Breastfeeding is so rewarding, for you and your baby — but it can be challenging, too, especially in the beginning. As a new mom, eating a healthy diet is the number one priority, whether you're breastfeeding or not! And while there are products available that promise to magically increase your milk supply, your best bet is to first eat more nourishing plant-based foods to stay satiated, healthy, and full of energy.
Note: if you're struggling with a low milk supply, you may want to check with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for assistance.
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Oats are known as lactogenic, and they are packed with iron and fiber, exactly what you need to satisfy your hunger and boost your milk supply.
This versatile and often misunderstood soy product (soy can indeed be part of a healthy plant-based diet!), is full of vegan protein, calcium, and iron — all essential for any new mom, and especially if you're breastfeeding. Don't like tofu? You might be preparing it wrong! No worries — with these tips you'll be whipping up delicious tofu dishes in no time, promise.
Fennel gives your salads a sweet, crunchy element and some studies suggest that it can increase prolactin levels (the milk hormone), contributing to increased milk production and infant weight gain. Not sure how to prepare foods with fennel at home? Order MamaSezz ready-made Breakfast Sausage (100% vegan and made with whole food ingredients only).
Fenugreek has been used for years among mothers wanting to increase their milk supply. It is usually enjoyed as a tea, but be aware not to take too much, as it can cause diarrhea to you and your baby in high doses. Here are some guidelines from KellyMom and it's always a good idea to discuss with your healthcare provider and/or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
5. Red and Orange Root Veggies
While plant-based foods in general are great for anyone's postpartum journey, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes are especially beneficial while breastfeeding. They contain beta-carotene which is essential during lactation. Curl up with a bowl of this spicy vegan carrot soup.
Seeds like chia, flax, and hemp are great for breastfeeding mums, as they have high levels of omega-3 healthy fats, which you need to maintain a healthy milk supply. They're also chock full of vegan protein which can help you keep your energy up! Not sure how to enjoy seeds at home? Sprinkle on salads, make an easy overnight chia seed pudding, or fill your fridge with ready-made MamaSezz Breakfast Smoothies.
Avocados are high in potassium, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. They are also mostly fat, perfect for keeping you full and satisfied while you are feeding your little bundle of joy. Add sliced avocado to your favorite whole grain toast, blend it with your vegan smoothies, or chop up and toss in your hearty salad.
Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse for breastfeeding mums (and really for anyone!). High in plant-based protein, this pseudo-carbohydrate has been used in many cultures to boost and maintain milk production. Need some quinoa inspiration? Try this quinoa cinnamon breakfast bowl or get the MamaSezz Quinoa Stack delivered to your door, ready to heat and eat.
Beans are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and, contrary to popular belief, do not give babies gas! Chickpeas in particular have been recognized as highly lactogenic, so here's your written permission to devour that hummus by the spoonful.
Nuts contain many vitamins and minerals, including omega-3 fatty acids, and they're great for snacking. They have been known to help with milk production and, almonds in particular are believed to increase the sweetness and creaminess of breast milk, too!
Image and Recipe from Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
These vegan lactation cookies are perfect for snacking and boosting your milk supply!
- If you're worried about your supply, definitely reach out to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for assistance.
- One of the best things a breastfeeding mom can do is nourish herself well with a well-rounded plant-based diet!
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.