You have likely heard there are certain foods you can eat to help boost your milk supply. Perhaps your twins have recently arrived and you are trying to build your supply for the first time. Or, maybe you are already into your breastfeeding or pumping journey but need a boost because you are experiencing a sudden dip in supply or more demand from your twins due to a growth spurt. Whatever the reason, you are looking for some extra support. Adding additional pumping sessions into your routine is certainly one common way to increase production. However, many women also see results by introducing specific foods into their diet.
Below are 14 things to consume that I have repeatedly seen endorsed by mothers to help increase milk supply. This list includes items to eat, drink and some herbal supplements. Keep in mind that everyone is different, so what works for another woman may not work for you. Please also be sure to consult your doctor before trying any new supplements.
#1 – Water, Water, Water!
This is probably one of the most important items. Human breast milk is comprised of about 87% water, so ensuring you are well hydrated is critical for milk production. You should aim to drink at least 1 gallon (128 oz) of water every day. If you are feeding twins, you will most likely need to drink more than that.
If tracking how many ounces you drink per day is not realistic, then at least be mindful of these two things:
- Drink to thirst – feeling thirsty is your body’s way of signaling that it is dehydrated. So, grab that glass of water! Also, make it a routine to drink a glass of water before or after every breastfeeding or pumping session to replenish your body.
- Observe your urine – it should be the color of straw. If it is dark yellow, then you are dehydrated and need to drink more liquid. If it is clear, then you are probably drinking too much.
If you are struggling to drink enough water, try drinking from a straw cup. I find I am much more likely to sip on the straw throughout the day, and therefore drink more, than when I drink from a traditional glass.
When plain water becomes boring, try infusing it with fruit! Some great choices are lemon, lime, orange, berries, cucumber, etc.
#2 – Coconut Water
Coconut water is a great option to supplement your regular water intake. In addition to helping keep you hydrated, coconut water is also full of electrolytes. It is also less sugary than other electrolyte-rich beverages, such as Gatorade. You can also easily substitute coconut water for regular water when making fruit smoothies, oatmeal, etc.
#3 – Body Armor Drink
Body Armor is an electrolyte-rich sports drink. While there is no scientific evidence that it helps increase milk supply, it is gaining some popularity among breastfeeding mothers. This is likely due to a few of the ingredients, such as coconut water, vitamins (e.g., calcium, magnesium), and electrolytes.
#4 – Mother’s Milk Tea
A caffeine-free herbal supplement, Mother’s Milk Tea can be found in the “tea and coffee” section at most grocery stores and online. It is a good way to get in some extra liquid, and the herbal ingredients are marketed to help boost your milk supply.
#5 – Fenugreek
Fenugreek is an herbal supplement that has mixed reviews by breastfeeding mothers. Some women find it to be effective in increasing their lactation. However, other women experience the reverse effect of it decreasing their supply. The result seems to vary person-to-person. Just keep this in mind and discontinue use if you notice it negatively impacts your production. Fenugreek can be found in a variety of forms (e.g., tea, capsule, powder).
#6 – Moringa
Moringa is an herbal supplement with a history of being used by breastfeeding mothers in Asia and Africa to increase milk supply. A study published in 2013 in The Philippine Journal of Pediatrics found that moringa helped increase milk production 4 to 5 days postpartum on mothers who delivered pre-term infants. This is an interesting finding and could be relevant for mothers of twins, as we typically deliver pre-term babies. Moringa can be found in tea, capsules, or powder form.
#7 – Goat’s Rue
Goat’s Rue is a plant native to Europe and the Middle East. It belongs to the same family of plants as fenugreek and is another herbal supplement said to help stimulate breastmilk production. It is typically found in capsules but can also be purchased as dried leaves for making tea.
#8 – Milkapalooza
Milkapalooza is a dietary supplement made by Legendairy Milk that is marketed to optimize breastmilk production. It includes herbs such as moringa, fennel, and nettle.
#9 – Upspring Milkflow
Upspring is a company founded by mothers and sells a line of products called “Milkflow” that are marketed to help increase breastmilk production. These include a variety of capsules and drink mix supplements.
#10 – Green Papaya
Unripe “green” papaya has a history of being used in Asia to help boost the quantity of breastmilk. It is said to help increase the body’s production of Oxytocin, the hormone that regulates milk supply. You can find recipe ideas online for a variety of soups and salads that use green papaya.
#11 – Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s Yeast is widely touted by breastfeeding mothers to help increase milk supply. It typically comes in powder form, making it easy to add to oatmeal, lactation cookies, smoothies, and more. You can find brewer’s yeast at most grocery stores, health food stores, and online.
#12 – Oats
Eating oats is frequently recommended by breastfeeding mothers. There is no scientific evidence that oats affect milk supply, but this is also the case for many suggestions related to lactation. Oats are packed full of iron, which is an important vitamin for breastfeeding mothers. Some popular ways to add oats to your diet include eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, making overnight oats, adding oats to lactation cookies, drinking oat milk, etc.
#13 – Lactation Cookies
These yummy and healthy snacks typically pack together several ingredients that are generally believed to help increase milk supply, such as oats, brewer’s yeast, and flaxseed. You can find a lot of recipes online, and most are easy to make at home. My favorite is a no-bake recipe, making it even faster to whip up a batch. My husband and I like these so much that we still make them occasionally as a quick snack even though I am no longer breastfeeding. Our twins think they are pretty tasty too!
Here is our favorite recipe for No-Bake Lactation Bites from The BakerMama.
#14 – Dark Beer
There is some argument that the barley and hops in dark beers (such as a Guinness Stout) stimulates the production of prolactin, which can help women increase and release more breastmilk. Another argument is that a small amount of alcohol merely helps relax the body. This is important since we know that stress and sleep deprivation contribute to decreased milk supply. So, some women find that drinking a dark beer in the evening helps them relax and de-stress, which means they have a better chance at producing milk.
If you are going to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, it is important to follow recommended guidelines. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
“Moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours before nursing.”
What Works For You?
Producing enough breast milk to feed your baby can sometimes be incredibly difficult, especially if you are trying to feed twins. If despite your best efforts you still struggle with a low milk supply, there is no shame in supplementing with formula. That said, I hope this article has given you new ideas of food and drink to help increase your milk supply, and that you discover something that works for your body. Please also remember to consult your doctor before trying any new supplements.
If you have other food suggestions of what has worked for you or someone you know, please leave them in the comments as I’d love to learn about them!