Lactogenic foods and herbs, known as galactagogues, can help boost your milk supply. There are also herbal supplements and lactation teas available, but they often have undesirable side effects. Try out different lactogenic foods – they may not all work for you, but they may just help increase both quantity and quality every time you express breast milk. Here’s a list of some of the best ones to try:
Barley is rich in Beta-Glucan, a type of complex sugar that has been shown to boost prolactin (a key hormone that regulates breastfeeding) in both humans and animals, Barley can be used in soups, stews, salads and risotto, or even in homemade bread.
Barley is often ‘malted’ which means it is turned into sweet, syrupy substance rich in lactogenic beta-glucan through the process of germination. It can be found in specialty stores, or online – but make sure it is 100% pure, without artificial sweeteners such as corn syrup.
Fennel and Fenugreek
Known as Methi in India, both the leaves of fennel and the seeds (known as fenugreek) contain phytoestrogens and have a long history of use as a lactogenic, in India, the Middle East and North America. Be careful though, it may have side effects such as tummy troubles, and if you have diabetes, heart disease or nut allergies, it may help to consult a doctor.
Oats and Whole Grains
Oats are some of the richest sources of dietary beta-glucan, and are both common and versatile. If you’re not a fan of oats however, whole grains and white rice are also rich in beta-glucan. Avoid white flour (maida) and white rice, as they don’t have the same benefits. Anywhere you would use maida or white rice can be replaced with whole wheat flour (atta) or brown rice for a boost in your breast milk production.