There are no specific foods to eat that will stimulate production of breast milk, but there are things that can help with milk production. More important than what you eat is how your baby eats. When a baby is properly positioned, well-attached and sucking effectively, the longer a baby nurses at your breast the more milk will be produced. This is the single most important way to increase your milk production.
There are two important factors critical to producing milk. The first is drinking enough fluid. It doesn’t have to be milk; water or juice is fine. But I did drink 2 cups of milk that are meant for breastfeeding mothers, once in the morning and another at night.
You may be producing from 20 to 40 ounces of fluid a day, and that’s quite a lot. So when do you know you need to drink? I normally drink a glass of water after every feed or whenever I feel thirsty. It is also a good habit to fill a glass of water for yourself to drink while your baby is nursing. Drinking sufficient fluids won’t make you produce more milk, but is important in replenishing lost fluids.
Nursing requires about an extra 500 calories per day. Women that go on restricted diets in an attempt to lose weight while they are nursing may be eating too few calories, which leaves them fatigued and without the energy necessary for optimal milk production. In fact by breastfeeding, mothers WILL lose weight gain during pregancy, my cousin and I are the best proof. *wink* So please do not cut down on the things you eat when you choose to breastfeed.
Beer has been touted for years as being a stimulus to milk production. However, research shows that babies don’t like alcoholic breastmilk, and actually drink less of it, resulting in less stimulation to the breast. Ultimately, this means a decrease in milk production.
Stress can negatively affect milk production. Find an alternative way to rest and de-stress. Have a sitter come in so you can nap. Always sleep in the same momentum of the baby, meaning, when baby sleeps, you sleep too. Get your spouse to do the household chores. The better you rest, the better the supply.
Caffeine stimulates milk production, but it also stimulates your baby. Caffeine finds its way into breast milk and large amounts can act on your baby as it does on you, that is keeping your baby awake longer than he should. Caffeine stays in baby’s system longer than in an adult’s, which will prolong its effect. Also, caffeine can make your baby irritable, as well as interfere with his sleep. One cup of coffee or a soda will not be a problem, but in large quantities (five or more cups of a caffeinated beverage a day), this level of caffeine in breast milk can reach amounts that affect your baby.
The best prescription for maximum milk production is effective and frequent breastfeeding, plenty of fluids, adequate calories and rest. If you feel your supply is low, ask yourself, have you been doing this?