Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Natural Ways to Increase your Milk Supply

Note: Please refer to and consult with a lactation specialist and/or pediatrician before assuming that your milk supply is low attempting these remedies. Also, be sure that you are getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and drinking a large glass of water with each feeding/pumping session.

Nutritional and Brewer's Yeast

Nutritional or brewer’s yeast frequently leads to a significant boosts in a mothers’ milk supply. Mothers sometimes say that they feel much more energetic and emotionally balanced while taking yeast. This may signal a l
ack of essential nutrients in their diet, in particular, chromium, vitamin B complex, and especially vitamin B12, found in some brands of fortified nutritional yeast. Brewer’s and nutritional yeast also contain protein and good levels of phytoestrogen.

Allergy: Persons who are allergic to yeast should avoid these products.

Side-effects: Occasionally, mothers or babies become gassy, more so with brewer’s yeast than nutritional yeast. To be on the safe side, start with a small dosage and slowly increase.

Sources: Vegetarian stores and health food stores. 

Oats (Avena Sativa)

The humble oat is one of our most nutritious foods, and contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements that nourish the nerves, support the metabolism of fats, and uplift the spirit. In traditional medicine, both the see
d and the leaf—called oat-straw—are taken. Oats are prescribed as a nervine tonic in the treatment of nervous exhaustion. In Europe, women traditionally take oats after birth. Oats are taken today in the US to increase milk production, both as food and as a supplement. Like other galactagogues, oats are antidepressant, antispasmodic, and they increase perspiration.

Allergy: Occasional. Persons sensitive to gluten in wheat are frequently able to tolerate oats.

Dosage and Preparation:

Taking large dosages of oats is helpful in kick-starting milk production.

Oatmeal can be taken for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Oat-straw is especially rich in minerals. It is available as capsules or as an ingredient in so-called “green-drinks.” Take as indicated on the package.

Fluid extract: 3 – 5 ml (15 – 35 drops), three times a day.


Spices in your kitchen can be used to support milk production. Try adding marjoram and basil to your meals, and anise, dill or caraway. Black pepper, taken in moderation, is helpful.



Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked, for instance, steamed, or sautéed in butter and then simmered in a bit of water. Fennel seed is well-known as an herb to increase milk production. The vegetable, containing the same pharmacologically active volatile oils, acts as a gentler support.

Carrot, Beet, Yam

These reddish vegetables are full of beta-carotene, needed in extra amounts during lactation. Carrot seed has been used as a galactagogue, and the vegetable, also containing the volatile oils and phytoestrogen, acts as a gentler support. The beet is a wonderful source of minerals and iron. Taking raw beet can help alleviate iron deficiency. These vegetables are naturally sweet, and they support the liver.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green vegetables are a potent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes, as well as phytoestrogen that support lactation. Dandelion and stinging nettle leaves are diuretic, and can help reduce edema during pregnancy and after birth. They can be plucked from your garden in early spring and eaten whole, chopped into salad, or used to make tea. Stinging nettle can be harvested for salad or cooked as spinach. In your market, you'll find arugula, beet leaves, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, chicory, collard greens and others.

Grains and Legumes

Grains and legumes have a long history as galactagogues. The most commonly used grains include oats, millet, barley and rice. Oats are the most widely used lactogenic food in the US. Legumes to include in your diet are chickpea, mung beans and lentils.


Nuts that support milk supply include almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts. As much as possible, eat raw nuts, not roasted or salted. The taste of raw nuts will grow on you.


Garlic is famous for its medical benefits, and has a long history as a galactagogue.

In one study, babies were seen to latch on better, suckle more actively, and drink more milk when the mother had garlic prior to nursing(2). If you do not wish to eat garlic, try adding a capsule of garlic extract to a meal eaten about an hour before breastfeeding.


Ginger is helpful for the letdown and milk flow. Some mothers benefit from drinking ginger ale. Even commercial ginger ale is flavored with “natural flavoring” that is real ginger. Don't use ginger or garlic if you are on a blood thinner.


New to Cloth Diapers?

Here's a link to a list of cloth diapering terms:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Crunchy Recipes

These are recipes shared and discussed by our community on Facebook. The group, as a whole, does not necessarily endorse these practices and viewpoints. We hope that you find them useful for your own research.



How to respond to naysayers (funny!)

“Co-sleeping is weird. Don’t you have a crib?” Response: “Yes, and we prefer to use it to store laundry.”

“Co-sleeping is unhealthy. Everyone needs their own bed.” Response: “Said the bed factory.”

“Homebirth? Ew! What will you do with the mess?” Response: “Make candles for Christmas gifts. What’s your address again?”

“Homebirth? So dangerous!” Response: “Don’t worry, after baby is born we plan to raise her inside of an actual hospital. Just to be safe.”

“Homebirth? Are you crazy?” Response: “Have you seen gas prices? This will save TWO trips.”

“Your baby will never learn to walk.” Response: “We’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. Well… I’ll cross… he’ll be in a carrier.”

“Can’t you just use a stroller?” Response: “When the zombies come, being hands-free is going to be essential for survival.”

“She’ll never WALK!” Response: “How else will I make sure she never leaves me? (must be said with a straight face).

How to make milk!

Health Humor

Cervical Dilation Guide

Source: Spirit of Ilithyia Birth Services