder, take a lot of stress out of the weight loss process while breastfeeding. By offering your body a helper, you can get back to working out, eating healthy, and losing the belly fat without compromising your milk supply. Most women have a lot of success with out powder because it also offers important B vitamins for energy, lactation herbs, necessary protein and superfoods like Chlorella and Spirulina. Purely supply boosters usually comprise of herbs like fenugreek or milk thistle, which we have as well, but Milk Dust offers a full, nutritional philosophy. We believe in supporting mothers with nutrients and herbs, to allow a mother’s body to thrive and function the best it can.
To lose the belly fat while breastfeeding, make sure to start by following our simple steps.
Cravings are a often a difficult part of breastfeeding because of new hormones, postnatal depletion, lack of sleep and stress. Breastfeeding cravings for sugar, ice cream, carbs, candy, chocolate, brownies and anything else are extremely common, but also can be dealt with in a healthy way that won’t affect your milk supply.
Why does breastfeeding cause cravings?
There are a number of factors that can cause cravings while breastfeeding. Let’s look at a few of the most common ones, and how a safe and effective detox can help nursing mamas conquer these cravings.
Postnatal depletion is where new mothers are depleted of nutrients when baby arrives. This is because baby needs more nourishment in the last few weeks of pregnancy, taking more from mama. After birth, new mommies aren’t educated on the proper nutrition for healing and breastfeeding, but rather to eat enough calories. Calories are important, but even more important are the nutrients mothers need. Nutrient deficiencies often show themselves in cravings for foods that our brain confuses for sugar or brownies, rather than vitamin B 12.
Exhaustion is more difficult to combat because a new baby means no sleep. Lack of sleep increases cravings for carbs and fatty foods. It’s been proven that lack of sleep also increases appetite. Milk Dust helps to combat this by providing energy-boosting nutrients like vitamin B12 and superfoods like Chlorella and Spirulina.
After birth, there is a decrease in estrogen, increase in prolactin and other hormonal changes that can affect mood and cravings. Eating a healthy diet, full of nutrient dense foods with a supplement like Milk Dust can help combat some of these hormonal swings and changes. Red raspberry leaf in particular is shown to help balance hormones in women, and it can reduce some of the symptoms to hormonal changes.
These are the three main factors that come into play when facing food cravings while breastfeeding. New mommies are particularly prone to giving into these cravings because life is stressful with a new baby.
How to combat cravings while breastfeeding:
Once understanding where the sugar and food cravings are coming from, there are ways to help navigate through them in a healthy way that nourishes both mama and baby. One of the best ways to combat breastfeeding cravings is to resist them with a healthy diet.
Eating a healthy breastfeeding diet:
Your breastfeeding diet is very important to managing cravings while breastfeeding. By resisting cravings for a short time, like the 10-days we have in our program, and using a supplement to help you replenish nutrient stores, conquering cravings is possible. Just like many other things, there is an amount of will power necessary to make changes and resist the yummy foods. Some important foods for a breastfeeding diet include:
All fruits and veggies (lots)
Lean protein like ground turkey, tuna, clean deli meat, chicken and eggs
Healthy carbs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and quinoa
Some nuts and beans
Lactation herbs + supplements like Milk Dust
By focusing on these foods, you can support your body through lactation, lose weight and overcome the cravings.
Use a breastfeeding protein powder supplement:
Using a supplement like Milk Dust supports protein needs while breastfeeding, offers a quick and nutritious meal, and also provides additional nutritional support. Having a helper like this makes the process of overcoming sugar cravings easier, and can often help eliminate them all together. Milk Dust protein shakes are also yummy, so many mamas look forward to drinking their smoothie each morning, or making a dessert smoothie after dinner.
Drink lots of water:
Remember, breast milk is a liquid, which means that drinking more water can help with lactation. Headaches are usually a result of thirst, or dehydration, which also causes mixed signals often confused with hunger. We suggest drinking one glass of water before and after every meal to encourage satiation, hydration and to support milk production.
Our 10-day sugar detox and diet plan is simple to follow, with general guidelines on what to eat and what not to eat. We guide you on foods that are going to help nourish your body, and your growing baby. We offer some amazing recipe ideas for smoothies, salads and dinners, which will give you some direction on what to cook to stay full. The 10-day program is a volume-based plan, where we encourage that you eat as many fruits and veggies as possible. Fruits and veggies provide the most nutritional bang for your calorie buck. By giving your body plenty of nutrients, your milk supply can flourish as you use stored fat for energy. The process is simple, but does require changing habits, being a bit uncomfortable for the first couple days, but the results are amazing!
Supplements can increase milk supply, support nutritional health, improve mood and balance hormones in a breastfeeding mama. Many mamas are concerned about the safety of supplements while breastfeeding, and unsure of whether they should take them or not.
Supplements during breastfeeding can be used for a wide variety of reasons:
They can increase milk supply
Replenish nutrients and vitamins
Improve mood and cognitive function
Help provide baby with essential nutrients
Improve healing after birth
Increase energy levels without caffeine
What makes a supplement breastfeeding-friendly?
Not all supplements are safe for breastfeeding. Supplements with chemicals, artificial sweeteners, GMOS, fillers and synthetic vitamins should be avoided. This is because these harmful ingredients can pass through the breast milk to baby, and aren’t good for mama either.
Safe supplements for breastfeeding include natural herbs, non-synthetic and active vitamins like the L-Methylfolate (folate) and Methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) used in Milk Dust. Using organic fruits and veggies, natural herbs and natural sweeteners are essential for a breastfeeding supplement. If you aren’t sure if a supplement is safe, make sure to just ask your doctor quick. Bring the nutrition facts/ label to your doctor at your next visit, or put in a call to the nurse to have them ask the doctor that day. This is the safest way to ensure a supplement is right for you and your baby, based on your medical history.
Reasons you may want to take supplements while breastfeeding:
Low Milk Supply:
If you are suffering a low milk supply (and are positive it is truly a low supply), supplements can be life savers. Herbs like fenugreek and specific milk-boosting blends are an example of good supplements for breastfeeding mamas. These herbs are natural, free of chemicals, and have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Herbs can improve lactation overall, and offer great support for mamas struggling to product enough milk.
Supplements can help support vitamin deficiencies that can cause low moods and a lack of energy. Many mamas are low in nutrients after birth because of baby’s need during the last month of pregnancy, loss of blood during birth, fatigue and exhaustion, stress and more. Grabbing a supplement to replenish your body promotes overall better function. Specifically, Folate deficiencies have been connected with depression, as well as Vitamin B12 and zinc (which we have in Milk Dust yay!). A nourished body is a happy body, and a happy body helps promote a happy mind! Specifically Iron, Vitamin B12, protein, healthy carbohydrates and Adrenal support are wonderful for improving moods postpartum.
Nutritional supplements can help balance blood sugar and diminish some of those cravings by giving the body the nutrients it needs. If your blood sugar is spiking and dropping, there will be moments in the day where you feel completely exhausted, have headaches, and just want to go to sleep. By giving your body super foods, like the Chlorella and Spirulina we have in Milk Dust, you are giving your body a nutrient boost, rather than a caffeine boost to help combat the fatigue.
When our nutrition is out of wack, our hormones get out of wack. Hormonal function is essential to breastfeeding success because of the role they play in triggering lactation. Your body needs your estrogen levels to drop for lactation to occur. If there are nutrient deficiencies, your hormones may not work properly. Additional herbs like Red Raspberry Leaf have been shown to help support hormonal function in women.
Better Healing After Birth:
Nutrients enable your cells to function, and your body to repair itself from the trauma of birthing a baby. Whether you have a C-section or vaginal delivery, your body is going to need to do some repair work. Vitamin C, protein, Iron, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids…these are all very helpful for healing and repair post pregnancy.
Supplements during breastfeeding can do a lot of good, but they should never replace a healthy, whole foods diet:
Breastfeeding supplements should not replace a whole, natural foods diet. Nothing should be used instead of actually eating fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body needs to chew, digest and absorb most of the nutrients from real food. This is why we suggest combining Milk Dust with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. You get the best of both worlds in one delicious smoothie.
Milk Dust is an amazing, nutritious supplement that can replace one meal if blended with whole foods.
As a busy, new mommy, eating all the fruits and veggies is hard. Fighting sugar cravings is hard. Prepping healthy meals with toddlers is almost impossible. During these short years of craziness, Milk Dust is here to help you nourish your body and support your lifestyle. We add the extra boost to encourage you, support your breastfeeding journey, and help you thrive with your new baby.
Milk Dust is a safe breastfeeding supplement that acts as a best friend and support system for nourishing both you and baby!
Lactation smoothies are amazing for both increasing milk supply, and losing weight if they are mixed with the right ingredients. There are many benefits to drinking a smoothie for milk supply and nourishment, mainly the fact that they are easy to blend up, and taste amazing! You might be wondering if lactation smoothies really work. Well, yes, they do, if they have the right components.
Weight loss supplements can be safe and helpful while breastfeeding. Sometimes breastfeeding causes a road block for weight loss. Herbal, safe supplements can help new mommies let go of the extra weight gained during pregnancy.
Milk Dust is a helper for weight loss because it naturally curbs sugar cravings using vitamins and minerals rather than stimulants. This is the key to safe weight loss supplements. They need to be comprised of specific nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are helpful to both mama and baby.
What makes a weight loss supplement safe for breastfeeding?
There are some very specific requirements for a weight loss supplement to be safe for breastfeeding.
Comprised of nutrients
Free of stimulants
No synthetic replications of vitamins
A safe weight loss supplement looks at the root of the cause, rather than covering up appetite or hunger. Stimulants like caffeine can cover up hunger, but it doesn’t look at the root cause behind the lack of energy, slow weight loss or nutrient needs. Milk Dust specifically looks at common nutrient needs to help satisfy hunger and balance blood sugar. Cravings often come from your body’s need for a nutrient, cognitive support or even extra carbs to support a tired brain. Many mamas crave sugar while breastfeeding, but what their brain needs are more healthy carbs to function on little sleep.
Nutrient Deficiencies That Slow or Halt Weight Loss While Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding mamas specifically need more nutrients than non-lactating women, and many nutrients needs don’t change that much after pregnancy. Some of these nutrients include:
Chromium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium
Fiber (not a nutrient, but essential carbohydrate)
Folate and vitamin B12 can really create some lethargy and lack of motivation to eat healthy. Both of these B vitamins relate to cognitive function, energy, and they are necessary for baby. If these are lacking, your body can’t function they way it should. The same with protein and fiber. Without protein, there can be a lot of ups and down with blood sugar, which causes excessive hunger. Fiber creates a feeling of fullness that makes you want to stop eating. If there isn’t enough fiber, there is a constant hunger or feeling of never getting enough food. This leads to that ravenous, always hunger feeling many breastfeeding mamas experience.
Not all weight loss supplements have this sort of blend in vitamins and nutrients, but Milk Dust has all of this and more. With protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to galactagogue herbs like Fenugreek, fennel seed, milk thistle and brewer’s yeast, a mother can support her lactation and weight loss at the same time.
How To Know If You Need A Weight Loss Supplement While Nursing:
Not all mamas need a weight loss supplement while nursing. Some just need to count calories and determine their energy needs. Weight loss is all about energy in verses energy out. Of course, not all calories are created equal. This means that 100 calories of cookies verses 100 calories of broccoli are going to be used, processed and metabolized very, very differently. One can leave you feeling super full (broccoli from fiber), and the other starving in 30 minutes.
If you are struggling to eat healthy and manage your breastfeeding hunger, weight loss supplements might be just the answer to give you a jump start.
Here are some signs a weight loss supplement can help your weigh loss after pregnancy:
Intense sugar cravings
Hunger soon after large meals
Exhaustion after eating
Lack of physical energy
Weight gain while breastfeeding
If you are experiencing any of these issues, safe weight loss supplements are awesome tools to move your body into healthier eating habits. Milk Dust is a breastfeeding weight loss supplement that fully supports nourishment and lactation in new mommies.
Milk Dust Works As A Weight Loss Supplement While Breastfeeding:
Milk Dust helps with weight loss by providing satiation through protein and fiber. We recommend blending Milk Dust with whole fruits and veggies either frozen or fresh. By adding the additional nutrients to our powder, the powerful combination creates a small meal or snack that covers your bases. Here’s the run down of how Milk Dust acts as a weight loss and lactation supplement for breastfeeding mamas:
Sweet taste to relieve those sugar cravings
Essential vitamins and minerals
Energy boosting super foods like Chlorella and Spirulina
Galactagogue herbs for lactation support
Super fruits and veggies like spinach and blue berries
Turmeric and Cinnamon bark for additional blood sugar control, antioxidant support and adrenal support
Vegan, non-dairy, no soy, no corn, no gluten for easier digestion
Chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds for Omega-3s and Zinc
Nutritional support is one of the safest ways to encourage healthy weight loss. Avoiding stimulants and using nutrients while breastfeeding helps for safe weight loss.
Finding a safe weight loss supplement while breastfeeding is helpful for mamas looking to lose weight naturally.
Galactagogue foods can be like magic when it comes to increasing milk supply naturally. Breastfeeding mamas can dramatically change their health and milk supply by choosing the right foods for a breastfeeding diet that promotes healthy lactation and breast milk production.
Not all galactagogue foods are created equal. Some are more potent than others, which is why we created a list of the top foods to increase milk supply.
What constitutes a galactagogue food?
You might be wondering what makes a food a galactagogue. Basically, if a food has nutrient properties to promote lactation and balance hormonal function for breast feeding – this food is considered a galactagogue. Many healthy fruits and veggies could be considered helpful for milk supply because of their nutrient power, but they aren’t the most potent in terms of increasing milk supply. Let’s get into the foods that will have the best impact on your milk supply, so your breastfeeding diet will increase your supply naturally.
The top galactagogue foods that help increase milk supply:
Salmon (vitamin B12):
Vitamin B12 is essential for brain development in babies, as well as vitamin B9 (folate). Salmon is rich in B vitamins, and one superfood you can’t get enough of while breastfeeding. Vitamin B12 has been shown to help ward off postpartum depression. Lactating mothers need more vitamin B 12 to support growing baby, and if there isn’t enough available for mother and baby, this could affect milk supply. Here is a peer-reviewed study to prove this:
Three mothers in India with vitamin B12 deficiency due to very low dietary intake were given a single 50 mcg intramuscular injection of vitamin B12. Their milk levels increased from 40 to 70 pmol/L (54 to 95 ng/L) prior to the dose to around 1,000 pmol/L (1,350 ng/L) later that same day or the next day.
Of course, salmon isn’t always easy to have on the menu, so Milk Dust offers both Vitamin B 12 and Vitamin B 9 (live versions, L-Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin) to help mothers ensure they are getting adequate amounts both for baby and for milk supply needs.
Zinc is really important during lactation because it is the only source of Zinc for breastfed babies. Babies need zinc to support their immune system and protect them from disease. Zinc levels have now been associated with poor lactation. One study even suggests that women with abnormally low supplies in Zinc can have trouble breastfeeding. This study was done at Penn State, and the researchers determined that low levels of Zinc are correlated with poor lactation in mothers.
They suggest that by identifying women with abnormally low levels of zinc in breast milk, they may be able to more quickly recognize mothers who might have trouble breast-feeding.
Functioning and health of the breasts are really important to proper lactation, and a mother’s body does not have enough of the proper nutrients, it can’t function as it should. Health for both mama and baby are so important, which is why we included pumpkin seeds in our formula as well. Pumpkin seeds are easy to add on top of smoothies, into oatmeal and salads as well, making them a super rich, nutrient-dense food that can be eaten daily.
Sweet Potatoes (potassium) + Sea Salt (sodium):
Electrolyte balance, specifically referring to potassium and sodium is essential for proper lactation. Sweet potatoes are high in potassium, as well as bananas, broccoli, spinach and other fruits. Filling your plate with fruits and vegetables at every snack or meal can play a tremendous role in ensuring your body has enough potassium. There was a study done that specifically looked at the correlation of potassium and ability to breastfeed. There were multiple factors to be considered in this specific study, but they did determine that lower levels of potassium correlated to a shortened/stopping breastfeeding early.
We report that, among exclusively breastfeeding mothers at day 7 postpartum, those with milk supply concerns were significantly more likely to exhibit biochemical evidence of less progress toward mature lactation (elevated ratio of breast milk sodium to potassium concentration). Furthermore, an elevated ratio of breast milk sodium to potassium concentration was predictive of early weaning.
Lactation involves electrolytes and balanced water levels in the body for muscles to function properly. Both potassium and sodium are really important to the functioning of our bodies in general, so it is no wonder these minerals are correlated with breastfeeding success. Milk Dust offers super fruits and veggies in our formula to help add to these needs. You can also blend smoothies with cooked sweet potato for a creamy consistency that packs a lot of nutrient power for milk supply.
Strawberries (vitamin C):
Strawberries are a fun food to eat because they taste great alone, or blended in smoothies! They are full of vitamin C, which is important for the absorption of iron, as well as healing, cell function, cell repair and more. Studies are starting to show the link to vitamin C and milk supply. One study in particular looked at vitamin C supplementation during lactation, and found that those who took higher doses of vitamin C secreted more urine. They suggest that the secretion of liquid from vitamin C could help with the secretion of breast milk. Another study confirms that the more fruits and veggie consumed, the better the vitamin C levels in the breast milk. This is why we suggest blending our Milk Dust with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. It is a quick and easy way to get in the essential nutrients! There are very limited studies on vitamin C in particular, but because of the studies done to illustrate the importance of vitamin C for baby, and the fact that vitamin C levels increase in breast milk according to fruit and vegetable intake, we believe it can correlate to milk supply as well.
These are your top galactagogue foods that will help you increase your milk supply.
Your breastfeeding diet is one of the biggest factors in how your body functions, feels and feeds your baby. What you put in is literally what you get out in terms of milk supply and nutrient quality. Putting in nutrients directly puts nutrients to baby.
Milk Dust is created to partner with these nutrient rich foods. It is a supplement you can add to your diet to help you with nourishing yourself, as well as increasing your milk supply using nutrients and herbs. Proper nourishment is also the foundation to weight loss after baby, which is important as well. Extra weight throws off your hormones, and can affect milk supply as well.
Fenugreek has been used for centuries to increase milk supply in lactating mothers. As more and more mothers are taking fenutreek to help with milk supply, there are of course more and more opinions being spread stating that fenugreek is either amazing, or detrimental to milk supply. Because there are more anecdotal experiences being proclaimed, many mamas are left unsure of whether fenugreek can be helpful or harmful for milk supply.
We are going to dive into the science and studies behind fenugreek for breastfeeding mamas.
We hope this will help you make a decision on whether it will be beneficial for you to increase milk supply. The key is to know the research out there, know your body, and know your baby. Research is limited to specific individuals, so applying the research to your body can me different results. That is a fact of being human, but overall, research and education is the foundation of making an informed decision for both you and baby.
What is the truth on Fenugreek for milk supply?
Research on Fenugreek and other galactagogue herbs like Milk Thistle, Brewer’s Yeast and Fennel is limited. As time goes on, more studies will be published to help us understand how these galactagogues work, and why they’ve been used for so many years to help with lactation. Research shows us that fenugreek, and other galactagogues can help some women increase lactation.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a plant with white flowers containing seeds, which are the seeds we use in teas, powders and other herbal remedies. Fenugreek has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to treat various ailments. Fenugreek is often used as a spice or thickening agent in dishes and recipes. It has a warm, nutty flavor that is often in Indian dishes. The fenugreek seeds themselves have fiber, protein, iron, magnesium and maganese, which are all great for breastfeeding mothers.
Fenugreek can increase milk supply in certain individuals:
A recent publication, updated just a few months ago in January of 2019, looked at various studies done to attempt to conclude whether fenugreek increases milk supply. According to this publication, many of the mothers who took ONLY Fenugreek, did not see quantifiable increases in milk volume, though these studies have many issues that make them non-conclusive. What is interesting though, in one study where moms were given a unique tea called Still-Tea, experienced a quantifiable increase in milk supply compared to mothers taking an apple tea. Here is what the study stated,
Sixty-six postpartum mothers (22 in each of 3 groups) with no concurrent illnesses were randomly assigned to receive an herbal tea, placebo, or nothing after delivering healthy, fullterm infants. Mothers in the herbal tea group received at least 3 cups daily of 200 mL of Still Tea (Humana-Istanbul, Turkey; containing hibiscus 2.6 grams, fennel extract 200 mg, fennel oil 20 mg, rooibos 200 mg, verbena [vervain] 200 mg, raspberry leaves 200 mg, fenugreek 100 mg, goat’s rue 100 mg, and, vitamin C 500 mg per 100 grams, per manufacturer’s web site November 2011). A similar-looking apple tea was used as the placebo. All women were followed by the same nurse and pediatrician who were blinded to what treatment the mothers received. Mothers who received the Still Tea produced more breastmilk with an electric breast pump on the third day postpartum than mothers in the other groups. The infants in the Still Tea group had a lower maximum weight loss, and they regained their birth weights sooner than those in the placebo or no treatment arms. No long-term outcome data were collected.
These findings tell us that Fenugreek, in combination with other galactagogues like Fennel, Raspberry Leaf and Goat’s Rue can work really well. What we’ve concluded with our reviews of research is that small amounts of Fenugreek, combined with other galactagogues is the best way to go because it eliminates the likelihood of side effects from Fenugreek, but also utilizes its strengths.
Still, another finding in this publication talks about women who only took Fenugreek, and experienced higher milk volume. These women were from Thailand.
Fifty women in Thailand who were 1 month postpartum and exclusively breastfeeding were randomized to receive either a placebo or capsules containing fenugreek seed 200 mg, turmeric 100 mg and ginger 120 mg (Fenucaps; Herbal Acharn’s Home Co. Ltd., Thailand) 3 times daily for 4 weeks. Participants pumped milk on 2 days at 0, 2 and 4 weeks of the study. The average milk volumes increased by 49% at 2 weeks and 103% at 4 weeks among participants receiving the active product. The macronutrient composition of the milk did not change in either group over the 4-week period. Growth of infants was not reported.
Fenugreek itself can help with milk supply depending on your specific metabolism and genetic make up. Even UT Southwester Medical Center suggests supplements with fenugreek to help you increase your milk supply once it drops. Here’s what Healthline states as the bottom line in reviewing various studies:
BOTTOM LINE:The available studies support using fenugreek to increase breast milk production and the rate of weight gain in newborn babies.
Some women in studies report significant changes in milk supply, while others seem to notice more side effects. This is just like any other herb, supplement or drug. There are always side effects and the option your body may not respond the same as someone else’s.
What is interesting about these studies, is none of them reported side effects for baby.
Some mother’s report that they are gassy, or baby seems more gassy after Fenugreek, but none of the studies in this peer reviewed publication have any findings to prove this to be true.
A study in mothers of preterm infants less than 31 weeks gestation compared the use of fenugreek (product and dosage not stated) 3 capsules 3 times daily for 21 days to placebo. No adverse effects were noted in the infants given the breastmilk.
This should give mothers peace of mind in trying fenugreek as a solution to increase milk supply. In general, no side effects have been found in babies from mother’s taking fenugreek. Of course there can be special cases as with any dietary supplement.
Side effects of fenugreek in nursing mothers:
Various side effects have been reported in nursing mothers while taking fenugreek, but they are all anecdotal. These side effects include:
Maple syrup smell
These reported side effects have not been studied and reported as scientifically proven. We don’t know what else was going on in diets, lifestyle and hormonal changes that could have also contributed to these experiences. Because fenugreek is a seed, those who have sensitivities to any type of nut or legumes may be more prone to side effects from fenugreek.
Can fenugreek harm your milk supply?
This is a more difficult question to answer because there isn’t much to go off of. There are more studies and peer-reviewed, professional publications on how milk supply either wasn’t affected, or increased. Many mothers report their milk supply increases, but they experience side effects, or their baby’s seem fussy and gassy, so they stop. If a mother takes a supplement with fenugreek, and still experiences a low milk supply, or a drop in supply, it likely isn’t the fenugreek, but a slow dip in supply for other reasons.
Most of the research for lactation-boosting herbs includes fenugreek blended with other herbs. Because we rely on doctors and scientists to tell us what works, this is part of our decision to have a small amount of fenugreek in our formula.
Most of the side effects experienced with fenugreek are due to high doses of pure fenugreek. By blending smaller amounts of various galactagogue herbs, we can reduce the probability of side effects, yet still benefit for the amazing properties in these herbs. Fenugreek has many other benefits besides increasing milk supply.
Because of these other benefits, and the continued use and recommendation of fenugreek for milk supply, we believe it is an important part of our lactation-herb blend to help new mothers maintain a healthy milk supply, while also safely losing weight with natural herbs, minerals and nourishment.
There you have the science behind fenugreek, and its affects on milk supply for breastfeeding mothers!