Foods to Increase Milk Supply

By Kay Greene
Nurse handing Mother newborn baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as many other health advocacy organizations recommend breast feeding for babies under one year. "Breastfeeding is the best source of infant nutrition, and it provides immunologic protection and health benefits both to breastfeeding mothers and to the children they nurse," said Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, the U.S. surgeon general, in a statement on July 30, 2010. It is discouraging for a mother who wishes to follow this advice when her milk supply runs low. The good news is there are foods to increase milk supply.

Calcium-Rich Foods

Woman steaming broccoli

Calcium is one of the most critical needs for nursing mothers, according to WebMD. Although dairy foods are an obvious choice for increasing your calcium, the site says, "You don't have to drink milk to make milk." Foods like salmon, broccoli, sesame seeds, tofu, and kale will give you the 1,000 milligrams of calcium that you need for nursing. If your milk supply is low, double check that you are getting enough calcium, and change your diet accordingly.

Complex Carbohydrates

Woman making salad

WebMd recommends a diet rich in complex carbohydrates to maintain your milk supply and provide the best nutrition for your baby. Be sure to incorporate many fruits and vegetables along with whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn and whole-wheat bread into your diet. Not only will these foods help your milk supply, they will also increase your energy level and help you shed pregnancy pounds.

Liquids

Woman drinking orange juice

Dehydration poses a serious risk to your milk supply. According to BabyCenter.com, a nursing mother needs 16 cups of fluid a day. This is because of the amount of fluid you are losing through breastfeeding. Rather than charting intake, the site recommends drinking to thirst and watching that your urine is light colored, which indicates you are well hydrated. Choose mostly water, milk and 100 percent fruit juices to maximize milk supply.

About the Author

Kay Greene has been a professional writer and editor since 1995. Her experience includes copy-editing for the "Springfield News-Leader" as well as writing and editing for "TPE" magazine and "Woman's Touch" magazine. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Evangel University.