Prolactin is hormone responsible for making breast milk. We know that when you’re breastfeeding, you need about 300-500 extra calories to supoort making nutrition for your baby. You’re still eating for two!! There are foods with phytoestrogens which help boost and support your natural prolactin levels.
There are several main classes of phytoestrogens. Lignans are part of plant cell walls and found in fiber-rich foods like berries, seeds (flaxseeds), grains, nuts, and fruits. Two other phytoestrogen classes are isoflavones and coumestans. Isoflavones are present in berries, grains, and nuts, but are most abundant in soybeans and other legumes. Coumestans are found in legumes like split peas, lima and pinto beans. Eating these will naturally increase prolactin which in turn helps support making milk
- We all know oats are the go-to for increasing supply. They are rich in plant estrogens and beta-glucan. But other grains like brown rice, barley, and quinoa work as well!
- Garlic! It will definitely flavor you milk, but research shows babies love the flavor and often suck more in response.
- Fennel: Raw or cooked, fennel seeds can be added to a recipe, or drunk as a tea. There are also many lactation specific supplements that include fennel in pill form for a more concentrated dose
- Dark Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, and broccoli. And yes, you can eat broccoli while breastfeeding.
- Seeds: Sesame seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all super boosters of making milk and can be added to baked goods and smoothies very easily
- Berries: Get a phytoestrogen boost with fruits like strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
- Nuts: Almonds are high in linoleic acid and known to be the most lactogenic nut. Packed with healthy fats and antioxidants, Vitamin E and omega-3, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios are all good choices. Snack on raw or roasted nuts, add them to cookies, smoothies, and salads.