People who have recently had a baby may be considering whether superfood supplements can be used to boost their breast milk supply?
There are a number of claims that certain foods and products will help, and we will go through the evidence here:
Women may be advised to try fenugreek to boost their breast milk supply, and the reasons are impressive. Fenugreek has been used as a traditional medicine to boost breast milk supply in India for thousands of years.
Though there is very little evidence to support its use as a galactagogue medicine that boosts milk supply) some research has shown that it does boost early milk supply though not mature milk. This is likely because breast milk supply is established early on when feeding.
It is considered a safe supplement for women to take by the US-based FDA.
Similar to fenugreek fennel is approved by the FDA for use by breastfeeding women, and though there is little evidence to support its use in boosting milk supply it is safe. It is a traditional remedy is Iran, where women will eat the vegetable or drink the tea.
There are very few research papers into the effectiveness of this to boost milk supply and though one study showed women who used it had an increase in supply there were only five participants.
Despite Instagram being full of recipes for supposed ‘lactation cookies’ crammed full of oats, there is actually no evidence that oats can boost supply. There is however no reason not to eat large amounts of oats, in cookies, flapjacks or otherwise as they are a good source of simple and complex carbohydrates which will keep your energy levels topped up while feeding your baby. Make sure you wash them down with plenty of water to ensure you are hydrated which is essential at this time.
Boosting milk supply naturally
What can you do to boost milk supply naturally? Well first and foremost it is unlikely you actually need to ‘boost’ your supply unless you have been told to by a healthcare professional. Your body will create just the right amount of milk for your baby.
It will do this by your baby removing milk from the breast by being encouraged to feed frequently. You can encourage your baby to latch on as often as possible. If you are worried your baby isn’t feeding enough then make sure you have as much skin to skin with the baby as possible. This may involve getting into bed with the baby for a day or two to establish feeding.
Give the baby as many opportunities to feed as possible, and let them feed for as long as they like.
It is important that you are as relaxed as possible so get other people on board to support you to relax with your baby and bring you food and drink to ensure your body is ready for the demands of lactation.
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