23 Best Foods For A Lactating Mother

Gunjan Lal
September 13, 2016
Views : 35443
23 Best Foods For A Lactating Mother

If you're a nursing mother then you probably have a ton of questions running through your mind. You definitely must be concerned about your little baby's health and growth and you would want to nothing less than the best. What foods to eat during the feeding months that ensure a good supply of milk is one of the most common questions that nursing moms have is.

During the nursing phase, a mother requires careful attention with regard to her diet and health. Whatever you eat in this period plays a big role in your post-delivery recovery. Your diet during lactation will also influence the amount of milk that is produced.

What To Eat When You're Lactating?

There indeed are certain foods that assist in increasing breast milk and enhance lactation. Your breast milk contains all prime nutrients which are required for your infant's brain development and overall growth. Here is a list of the best 25 foods that you should include in your diet to increase breast milk. Not one are these the best foods to increase the production of breast milk but are also great in terms of ushering you back to health.


Oats are quick and easy to prepare as a meal. These are believed to control the risk of diabetes during the post pregnancy period. Oatmeal is packed with energy. It contains fiber which is great for your digestion. You can have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. And if the thought of having oatmeal for breakfast is not appetizing then don't worry you can try having oat cookies instead.


Salmon is a wonderful source of Essential Fatty Acids and Omega 3. Both Omega3 and essential fatty acids are very nutritious and beneficial for lactating mothers. Including salmon in your diet will boost lactation hormones and aid in making your milk more nutritious for your little one's development. Go for boiled, steamed, or even grilled salmon.

Spinach And Beetroot Leaves

Spinach And Beetroot Leaves

Spinach, as well as beetroot leaves, contain calcium, iron, and folic acid. These are vital for recouping anemic mothers. These nutrients will help in making your little baby strong. Beetroot and spinach leaves also consist of detoxifying agents. There are certain plant chemicals present in spinach which can help prevent breast cancer.

You can include these leaves in a cup of soup and have in somewhere during the afternoon. Or you can mix them with dough and make Paratha or chapattis out the spinach or beetroot leaves for your mid-day meal. Remember to consume spinach in moderation because too much of spinach could cause diarrhea in your baby.


Carrots are beneficial for a wide range of things. Just a glass of carrot juice with either breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation. Like spinach, carrots too have the qualities of promoting lactation. Carrots contain Vitamin A which boosts the quality of your milk and complements lactation. During winters, try having carrots in pureed form stirred with warm milk and sugar.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are believed to boost the quantity of your breast milk. They are good digestives and help control baby colic. You can add fennel seeds along with seasonings to your vegetable fillings. You can also add them to your tea or simply boil a few seeds with milk and drink it up. Popping in a few seeds after a meal would also do and it'll serve as a mouth great refresher.

Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are also known for boosting breast milk supply. Try chewing on sprouted seeds along with a glass of milk in order to prevent post-delivery constipations. Fenugreek seeds enhance your milk quantity. Toss some seeds in your food as seasoning and enhancing the flavor of your meals. You can have them for breakfast by mixing fenugreek seeds and rice and making a kind of pancakes.

Bottle Gourd

Bottle gourd or Lauki is generally not a preferred vegetable, but preferred or not, the fact is that it is high on nutrition. Bottle gourd is a summer vegetable which is high in water content. This helps a nursing mother in keeping hydrated. It also helps in increasing the milk quantity. Bottle gourd is easy to digest and aids in lactation. If you don't prefer having it cooked then you can great a bit of bottle gourd and mix it with curd and have this alongside your meal. Or drink freshly homemade bottle gourd juice to help normalize raised blood sugar levels that may occur post-delivery. Make sure that the juice is fresh and not stored.

Basil Leaves

Basil Leave

Basil leaves or Tulsi leaves are an amazing source of antioxidants. Basil leaves have a relaxing and calming effect which plays an important role while lactating. It enhances your little one's immunity levels. You can add a few basil leaves in your tea and unburden your body and mind. Or leave the tulsi sprigs for a while in some hot water and have this water infused with the goodness of basil leaves first thing in the morning to experience its effect.


Garlic is thought to be one of the best foods to increase breast milk, as it is quite well known to boost lactation in nursing mothers. Ginger has chemical compounds which assist in lactation. Its regular consumption prevents you from all types of cancer. Toss in a few stir-fried cloves of garlic in your soup, add it to a vegetable of your choice or you can stir-fry a handful of garlic cloves in ghee and have it along with steamed rice, every second day.


Barley does not only boost lactation but also keeps you properly hydrated. You can boil barley and sip on the water through the day. Or toss whole barley in with vegetables of your choice along with your favorite flavoring.


Chickpea is a high protein snack and a good lactation booster for nursing mothers. It is also a rich source of B-complex, vitamins, calcium and fiber. Here's what you can do - Soak chickpeas overnight & boil it in the morning. Mash a handful or two in vegetable salad of your liking. Or you can simply snack on a chickpea mash garnished with lemon juice and garlic.


Asparagus is considered as an immensely important food for nursing mothers. It has high fiber content. It is also rich in Vitamin A & K. Asparagus helps stimulate the hormones of a nursing mother which are essential for lactation. Wash and chop asparagus and boil it with milk then strain and drink the asparagus infused milk for better milk production.

Brown Rice

Brown rice

Brown rice is very nutritious and gives nursing mothers the extra boost of energy that is required post-delivery. Brown rice has certain chemicals that help normalize your disrupted sleep pattern and mood swings. It also helps increase your appetite and has hormone stimulants which are good for boosting lactation. So go for brown instead of white rice. Brown rice also helps in maintaining sugar levels in your blood.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds too boost milk supply. They assist in avoiding digestive irritants such as acidity. Cumin seeds are fat-burners and appetizers. You can add a pinch of cumin powder to buttermilk or plain milk and drink up. Make sure that you have them in moderation.

Black Sesame Seeds

Black Sesame seeds are a wonderful source of calcium and are believed to increase milk supply. You can blend sesame seeds with milk, sugar, and almonds and drink up. But use these in limited quantity.

Oils And Fats

It is often recommended to keep oils and fats in your diet to a minimum level, post pregnancy. But you must not avoid fat and oil entirely in your post-delivery diet. These are a vital part of the lactation period. They help in the absorption of minerals and vitamins present in the foods that you eat. They also assist in easy bowel movement. Go for olive oil, any heart-healthy oil or rice bran oil. These oils help in balancing the supply of healthy fat to your little baby.


There are hormonal imbalances that keep taking place in your body during and post pregnancy. Dried apricots contain certain chemicals which help in balancing out the hormone levels in your body. They are rich in fiber and calcium and help boost lactation. You can include walnuts and apricots with your oatmeal diet!

Cow Milk

Cow's Milk has calcium and Essential fatty acids and promotes lactation. Include cow's milk in your diet every day, drink at least two to three glasses. Choose cow's milk wherever milk is a necessary ingredient.



Drumsticks have high calcium and iron content. It is good for lactating mothers. Drumsticks boost immunity and enhance the performance of your nervous system. You can have them steamed with flavouring if you wish. You can also use drumstick leaves along with vegetable fillings.

Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus)

It is very important for nursing mothers to stay completely relaxed during lactation. Poppy seeds contain sedative properties that are helpful in calming you down and making you feel relaxed. Be mindful to include it in a less quantity in your diet. You can roast poppy seeds and add it to puddings or porridges. Poppy seeds will help relax your mind as well as your body while nursing your baby.

Water And Juices

Drinking a good amount of water and juices is believed to boost lactation. It is believed to increase the total milk volume per feed along with preventing you from dehydration and replacing fluids lost during lactation. Drink a glass of water or juice when you are thirsty or right before you begin to nurse your baby.


Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E and Omega3. Vitamin E helps to heal itching caused due to post pregnancy stretch marks. Whereas, Omega3 helps the lactation boosting hormones in your body to produce more milk. You can have crushed almonds along with milk for greater effect or you can add almonds to your bowl of oatmeal.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a superb source of potassium. They have energy producing carbohydrates which are required to fight the fatigue which is quite common for lactating mothers. Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin B complex and vitamin C, as well as magnesium which is a muscle relaxant mineral. You can have sweet potatoes with a low fiber diet. Or make a smoothie of apples and baked sweet potato. You can also make it as a pudding for dessert.

Things You Should Avoid

Apart from being concerned about what to eat, it is also important to know what not to include in your diet. Lactating mothers should try to avoid foods such as pulses, raw mango, potato and raw banana as these may cause your body to generate gas. Other foods that you should avoid include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and peppermint. However, you don't have to completely cut off chocolate or caffeine; you still can relish them but in small amounts.

It is essential for you to have regular meals when lactating because you need your daily quantity of nutrients and so does your little baby. Each baby reacts differently to different kinds of food, so what works or worked for your relative or friend's infant, may not work for your baby. I would advise you to consult your doctor before adding or avoiding any of these foods to your post-pregnancy diet.

Gunjan Lal

Gunjan Lal

Hi! I’m Gunjan, a self-proclaimed tea fanatic and intrigued with alternative ways to lead a healthy life. I firmly believe that we should take care of our bodies because it’s the only place we live in.

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