Break down any breastfeeding mom's brain and between the sections labeled "Perfect Spot to Breastfeed & Charge My Phone" and "Netflix Shows to Watch While Cluster Feeding" there is a huge, pulsing section dedicated to worrying about her breast milk production. Every day, moms hear about something that is supposed to increase your breast milk production, but do they all work? A lot of them are old wives' tales, but some will make you pause because hey, that sounds easy, like asking, "does eating soup help breast milk production?"
I know — it sounds kind of odd. But KellyMom noted that you have to stay hydrated to make breast milk, so why wouldn't soup help? Every mom is more than willing to chug down a bowl of chicken noodle soup for an increased breast milk supply.
But hold off on grabbing that spoon. It's not quite as simple as eating soup to increase your breast milk production. Although hydration is important for breast milk production, a study found that extra fluids do not increase your supply.
So what gives?
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Kristin Gourley from Lactation Link tells Romper that it's common in Asian cultures for soup to be given to postpartum women, but it's more about warm foods in general, not soup specifically.
Lactation consultant Tera Kelley Hamann agrees with Gourley, noting that no excess fluid increases lactation, but that some moms may find comfort in making soups with added galactagouges, foods that increase breast milk supply, but that there is no research to back up these "lactation soups" as beneficial — it's all anecdotal.
Hamann believes that the theory behind eating soup to increase breast milk production may come from a simple reminder to take care of yourself. If warm soup makes you feel good, relaxed, and comfortable, it may help your breast milk. La Leche League International and Hamman both noted that stress hormones can affect breastfeeding and reduce your supply, so finding ways to relax and chill may aid your breast milk production, but does soup specifically? Not so much.
Eating soup certainly won't hurt, however, so if you're craving some French onion or vegetable beef, by all means, enjoy. But don't expect the soup alone to help your breast milk output. Get plenty of rest, remain stress-free, and hydrate to your thirst to help your supply.