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Postpartum

Quick and Nutritious Lactation Snacks for Nursing Moms

NEW MODERN MOM

1/12/24

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Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

Text image reading

What Are the Top 5 Foods To Eat While Nursing?

As a nursing mom, taking care of yourself sometimes takes the backseat. It's important to nourish your body with the right foods to ensure you and your baby are getting adequate nutrition and extra calories for postpartum recovery and lactation. If you're on the lookout for tasty lactation snacks or want to try some new lactation snack recipes, you've come to the right place!

In this article, I have rounded up the top five foods that not only taste great but also provide essential nutrients to support your lactation journey. These superfoods are packed with nutrients that boost milk production to ensure you have a sufficient milk supply for your growing baby. First, let's discuss the best foods for lactation.

Oats

Oats are highly recommended by lactation consultants as one of the top foods to support lactation. Oats are packed with iron, which can help fight anemia and keep your milk supply going strong. Plus, they're a great source of fiber, so you'll feel satisfied for longer and have sustained energy throughout the day. But here's the real kicker: oats contain saponins that can actually stimulate hormone production, potentially boosting milk supply. So, not only are oats delicious and versatile, but they're also one of the best snacks you can have while breastfeeding.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are another perfect snack for increasing milk supply. Almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds are specifically known for their lactogenic properties. Rich in calcium and healthy fats, almonds ensure the quality of your breast milk. They're packed with monounsaturated fats, which are an important nutrient for your baby’s development.

Cashews, on the other hand, are an excellent source of magnesium and can help elevate mood, a crucial factor for a smooth and successful breastfeeding journey. Sesame seeds, particularly the black variety, are loaded with calcium and are believed to increase milk supply. Incorporating these nuts and seeds, and even nut butter, into your diet can be as simple as adding them to your oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies.

Brewer's Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is another powerful ingredient often associated with lactation. A byproduct of beer-making, this supplement is rich in B vitamins and iron, nutrients essential for maintaining their energy levels. More importantly, brewer's yeast contains phytoestrogens, plant-based compounds that mimic the functions of estrogen in the body, supporting hormonal balance which is necessary for lactation.

Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are a must-add to your diet if you're a breastfeeding mama. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, leafy greens can boost milk production during the demanding postpartum period. Spinach, for instance, is an excellent source of iron, calcium, and folic acid, which are beneficial for both mother and baby. Kale is rich in Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for your baby's development. Swiss chard is high in Vitamin K and magnesium, which can promote a healthy nervous system in newborns.

Leafy greens can be tossed in salads, added to smoothies, or cooked in soups, making them quite versatile for various healthy lactation snack recipes.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a rich source of essential nutrients such as fiber and folic acid. Most notably, oats and brown rice are rich in iron, protein, and complex carbohydrates, providing sustained energy and satiety for nursing moms. Oats are particularly beneficial due to their high beta-glucan content, a type of fiber known to naturally boost prolactin, the breastfeeding hormone.

Text image listing the top 5 foods while nursing

5 Nutrient-Dense Lactation Snacks You Can Make At Home

Here are five easy and nutritious snacks packed with essential nutrients, boosting milk supply and providing sustained energy for you and your baby.

Lactation Cookies and Bites

Making lactation cookies or bites at home is fun, and easy, and allows you to customize the ingredients to your liking. Plus, you'll have a fresh batch of delicious cookies on hand whenever that craving hits!

Here are some easy, delicious lactation treat recipes:

Apricot almond coconut no-bake bites

Apricot Almond Coconut No-Bake Bites

peanut butter chocolate chip lactation cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

almond joy lactation bites

Almond Joy Lactation Bites

pumpkin spice lactation cookies

Pumpkin Spice Lactation Cookies

gluten-free vegan lactation cookies

Gluten-free Vegan Lactation Cookies

paleo lactation cookies

Paleo Lactation Cookies

Oatmeal Cups

Oatmeal is a versatile snack that can be prepared in minutes or made ahead of time for convenience. Top with your favorite nut butter, pumpkin seeds, or dark chocolate for an extra boost! Here are a few quick and easy oat recipes:

blueberry chia oatmeal bowl

Blueberry Chia Oatmeal

5-minute oatmeal bowl

5-Minute Oatmeal

baked oatmeal with coconut and chocolate chips

Baked Oatmeal

Overnight oats topped with blueberries

Overnight Oats

Smoothies

Smoothies are super easy to make, versatile, and packed with nutrients. They can be whipped up in a jiffy, and you can sip on them throughout the day, ensuring that you stay hydrated and nourished. More importantly, smoothies offer a convenient way to include galactagogues in your diet. Galactagogues are foods known to help increase breast milk supply.

Key ingredients to consider for a lactation smoothie include:

  1. Oats: Full of dietary fiber and known to support milk production.
  2. Spinach: Brimming with iron, calcium, and folic acid, which are essential for your postnatal health.
  3. Almonds: Rich in protein and calcium, they are believed to support lactation.
  4. Flaxseeds and Chia seeds: Both are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for your baby's brain development.
  5. Brewer's Yeast: Often cited as a ‘superfood' for breastfeeding mothers due to its potential to boost milk supply.

Here are a few smoothie recipes that incorporate these ingredients:

Chocolate smoothie topped with banana and peanut butter

Chocolate Smoothie

strawberry banana smoothie

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Easy berry smoothie

Easy Smoothie

Green smoothie

Green Smoothie

Protein-Packed Muffins

Muffins are an awesome lactation snack because they're not only delicious, but they also provide essential nutrients required by breastfeeding moms. When protein-packed, muffins help keep breastfeeding moms energized between meals. You can easily incorporate galactagogues into these muffins, such as oats, ground flax, and brewer's yeast, or fruits, nuts, or chia seeds for an extra nutritional boost.

Here are a few lactation muffin recipes that are both healthy and tasty:

blueberry lactation muffins

Blueberry Lactation Muffins

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

chocolate chip protein muffins

Easy Protein Muffins

chocolate chip lactation muffins

Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins

Avocado and Smoked Salmon Toast

Avocado and smoked salmon toast is an amazing snack for breastfeeding moms, ticking all the boxes. Avocado is packed with healthy fats and fiber and contains a hefty amount of potassium. Smoked salmon is a great source of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, the combination of creamy avocado and richly flavored salmon on a slice of whole-grain toast offers a delicious and satisfying snack that is not only easy to prepare but also incredibly nutritious. Try this Avocado and smoked salmon toast recipe.

Our favorite store-bought lactation snacks

For those hectic days when making homemade lactation cookie bites is just not in the cards, reach for a box of store-bought lactation snacks instead. Some of our favorites include:

  1. Munchkin Milkmakers
  2. Mommy Knows Mini Lactation Cookies
  3. Booby Boons Lactation Cookies
  4. Majka Lactation Bites
  5. Boobie Bar
  6. Lactation Smoothie
store bought lactation snacks

Easy Middle-Of-The-Night Lactation Snacks

When the midnight hunger pangs hit while you're breastfeeding, it's crucial to have quick snack options handy. Trail mix, dried fruit, and protein bars are excellent choices for these middle-of-the-night munchies. They're not only easy to grab in a semi-awake state, but they also provide quick energy and a balanced mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.

Trail Mix

The nuts and seeds in trail mix are rich in essential fatty acids and protein, which are vital for milk production. They also contain significant amounts of fiber and vitamin E. The dried fruits in the mix provide quick energy from their natural sugars and contribute to the overall nutrient density.

Dried Fruit

Packed with various vitamins and minerals, dried fruits like apricots, figs, and dates are excellent lactation snacks. Dried fruit provides the body with quick-digesting energy while its fibers can help with digestion. Some dried fruits like berries are also a good source of phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties.

Protein Bars

High in protein and fiber, protein bars can keep you feeling satisfied for longer by giving you a few extra grams of protein. They provide the energy needed to fuel the body and support milk production. Look for bars with whole food ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, and avoid granola bars with too much added sugar or artificial ingredients. Protein bars are also portable and shelf-stable, making them a convenient snack to place in nursing caddies or by your nursing chair.

Fun Ways To Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is super important for nursing moms because it helps maintain a healthy milk supply. But let's be real, plain water can get a little boring sometimes. Here are some fun and creative ideas to make sure you're getting enough water:

Infused Water

Adding slices of your favorite fruits, vegetables, or herbs to your water can make it more exciting to drink. Try combinations like cucumber and mint, lemon and ginger, or strawberry and basil for a refreshing twist.

Hydration Challenge

Set a daily water goal and challenge yourself to meet it. You can even involve your friends or partner in this challenge to make it more fun and competitive.

Use a Marked Water Bottle

Invest in a water bottle with time markers on it. These bottles are designed to help you drink a certain amount by specific times of the day, making sure you're consistently hydrating throughout the day.

Tasty Herbal Teas

Brewing herbal teas can not only hydrate you but they can also potentially boost your milk supply. Just make sure the teas are caffeine-free and safe for breastfeeding.

Water-Rich Foods

Incorporate water-rich foods into your diet. Fruits like watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges have high water content and can contribute to your hydration while providing essential nutrients.

I have even more breastfeeding snack ideas here. And for more on nursing and postpartum, check out the motherhood section of my blog, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. I can’t wait to hear more about your breastfeeding journey!

Feature image by A_Lein from Getty Images

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