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7 Lactogenic Foods for Nursing Moms

Boost your milk supply with 7 breastfeeding friendly foods.

7 Lactogenic Foods for Nursing Moms

Milk production works on a supply-and-demand basis: the more baby nurses, the more your body produces milk. But what if a mama needs a little boost? Luckily, there are certain foods that can help you make more milk. Lactogenic foods, also known as galactagogues, contain phytoestrogens and other chemical properties that stimulate lactation. Although women have used these milk-making foods for centuries, it's important to note that there's no scientific proof that they actually work. But if you're doing all the nursing you can, staying hydrated and eating well and you still think you need some help with milk supply, giving lactogenic foods a try may be worth your while.

We've reached out to dietitian and lactation consultant Vanessa Rissetto to find out about the ingredients that you should add to your breastfeeding diet. Here are 7 lactogenic foods that can ramp up your milk supply.

  1. Oats – Oats contain plant estrogens, which have been associated with the stimulation of milk glands. It also has a fiber called Beta-glucan, which can increase the levels of prolactin (a hormone that is responsible for producing milk) in the bloodstream. Check out these recipes for Oatmeal cookies, Oatmeal (porridge) and Oatmeal muffins (Instead of dried currents, use raisins, cranberries or dried plums).
  2. Fennel – Both fennel and fennel seeds have phytoestrogens that stimulate lactation. But fennel seeds, a kind of herb that is used for seasoning, is particularly great because they also treat other uncomfortable symptoms like indigestion, stomachache and gas. You can sip on fennel tea or add fennel to your side dishes and salads.
  3. Dark leafy greens – Spinach, kale, alfalfa, collard greens, beet leaves and broccoli are nutrient powerhouses that are traditionally used to support and promote lactation. They all contain phytoestrogens and are packed with minerals, calcium and iron that great for your energy and your immune system. Try a recipe with one of these greens.
  4. Garlic – Garlic is known for its many medical benefits and has been a praised galactagogue for years. What's more, it's believed that babies who like the taste of garlic from breast milk can latch on and continue to breastfeed well. However, Vanessa Rissetto says that "if your little one is fussy/colic, it's one of the first foods to go. It does pass through breast milk so a good rule is not to over do it."
  5. Flax seed - Flax seeds have estrogenic properties that can help nursing moms make more milk. Whole flaxseeds work better than the ground powder kind, and flaxseed oil provide healthy fats that are a healthy component of breast milk to promote a child's brain development. You can sprinkle flaxseeds on your cereals and salads or try these banana butter lactation cookies.
  6. Almonds - High in proteins and fatty acids, nuts are a great addition to your diet and have been considered galactagogues for years. Almonds are some of the best nuts to improve milk production. You can eat them raw or drink almond milk. Crushing them onto your oatmeal is also a great way to get milk-making benefits from both foods.
  7. Sesame Seeds - Sesame seeds are high in calcium and, like flax seeds, contain estrogen-like properties that are known to increase milk supply. You can eat them whole, in trail mix or sprinkled on salads. You can also make hummus with Tahini, a sesame seed butter.

As with anything, moderation is key. Some lactogenic foods can have side effects like over-supply, mastitis and sucking problems. If taken in too high dosage, some of them can even have the opposite effect of decreasing milk production. Remember also that the more you nurse (and empty your breasts out), the more efficient these milk-boosting foods can be.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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