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.

Baby's first birthday is right around the corner—how did that happen? It's understandable if you are feeling all the emotions right now. This is a major milestone for both of you, so while you're planning a celebration for your little one, you should also take this moment to applaud your accomplishments during this past year.

One year ago, you were probably daydreaming about these moments… and possibly slightly nervous about how you would manage. Look at you now, mama! But take a deep breath, because life is about to get even more exciting as your sweet little baby enters toddlerhood!

Here are a few of our favorite items for babies and mamas at the 11-month mark:

To cheer on first steps: Bright Starts rolling monkey

Bright Starts

It takes a lot of strength to get those little legs walking for the first time! Keep your baby encouraged as they gain stability with a new toy to chase down.


For mess-free snacking: Munchkin snack catcher

Munchkin Snack Catcher

As your baby begins to work on supervised self-feeding, you'll start to find crumbs everywhere. That's why training snack cups are so brilliant: They prevent them from dumping all those snacks at once.


For the first cake-cutting: Creative Converting first birthday party hat

birthday hat

Get your camera ready for that first birthday! Sure, the party hat may only stay on your toddler's head for a few minutes, but the pictures will be around to cherish for a lifetime.


For those fine motor skills: Lamaze sorting toy

Lamaze toy

The fine motor development your baby is working on today will help with everything from playing instruments to writing with pencils and so much more later in life. Believe it or not, a simple sorting toy will help boost these foundational skills.


For breastfeeding support: Honest Mama nip balm

Honest nip balm

If you are on a breastfeeding journey with your growing babe, you two probably are in a pretty good rhythm—but your tatas still deserve some TLC.


For simple beauty touch-ups: Honest Beauty magic balm

Honest Beauty

It can still feel hard to find a spare moment for yourself throughout the day, but it also feels good to keep up with a beauty routine that is heavy on the self-care element. Enter: An incredible multi-purpose balm that can hydrate your lips, soothe cracked skin, tame flyaways and more.


For whatever life throws at you: All In Motion anorak jacket

All in Motion

Motherhood is all about multitasking, and your clothing should be able to take you from one activity to the next. Thankfully, the amazingly stylish activewear on the market right now means you can feel good about a wardrobe stable that is able to multitask, too.


For baby’s first cake: KitchenAid hand mixer

Kitchen Aid

If you've been pinning ideas for that first birthday cake since you gave birth, make those dreams a reality with an upgraded mixer you can use throughout the years. Not much of a baker? Visit Target Bakery for a free smash cake with the purchase of a specialty cake!


For chasing that active baby: C9 Champion women’s knit sneakers

Champion Sneakers

You might be surprised by how quickly your toddling baby turns into a running baby. So lace up those shoes, mama!


For your favorite photos: Project 62 wire clip collage

Project 62

How many pictures have you taken in the past year? We're betting it's a pretty high number, and at least a few of those deserve to be displayed in your home. Make it easy to swap them out with a frame that allows you to display multiple pictures at once.


This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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