For years, breastfeeding moms have been told to eat more oatmeal and other foods — like fenugreek, garlic, and nuts — in the hopes that it will increase and promote a healthy milk supply. These foods, called galactagogues, are thought to help lactating mothers make more milk by stimulating the milk producing hormone prolactin. According to Very Well, oats are one of the oldest galactagogues in the book, but does eating oatmeal help with breast milk production? Or is it just an old wives tale?
According to Belly Belly, oatmeal contains saponins, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and also impact the milk making hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. Similarly, Very Well stated that oats also contain Beta-glucan, a fiber that is believed to raise levels of prolactin — the hormone responsible for producing breast milk.
Aside from the lactational benefits, oats are packed with nutrients that nursing moms need to stay healthy. According to Parenting, oats contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and proteins, as well as soluble iron. Low iron levels can decrease your milk supply, so eating oatmeal, in it's many forms, does you more favors than one.
If you'd like to implement oats into your diet but aren't overly excited about the thought of eating a boring bowl of oatmeal every morning for breakfast, try getting creative with the way you cook them. Lactation cookies are a popular choice for nursing moms because they can be literally packed with necessary nutrients in one simple cookie.
Regardless of how you choose to eat your oats, they'll work wonders on your supply. You may not notice a dramatic increase right away, but over time, it should improve your supply and the nutrients inside your milk. You already know how hungry breastfeeding makes you — why not fill up on foods that will increase your supply and satisfy your food cravings in one fell swoop?