Call me crazy, but even before we brought Fischer home, I had researched lactation snacks to boost milk production for breastfeeding. See, I’m a proud member of the “itty-bitty titty committee,” and for some reason, it made me think that I would have a hard time producing enough milk naturally. I know, I know…[insert eye roll here].
For the first month or so, my milk production seemed fine (in fact, production was overwhelming!). I was eating well with all the food that friends and family had graciously provided us. My wonderful husband made me food whenever I got hungry and constantly refilled my HUGE water bottle. After six weeks, my husband returned to work, and at first, everything seemed okay. But then it changed.
I started to notice that I wasn’t producing as much milk and that Fischer seemed hungrier. I also couldn’t pump AND nurse, which had been the norm since we started. Strangely, however, when my husband would come home, he’d fix me dinner and snacks, and throughout the night, my milk supply would be fine. It didn’t take long to recognize the correlation between how often I was eating and my supply. It was hard to find the time to cook a meal, much less feed myself snacks throughout the day! I could barely put Fischer down long enough.
I thought back to all of my research and remembered the different foods I had found that would help production. With that information in mind, I made small snacks that I could grab easily OR would take less than 5 minutes to prepare. It wasn’t long before the milk machine was back up and running smoothly!
So, today I’m sharing some easy-peasy lactation snacks that will hopefully help you maintain or boost your milk supply!
Easy Lactation Snacks for On-the-Go
Nuts are some of the best snacks you can eat during breastfeeding to help boost supply. Cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts are at the top of the list. While it’s certainly easy to grab a can of nuts, I like to make things a little more interesting by throwing together an easy trail mix. This keeps things interesting with different flavors and textures, and you can keep it in individual bags so you can easily grab one. Perfect for when you’re on the go (other great options are nut-based bars, like Kind bars).
The image above shows a trail mix with Skinny Pop White Cheddar popcorn, mini dark chocolate chips, cajun spiced almonds, and roasted pumpkin seeds.
2. Whole Grains
Grains are multi-purpose during breastfeeding! Not only do they provide excellent nutrients and minerals for you and the little one, but they can also keep your gut “regular.” Try incorporating quinoa or barley into your lunch by pre-making healthy salads. Or use it as a base for a meal at dinner time when you might have someone at home helping you prepare. In the meantime, an easy, go-to snack is something like brown rice cakes and a spread! I like these thin stackers with crunchy peanut butter. Since almonds are known for boosting milk production, using almond butter is even better!
Getting enough protein is incredibly important to maintaining or boosting your milk supply. It’s one of the reasons my supply dipped. Instead of eating protein-packed snacks throughout the day, I was grabbing carbs. If you can spare a few minutes, try blending up a protein smoothie. You can easily portion out the ingredients in advance and keep them stocked in your fridge or pantry. I like using Juice Plus smoothie mix because it is plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, and packed with protein.
Throw in some fresh berries, spinach (a famous milk-boosting food!), nutritional yeast, flax meal, or chia seeds. The options are limitless! Or one of my favorite snacks/lunches that are also easy to prepare ahead of time and portion out is a protein plate!
Chickpeas: La Leche league lists legumes as one of its go-to’s for protein and fiber! Snack on roasted, savory chickpeas with this recipe from popsugar.com, or include a dollop of hummus on your plate. I’ve also included turkey roll-ups, Italian spiced olives, and Irish cheddar cheese because dairy is also important for boosting milk production.
As I mentioned above, spinach is lactogenic because it is full of folate and phytoestrogens, which promote healthy breast tissue and lactation. Also, as mentioned before, it’s something easy to throw into a smoothie (you’ll never taste it, I promise). Or pre-make a spinach salad like this grilled chicken, spinach, and balsamic dressing recipe from skinnytaste.com. Even if you’ve got a baby in your lap, it only takes one hand to eat a salad!
While many other veggies like asparagus and green beans are also known to be lactogenic, they aren’t necessarily something you’ll grab out of the fridge and snack on. That’s where carrots come to the rescue! Like spinach, they’re also nutrient-dense, and you can throw them into a veggie (or even fruit) smoothie, juice them (add in ginger for an extra nutrient boost), or just include them in your protein plate with hummus. Easy, easy snack and one that most people don’t realize can help with lactation. If you have a juicer, here’s a great recipe for a carrot, ginger, kale, and lemon juice from Deliciously Ella.
Okay, I’m not sure I can sing the praises of oats enough when it comes to boosting supply. They are full of healthy carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vital nutrients, and minerals. You really should make them your best friend while nursing. I even like to gift new mommas with a few different varieties of granola when I visit them for the first time after baby is born. Granola is one great option for getting this delicious little grain. I like the Kind brands because they are so flavorful! It’s also an excellent base for trail mix! Another great option is oatmeal for a quick and easy breakfast. You can add fresh fruit, nutritional yeast, and chia seeds to pack even more nutrients into your meal.
BUT. My favorite way to snack on oats is with No-Bake Protein Balls. I adapted my recipe from Jaclyn at Cooking Classy because I wanted to make a few slight changes to make these delicious little bites even more potent.
Jaclyn’s recipe called for creamy peanut butter, but I used crunchy peanut butter to add another texture. In place of peanut butter, I would use Almond butter for the added benefit during nursing. She also uses 1/3 cup honey, but I added a smidgen more because I found the balls held together easier. I also used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate because “they” say dark chocolate is heart-healthy! I also added chia seeds with the flax meal and threw in some cinnamon because I.Love.Cinnamon.
In the image above, we have raw honey from a local farm (which helps with allergies!) Bob’s Redmill Gluten-Free Oats, Earth Balance Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter, Bob’s Redmill Ground Flax Meal, Simple Truth Organic Chia Seeds, Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips, Simple Truth Vanilla Extract.
Once you’ve measured out all the ingredients, combine the peanut butter (or almond butter) + honey + vanilla extract. Once you’ve mixed them well, add the dry goods, oats + flax/chia + chocolate chips + cinnamon. Stir until evenly coated but DO NOT use your hands to do this…trust me.
Once everything is mixed well, you can either put the mixture into the fridge for an hour or, if you’re impatient (like me), place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This helps everything set and makes it easier to form the little balls.
Place in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container when finished.
No-Bake Protein Balls are super easy to make, and you can do multiple batches to freeze for a while. They’re also a great snack to make for a new mommy-friend, just a little something she can keep in her arsenal for those days when baby just won’t put up with being put down!
Hopefully, you’ll find these lactation snacks as easy, delicious, and filling as I did. I’d love to hear if you tried any of them and noticed a difference in your milk supply or any adaptations you made! Happy nursing!