It's completely natural for breastfeeding mothers to worry from time to time about their milk supply. After all, your little one is growing like a weed, and they're depending on nutrients from you to power them through. Luckily, incorporating new foods into your diet that can boost your own nutrition and help with your milk supply doesn't need to be complicated or difficult. In fact, these 15 crockpot recipes can possibly help increase your milk supply. And what's easier than dumping a few ingredients into your slow cooker and calling it a day?
Each of the following recipes uses foods that are considered to be a galactagogue, or, as Merriam-Webster defines it, "an agent that promotes the secretion of milk." One of the best breastfeeding hacks, however, is to simply continue eating well. "The best diet for a nursing woman is simply a normal, healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains," states WebMD. Oh, and eat plenty, too! Nursing women need, on average, 300 to 500 calories extra per day in order to support lactation.
In addition to eating a balanced, nutritious diet, help boost your milk supply by staying hydrated and sleeping well. And while the baby may not let you sleep as well as you'd like, the ease of these Crock-Pot recipes will at least hopefully help you sneak in a nap or two.
1. Overnight Slow-Cooker Steel Cut Oats
Oats are a nutritional powerhouse, so it's no surprise they're beneficial for breastfeeding. They're a source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber, and high in iron, zinc, manganese, and calcium, according to Very Well Family. Luckily for sleep-deprived mamas, you can make these overnight steel cut oats by Well Plated in your slow-cooker and store them in your fridge for easy breakfasts (or lunches or dinners, because oatmeal is always good).
2. Slow-Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Potatoes
Garlic is often touted as a fantastic dietary addition to help nursing moms maintain or increase their milk supplies. "In the early '90s, researchers Julie Mennella and Gary Beauchamp performed a study in which mothers breastfeeding their babies were given a garlic pill while others were given a placebo," according to Parents. "The babies nursed longer, sucked harder, and drank more garlic-scented milk than those who had no garlic exposure." If you're looking for a yummy way to incorporate garlic, this Slow-Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Potatoes recipe by Damn Delicious is the perfect option.
3. Slow-Cooker Honey Cinnamon Carrots
If you're looking for a delicious side or snack to aid in breastfeeding, think carrots. A carrot "contains Vitamin A which complements lactation and boosts the quality of your milk," states Mom Junction, making it an ideal healthy dietary addition. And yes, carrots can actually be mouth-watering; just check out this Slow-Cooker Honey Cinnamon Carrots recipe by Five Heart Home if you need any convincing.
4. Creamed Spinach
Some mothers experience anemia during pregnancy and postpartum, and certain studies have shown that low iron levels can result in a low milk supply. Spinach is loaded with iron, and this decadent Crock-Pot creamed spinach recipe by A Spicy Perspective will help you up your spinach intake without... well, feeling like you're just eating a ton of spinach.
5. Slow-Cooker Barley & Chickpea Risotto
This recipe for Slow-Cooker Barley & Chickpea Risotto by Foxes Love Lemons is a double whammy when it comes to breastfeeding. “Barley is the richest dietary source of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to increase prolactin [known as the breastfeeding hormone] levels in both humans and animals,” Alicia Simpson, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and registered dietician, told Today's Parent. Plus, chickpeas are packed with protein, fiber, and minerals.
6. Crock-Pot Creamy Asparagus Soup
Asparagus is often recommended for nursing moms thanks to its Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and fiber, making this Crock-Pot Creamy Asparagus Soup from The Family Freezer a wonderful meal to prep and keep on hand. However, keep in mind that asparagus can potentially cause gas in babies, according to Parents, so keep your eyes peeled for any signs of discomfort.
7. Vegetarian Crockpot Stew
8. Slow Cooked Salmon
"There's no such thing as a perfect food. But salmon is pretty close to it when it comes to a nutritional powerhouse for new moms," states WebMD. "EFAs and Omega-3 fatty acids, like what’s found in salmon, are thought to give your milk supply a boost even though they are not technically considered a galactagogue," explains Just Mommies. "Essential fatty acids are a key component in breast milk. Naturally, having more EFAs available will allow mom to produce fattier, more nutritious, breast milk." This lazy, foolproof recipe for slow-cooked salmon from Steamy Kitchen makes it easy for new moms to eat their salmon and get all of its valuable benefits.
9. Spiced Chickpea Smothered Sweet Potato
We already know chickpeas are great for lactation, but eat them in these Spiced Chickpea Smothered Sweet Potatoes by Good Life Eats and they're even better. In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers noted that inadequate levels of vitamin A could negatively impact a breastfeeding mother's milk supply, and a cup of sweet potatoes is packed with nearly 400 percent of a normal person's daily recommended vitamin A.
10. Slow-Cooker Candied Almonds
11. Crock-Pot Tuscan White Bean & Lemon Soup
I'm well aware how good kale is for me, but there's a limit on how many kale salads I can eat. This Crock-Pot Tuscan White Bean & Lemon Soup from Half Baked Harvest is a sneaky way to sneak in a few servings of kale, which is chock full of vitamins, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants that nursing moms need. The carrots and cannelloni beans are cherries on top!
12. Crock-Pot Sweet Potatoes
The best thing about sweet potatoes is that they can basically be a canvas for whatever type of meal you're craving. Keep it simple or spice it up with a ton of toppings – it's up to you. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals will teach you how to prepare Crock-Pot sweet potatoes, and it doesn't get easier than that. Their versatility ensures you won't get sick of them, which is excellent for moms eating them regularly.
13. Ultimate Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
There's something ultra comforting about a warm pot roast, and it's even better after a long night up waking up with a baby. This slow-cooker pot roast recipe by Dinner then Dessert is great for breastfeeding moms, thanks to the beef. As previously mentioned, a nursing woman's iron supply can affect her milk supply, and beef is a delicious, iron-rich food to work into your diet to make sure you're getting plenty.
14. Slow-Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs
Pasta is always a good idea, and it's a great idea when you're breastfeeding. The key is to use whole grain pasta, as whole grains are "thought to have properties that support the hormones responsible for making breast milk," according to Very Well Family. Incorporate whole grain spaghetti into this slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs recipe by That's What Che Said, and you'll have a full tummy and baby.
15. Crock-Pot Sweet Tangy Carrots
I had to include another carrots recipe, simply because they're such a popular food amongst breastfeeding moms. This recipe for Sweet Tangy Carrots by Recipes That Crock is guaranteed to make you enjoy eating your veggies.