One of the best things about having a baby is experiencing all of the holidays with them. One of the best things about having a breastfed baby? Experiencing all of the holiday food you want because you know you need nourishment to make breast milk. OK, you should enjoy eating no matter what. But at Thanksgiving, it's especially nice to know that all of that yummy food is helping you give your baby the nutrients they need. Even if you're battling production issues, you can pile your plate with the Thanksgiving dish that can help your milk supply and feel even prouder of your amazing bod.
OK, here's a disclaimer — there's no exact science to eating certain foods to increase your milk supply. According to Parents, while it doesn't hurt to try a few things, there hasn't been a lot of research to prove that the old wives' tales about food helping your milk supply are true. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, you were probably going to eat this food anyway, right? So if there's even a slight chance it could help increase your milk supply, why not go for it?
According to Kelly Mom, the most efficient way to increase your milk supply is to make sure you're removing as much milk as possible from your breasts. Whether you're nursing more frequently or pumping, you have to remove milk to make milk. So if your supply is low, no food is going to be the savior you want for your production. But combined with frequent nursing and/or pumping, you stand a good chance at increasing your supply.
So what dish should you have an extra serving or two to potentially increase your milk supply? Gimme Some Oven's roasted butternut, sausage, and fennel stuffing.
I know, stuffing is stuffing, right? But for your breast milk supply, the fennel is an especially important ingredient on your Thanksgiving table. According to Kelly Mom, fennel has been considered a galactagogue for some time. But who knew you could enjoy it in a dish made for Thanksgiving, right? One study even found that when breastfeeding mothers were given an infusion of fennel seeds, their milk's volume and fat content increased some. There are too many variables to consider fennel as something that definitely increases your milk, but again, it doesn't hurt to try.
Another benefit to this stuffing for your milk supply — butternut squash. According to nutrition data, one cup of butternut squash has seven percent iron, which can also keep up your milk production. One study found that there was a correlation between anemia and insufficient milk, which often led to early weaning or breastfeeding troubles with anemic moms.
(It's also worth noting that this recipe contains sage. According to Kelly Mom, sage in large quantities has reportedly decreased a mother's milk supply, so while you're probably safe, if you want to omit the herb altogether, go for it.)
Even if this recipe isn't a magic trick to kick your supply up, it's still a delicious stuffing, full of great vitamins and nutrients, and would be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. Give it a try, add an extra pumping or nursing session in, and see if it helps. Remember, if you continue to have low milk supply issues, reach out to your lactation consultant for guidance.