Managing Your Milk

by Katie Saltz

When I was breastfeeding my daughter I wish she had a little fuel gauge on her belly. When she was finished refueling, I could look at her stomach and know for certain that she got enough to eat. That way when she started wailing an hour later, I would know whether or not she was hungry.

Unfortunately, biology has not developed this handy trait for infants and we are left to guess if our newborns are getting enough food from the breast.

Many mothers second-guess if they are producing enough milk for their babies and look for ways to maintain or increase their supply through diet. Doraine Bailey, the Breastfeeding Support Services Program Coordinator at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, had some answers to the questions of how can we manage our milk supply to keep our babies full and happy.

  • Diet can affect milk supply- to some degree. Fenugreek and Milk Thistle (Blessed Thistle) are a few of the herbs proven to help increase milk supply. However the amount a mother may need can seem like a lot- about three caps of Fenugreek three times a day.
  • Oatmeal cookies are a common recipe recommended for nursing mothers because of the fiber. Metamucil, whole grains, fruits and vegetables will have the same benefits.
  • Regardless of special diet, moms should make sure they are getting enough to eat overall to keep up their energy and milk supply. With the needs of a newborn and household, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Keep easy to prepare and eat foods on hand, like granola bars or fresh fruit handy.
  • Sudafed and medicines containing pseudoephedrin can be a culprit in decreased milk. Hormonal birth control, and eating large amounts of sage or parsley food can also have negative affects on your supply.
  • Although there are some ingestable options, the best way to keep up your milk supply is to keep the milk moving, either by breastfeeding or pumping as often as your child needs.

Guidance on breastfeeding questions can be found through La Leche League, Kellymom and