Note: Please refer to kellymom.com 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 lack
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.
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 seed
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
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.
is especially rich in minerals. It is available as capsules or as an
ingredient in so-called “green-drinks.” Take as indicated on the
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
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.
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.