Lactation Supplements and Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers

Whether or not you chose to breastfeed your baby is a personal decision. There are many factors that affect the decision. Each mother, baby delivery, medical circumstances, work requirements, family situation, and availability is unique. You can discuss any concerns with your medical provider or a lactation consultant but ultimately the decision is yours. It is a personal decision and it may be different for each child you have.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

            You have probably already heard all the hype about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms. Breast milk contains tons of nutritionists, antioxidants, and antibodies. These components help the baby get the nutrition they need to gain weight and grow while also providing immune system advantages. Babies who are breastfed have fewer illnesses and infections compared to formula-fed babies. Mom’s also benefit from breastfeeding because the hormones involved help stimulate the uterus to contract and return to normal which helps lessen postpartum bleeding. Many moms say that they lose weight more quickly because of breastfeeding.

Milk Supply Difficulties

            Some moms may struggle with the amount of milk that they produce. This may be disappointing and frustrating if you are intent on breastfeeding. The good news is that there are many methods that you can try to boost your milk supply and there are professionals you can consult with. If you are having any difficulties with breastfeeding, please speak with your OB/GYN and/or lactation consultant.

Boosting Milk Supply

            The foods we eat can have a very significant impact on our health. There has been very limited research on foods that boost milk supply but there are some foods and ingredients that women swear by and have been passed down through generations. Substances that increase a woman’s milk volume are referred to as galactagogues. You may see products for sale such as teas, cookies, and supplements on the market that claim to boost milk supply. There have not been many research studies done on these products but some women claim that they do work. Consult with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant before beginning any new supplements. Be advised that some of these lactation boosting products are not approved by the FDA.

Common Lactation Boosting Ingredients

            Fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, milk thistle, alfalfa, and shatavari root are common ingredients in lactation-boosting supplements and products. There is very little research on the effects of these ingredients on lactation but they are popular among some breastfeeding mothers. Be advised that fenugreek should not be taken during pregnancy. These ingredients are not regulated by the FDA and you should speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.

Diet Modifications for Increasing Lactation

            Having a healthy diet may influence the amount of milk you produce. As stated previously, there has not been much research conducted on food effects on lactation. Although there has not been much research, getting enough protein in your diet is essential because it is considered the building block of many tissues in the body. A specific food that is often recommended by lactation consults is oatmeal. Although research is lacking, oatmeal is a good source of nutrients that could be incorporated into a healthy diet.

Key Takeaways

·         The decision to breastfeed personal and has many factors to consider.

·         Some women may have difficulties producing enough milk.

·         There are many lactation boosting products on the market but there has been very little research as to if these products actually work and if they are safe.

·         An overall healthy diet including good sources of protein is recommended for mothers who are breastfeeding.