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Article Gapianne sur les aliments favorisant la lactation pour l'allaitement
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Galactogenic foods to stimulate lactation

Lactation, a process that is both natural and complex, plays a crucial role in the postnatal period, both for the health of the newborn and the well-being of the mother. In this context, the diet of the breastfeeding mother is of particular importance. Among the many strategies adopted to support and improve breast milk production , the incorporation of galactogenic foods into the daily diet stands out. These foods, renowned for their ability to stimulate lactation , are increasingly popular both by health professionals and by mothers themselves.

In this article we tell you everything about galactogenic foods and we give you lots of exclusive advice! Good reading

Lactation, an important process

Lactation is a natural process when a woman gives birth , it is also very important for the health of the newborn. Let's look at this together.

What is lactation?

Let's quickly remember what lactation is! Lactation is a natural and vital process that usually begins after childbirth. It is quite simply the ability of the woman's body to produce milk to nourish her child.

This process is regulated by hormones, such as prolactin and oxytocin, which stimulate the mammary glands to produce and release milk. The first milk, called colostrum, is important because it is particularly rich in nutrients and antibodies which are essential elements for strengthening the newborn's immune system. This is why breastfeeding your child is recommended by health professionals.

Why is this an important process?

As we have just seen, lactation is important for the baby's nutritional intake, but not only that. It also strengthens the emotional bond between mother and child. The amount of milk produced adapts to the baby's demand, and a balanced diet and good hydration of the mother are crucial to maintain healthy lactation. This natural process plays a key role in the baby's early development and overall health.

So-called “galactogenic” foods stimulate lactation

So what is the relationship between lactation and galactogenic foods?

First of all, what are galactogenic foods?

We have just seen what lactation is, now let's look together at what so-called “galactogenic” foods are.

Galactogenic foods are foods or herbs that are known to stimulate breast milk production in lactating women. They contain nutrients that can help boost milk production, although the effectiveness of these foods may vary from person to person.

How do they help stimulate lactation?

Milk-forming foods work in different ways to increase breast milk production. Here's how they can act:

  • Regulate hormones: Some of these foods may influence the levels of hormones involved in lactation, such as prolactin. For example, fenugreek is believed to increase levels of prolactin, the hormone primarily responsible for stimulating the mammary glands to produce milk.
  • Improve health: Good nutrition is essential for effective lactation. Milk-forming foods are often nutritious and can help improve the mother's overall health, which, in turn, can contribute to better milk production.
  • Hydrate and provide calories: Lactation requires adequate hydration and sufficient calories. Some galactogenic foods, like oats or almonds, are high in calories and can help meet these increased needs.
  • Contain phytoestrogens: Some of these foods contain phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that act similarly to human estrogens. These phytoestrogens play a role in stimulating lactation.
  • Improve blood circulation: Certain lactogenic foods can improve blood circulation, including to the mammary glands, which could potentially increase milk production.

The 12 main galactogenic foods

Now that we've seen how these foods work to stimulate milk supply, let's look at what you can eat to produce more breast milk. Here are 13 foods that promote lactation.

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Herbs and spices

  • Fenugreek

The first food known to stimulate lactation in breastfeeding women is fenugreek. It is an herbaceous plant that contains phytoestrogens in its seeds. Remember, phytoestrogens are plant substances that mimic human estrogens, and which can influence hormones linked to lactation, including prolactin, the key hormone in stimulating the mammary glands for milk production.

Fenugreek is also known for its beneficial effects on blood sugar regulation and metabolism, which can indirectly promote better overall health and, therefore, more efficient lactation.

  • Fennel

Fennel is also an interesting food to stimulate lactation. The main reason lies in its phytoestrogen content.

Fennel also has digestive properties, which helps relieve gastrointestinal disorders in both mother and baby. This may indirectly promote an environment more conducive to effective lactation.

In addition, its richness in nutrients can help improve the overall health of the mother which is an important factor for healthy lactation.

  • Cumin

Cumin is also often cited as a natural remedy to stimulate lactation in new mothers. This is due to its richness in iron and calcium, essential elements for the health of breastfeeding mothers and the development of their babies.

Cumin also contains various phytochemicals that can help increase milk production.

The cereals

  • Oats

Oats are often recommended to nursing mothers for several reasons. It is rich in iron, a mineral crucial for milk production. In particular, oats help prevent anemia, a condition that can weaken breast milk production.

Additionally, oats are also believed to stimulate the production of oxytocin, a hormone essential for lactation. Considered a natural galactogogue, oats could promote an increase in milk production through its influence on prolactin levels, another important hormone for lactation.

In addition to these hormonal effects, oats are nutritious. It offers essential proteins, vitamins and minerals, thereby supporting the overall health of the mother.

  • Barley

We also have barley which is recognized for its galactagogue properties. It could play a beneficial role in stimulating lactation. Its richness in beta-glucans, a form of soluble fiber, is particularly interesting because these compounds are known to promote the production of prolactin, a key hormone in lactation.

At the same time, barley contributes to better hydration, a crucial factor for the production of breast milk, especially when consumed in the form of drinks such as non-alcoholic beer or barley water.

Barley also provides essential nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc, which support general health and may indirectly promote lactation.

  • Flax seeds

A food that can also be included is flax seeds . These seeds are rich in fatty acids, especially omega-3, which can contribute to milk production. Omega-3s are important for baby's brain and eye development.

They are also a good source of fiber and can help regulate hormones, including those involved in milk production. The presence of phytoestrogenic compounds could also play a role in increasing lactation.

  • Sesame seeds

To produce more milk, there are also sesame seeds . They contain essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, which are crucial for hormonal health and can support better breast milk production.

Sesame seeds are also a good source of calcium, an important mineral for nursing mothers and their babies. They contain lignans, which have phytoestrogenic properties.

Furthermore, sesame seeds are rich in protein, essential for milk production. And they provide B vitamins, particularly niacin, folate, riboflavin, and thiamine, which are important for overall health and can help support the lactation process.

  • The almonds

Almonds, like other nuts and seeds, are often considered beneficial for lactation due to their high content of protein, calcium, and essential fatty acids, which can contribute to a healthy diet. A balanced diet rich in nutrients is important for breastfeeding mothers because it can help maintain good milk production.

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Fruits and vegetables

  • Papaya

As another interesting food we have papaya which is rich in essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin A and calcium which are important for general health and could indirectly support lactation.

Papaya contains digestive enzymes like papain, which can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Good digestion is crucial for optimal nutrient absorption, which can benefit milk production.

Additionally, papaya is rich in water and fiber, which helps maintain proper hydration and gut health, both important for breastfeeding mothers.

  • Spinach

As for spinach, it is considered a beneficial food for stimulating lactation mainly due to its nutrient compounds that can positively influence milk production in lactating mothers.

Among the key elements, the phytoestrogens present in spinach play a significant role. By modulating hormonal activity, phytoestrogens can help stimulate milk production.

Additionally, the abundant iron in spinach contributes to the mother's overall health, including preventing anemia, a factor that can negatively affect milk production. Good iron content ensures adequate supply of oxygen and essential nutrients throughout the body, including the mammary glands, thereby facilitating lactation.

There is also the magnesium found in spinach which helps improve the mother's sleep quality, a crucial aspect for healthy milk production, as stress and fatigue can reduce the amount of milk produced.

Preventing and finding solutions to postpartum fatigue

  • Kale

You can also add kale to your diet to promote lactation. It is rich in calcium, iron and vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. These nutrients play a key role in the mother's overall health, which can indirectly promote better milk production.

It also contains phytoestrogens, which can have a positive effect on lactation.

Kale is also rich in fiber and antioxidants, which are beneficial for the mother's digestive and general health, contributing to better overall well-being, an important factor for effective lactation.

Also read: Find your pre-pregnancy belly

Supplements

  • Beer yeast :

Brewer's yeast is often recommended to promote lactation , due to its beneficial nutritional properties. Rich in B vitamins, proteins, and essential minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium, brewer's yeast can help improve the nutritional quality of breast milk. These nutrients are vital for infant development and maternal health.

Additionally, brewer's yeast contains polysaccharides that can stimulate the production of prolactin, a key hormone in milk production.

Good to know, a good breastfeeding position helps promote lactation

It's not just diet that promotes breast milk production , a good position when breastfeeding is also an important element.

Indeed, a good breastfeeding position is crucial to effectively stimulate lactation, for several reasons.

Firstly, a comfortable and appropriate position helps prevent pain and discomfort for the mother during and after breastfeeding, which can negatively affect milk production. Proper position reduces the risk of problems such as sore nipples, cracked nipples , or blocked milk ducts, which can hinder lactation.

Additionally, when the baby is well positioned, he or she can breastfeed more effectively. A good latch ensures that the baby properly stimulates the nipple and areola, which sends signals to the mother's brain to produce and release more milk. This stimulation is essential to establish and maintain good milk production.

Proper position also helps the baby get enough milk, which is important for development and growth. Effective feeding means the baby empties the breast well, which stimulates more milk production. Indeed, milk production works according to the principle of supply and demand: the more the breast is emptied, the more milk it will produce.

And finally, a good breastfeeding position allows for a more pleasant and relaxing experience for mother and child, thus promoting an emotional bond and a successful breastfeeding routine. A positive and relaxed state of mind in the mother can also contribute to better milk production, as stress can inhibit the release of oxytocin, a hormone necessary for milk letdown.

Other tips for producing more milk

In addition to diet and a good breastfeeding position, here are other tips to promote breast milk production.

  • Frequency of feedings: Breastfeeding or pumping more often helps increase milk production. As we saw later, the more regularly the breast is emptied, the more milk it produces.
  • Breast massage: Gently massaging the breasts before and during breastfeeding can also help stimulate milk flow.
  • Use a breast pump: Between feedings, using a breast pump can help stimulate milk production and maintain demand.

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  • Pay attention to your lifestyle: Avoid the consumption of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco which can

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