What is a lactogenic diet?

If you’re a breastfeeding mum or you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, you’ll surely be interested in the ideas behind a ‘lactogenic diet’.

What is a lactogenic diet?

If you haven’t already come across such a diet; lactogenic foods contain lactation-promoting properties, which, along with frequent feeding or expressing can up your milk supply.

Lactogenesis – the process of making breast milk – requires two hormones, prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin comes from blood and oxytocin is stimulated by a baby’s suckling. Lactogenic foods help breast milk supply by promoting prolactin; meat, eggs, dairy, certain vegetables, nuts, legumes and a small group of herbs are foods are attributed with properties able to increase the level of prolactin in our bloodstream.

Breast milk is also comprised from the food eaten by breastfeeding mums, which is why it is important to eat a healthy diet.

Two food types that are important for any baby’s development, the nourishing effects of which can be transmitted in breast milk, are essential fatty acids (that nurture brain development) and coconut oil (which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial).

According to the lactogenic diet, there are also foods to avoid if breastfeeding (anti-lactogenic foods) – foods that might decrease milk supply; the likes of caffeine, citrus foods and certain herbs.

The diet should be complemented with regular feeding or expressing, to significantly boost milk supply.

For more detail – what foods to eat or avoid, and the ins and outs of breast milk production – “Contented Calf: Nourishing Recipes for Breastfeeding Mums” by mum-of-two Elena Cimelli and food writer Jassy Davis is a great read, with lactogenic inspired recipes for breastfeeding mums and loads of information regarding the diet itself. Visit Contentedcalf.com for further info.