"Galacta-what?" you may have thought when you read the title above. Or maybe you didn't. In which case, this post's for you! Galactagogues are substances that naturally promote breast milk production.
I'm currently breastfeeding, and I've been eating a few foods that have seemed to help. Here they are, in case you're breastfeeding too or know someone who is.
I decided to write this post when I recently whipped up an old favorite for a few days' worth of easy lunches: Faith's Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic.
After two days of lunching on this, I noticed an increased milk supply (I'm currently nursing my three-month-old daughter). Then I put two and two together: cumin seeds are supposed to be a galactagogue! So is garlic! Now, the recipe also includes mint, which supposedly decreases milk supply, but clearly the cumin seed won out in this case.
Galactagogues are generally herbs or foods like these that, when ingested, increase a lactating mother's milk supply. They're often taken in supplement form or teas, but you can consume them as really delicious prepared foods, too!
Galactagogues and their milk-promoting functions generally aren't scientifically proven, but instead are used because of anecdotal evidence passed on from mother to mother. That's what I'm doing here — I'm no scientist, but I am a mother with a few years' worth of nursing experience sharing what I've learned.
Foods Considered to Be Galactagogues
Here are some foods that are considered to be galactagogues:
- Whole grains, especially oatmeal
- Dark, leafy greens (alfalfa, kale, spinach, broccoli)
- Nuts and seeds, especially almonds
- Spices like cumin seeds, anise seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric
Recipes with Galactagogues
No matter how effective supposed galactagogues are for specific nursing mothers, eating these whole foods, especially such tasty and nutritious ones, is a probably a lot more fun than taking supplements or drinking teas. Plus, everyone in your household can enjoy them too.
Here are some delicious recipes from our archives right here at The Kitchn with ingredients that have been proven to work for me and many others:
Do you have any galactagogue-inclusive recipes that are tried-and-true for you? Please add to my list in the comments below!