Oatmeal for increasing milk supply

August 3, 2011. Posted in: Supply worries

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

Eating a bowl of oatmeal, if nothing else, is healthy for mom. At best, it may be a simple way to increase milk supply.

Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast each morning is a frequently heard recommendation for increasing milk supply. Although there is no scientific evidence regarding oatmeal and milk supply, oatmeal does seem to work for some. Many working moms have noticed that on the days they eat oatmeal for breakfast, they can pump more milk than on the days they eat something else. In some countries, “traditional wisdom” recommends eating oatmeal as a way to increase milk supply. A number of lactation consultants recommend eating oatmeal as a way to increase supply.

Some possible explanations:

  • Oatmeal is is a good source of iron. It is known that maternal anemia/low iron levels can result in a decreased milk supply, so it makes sense that eating something high in iron might increase milk supply in some women.
  • Oatmeal is a comfort food for many women. Anything that increases relaxation in mom can encourage let-down, and hence also influence milk supply.
  • A use that some of the milk-increasing herbs share is that of decreasing cholesterol levels. Herbs used for both increasing milk production and decreasing cholesterol levels include fenugreek and alfalfa. Oat bran, which is in oatmeal, is also known to help lower cholesterol.
Suggested dosage: One bowl of hot oatmeal (any type) every day. Some moms say that they see an increase in supply when they eat anything made with oats, including instant oatmeal and oatmeal cookies.
Side effects:
  • Oats are not associated with any adverse effects
  • Those with gluten sensitivity (celiac disease) should eat oats with caution
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