Foods That Increase the Supply of Breast Milk

Make More Breast Milk with These 11 Lactogenic Foods

Lactogenic Foods. Foods That Can Increase The Amount Of Breast Milk. Fennel
Fennel seeds, bulb, stalk, and leaves. Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

Lactogenic Foods That Can Help You Make More Breast Milk

Many foods are considered to be galactagogues, which help to increase the supply of breast milk. Throughout the world, women in different cultures are given certain foods right after childbirth and while they're breastfeeding. Some of these foods are full of vitamins and minerals, and others contain chemical properties that may aid in the production of breast milk.

Whatever the reason may be, these milk-making (lactogenic) foods are believed to promote and support a healthy supply of breast milk.

#1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are very nutritious, and they are thought to have properties that support the hormones responsible for making breast milk. Eating whole grains may increase your breast milk supply. The most common grain used to make more breast milk is slow-cooked old fashioned oatmeal. You can also try barley, whole grain brown rice, oatmeal cookies, or other foods made from whole grains.

Read More: Oats, Oatmeal, and Breastfeeding

#2. Dark Green Vegetables

Dark green vegetables such as alfalfa, lettuce, kale, spinach, and broccoli are full of nutrients, especially calcium. They also contain phytoestrogens that may have a positive effect on breast milk production.

Read More: Alfalfa and Increasing Breast Milk Supply

#3. Fennel

Fennel is a plant from the Mediterranean.

Fennel seeds are often used as an herb to flavor many different foods, but fennel is also a vegetable that can be cooked or eaten raw. The bulb, stalk, and leaves of the fennel plant are edible, and you can add them to soups, stews, or other fennel recipes. The plant estrogens found in fennel are believed to help nursing mothers make more breast milk.

Read More: Increasing Your Breast Milk Supply With Fennel 

#4. Garlic

Garlic is very nutritious, and it's a healthy addition to most diets. It is thought to be a galactagogue, helping nursing mothers make more breast milk. It's also believed that the taste of the garlic in the breast milk may help keep breastfed babies nursing longer. While it seems that some infants do, in fact, like the taste of garlic in the breast milk, others may not tolerate it very well. If your baby shows signs of a food sensitivity after you eat garlic, you may want to try to avoid the garlic for a while. Garlic can be added to your diet as a flavoring for many dishes, including vegetables, meats, seafood, pasta, and sauces.

Read More: Garlic, Breastfeeding, And Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

#5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans or Ceci (chi-chi) beans, are a common legume used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Chickpeas have been used by women to make more breast milk since the ancient Egyptian times.

They are a nutritious food that is high in protein, and they also contain plant estrogens. Hummus which is a spread or dip made from chickpeas, is another way to enjoy this very healthy bean.

#6. Sesame Seeds

High in calcium and estrogen-like plant properties, sesame seeds are believed to help nursing mothers make more breast milk. You can eat sesame seeds alone, as an ingredient in the recipes you prepare, as a topping for salads, or in a trail mix combined with other seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.

#7. Almonds 

Nuts, especially almonds, are considered to be galactagogues. Many nursing mothers eat almonds, or drink almond milk, to increase the creaminess, sweetness, and amount of their breast milk.

#8. Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil 

Like sesame seeds, flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens that can influence breast milk production. You can sprinkle flaxseed on salads and cereals, or you can try a flax seed recipe.

#9. Fresh Ginger Root 

Ginger is used as a galactagogue but is also believed to help with the let-down reflex. There are many dishes containing ginger that you can try. You can also add ginger to your diet by drinking ginger ale made from actual ginger, and ginger tea.

#10. Brewer's Yeast 

Brewer's yeast is a very healthy nutritional supplement that contains B vitamins, iron, protein, chromium, selenium, and other minerals. Breastfeeding mothers use it to help increase energy, get rid of the baby blues, and make more breast milk.

Read More: Brewer's Yeast: Boost Your Mood And Your Breast Milk Supply

#11. Nursing Teas 

OK, tea is a beverage, not food. Yet, nursing teas are one of the most common choices for women who want to try to increase their breast milk supply. Nursing teas contain different combinations of herbs, such as fenugreek, blessed thistle, milk thistle, and fennel that are believed to help increase the supply of breast milk. Teas are also comforting and easy to prepare.

Read More: Increasing Breast Milk Supply With Nursing Teas

Do Lactogenic Foods Really Work?

Not all women will see results from eating these foods, but it certainly couldn't hurt to try them. If you eat a well-balanced, breastfeeding diet, many of these foods may already be a part of it. Since most of these foods are healthy and nutritious, adding a few more should be OK. Just keep in mind that, like everything else, you do not want to overdo it. If they seem to be working for you, monitor your breast milk supply. Once you reach a point that you feel comfortable with, reduce the amount of these foods that you consume. If you continue to increase your milk supply, you could end up with too much breast milk. An overabundant supply of breast milk could lead to another set of problems such as breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts, and mastitis.


Humphrey, Sheila. The Nursing Mother's Herbal. Fairview Press. Minneapolis. 2003.

Jacobson, Hilary. Mother Food.  Rosalind Press. 2004

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

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