If you’ve done any research on foods that boost lactation, you’ve probably read that oatmeal is often recommended. For this reason, I have oatmeal every day for breakfast! I have a few things I add to it to make it extra “milky,” and I have quite the little system for preparing the oatmeal ahead of time that I’ll share with you!
First, I’ve read that old-fashioned oats are better than the quick variety for lactation, so I start with those. Oats are considered a galactagogue (my new favorite word – it means something that increases lactation) because they contain a lot of iron and fiber. In addition, they are full of healthy calories, something nursing moms need a lot of. It’s also said that since oatmeal is a warm comfort food, that can promote relaxation, and therefore encourage let down. To my oatmeal, I add ground flax seed and brewer’s yeast for even more of a boost. Brewer’s yeast a great source of B vitamins, which are essential to women’s health, and provides a boost of energy and increased sugar metabolism. (Women have claimed for years that having a beer has a positive impact on lactation, so there you go.) Flax seeds are chock full of fiber and omega 3s, again, both of which are also essential to nursing moms’ health. Omega 3s not only improve milk quality and hopefully quantity, but also boost brain function, memory, joint lubrication, and help to regulate hormones and decrease postpartum depression. Ground or milled flax seed can be found readily in most grocery stores now, but brewer’s yeast can be more of a challenge to get a hold of. I found it in the bulk bins at a small health food store we have in town, and it’s really inexpensive! Some people mix brewer’s yeast and drink it as a supplement. I have tried this, and if you have any kind of gag reflex, I would not recommend it. I can tolerate a lot, but it was pretty bad. So when you put it in food, you kind of have to be careful that you do not overdo it or the flavor will suffer.
For added flavor in my oatmeal, I always add two different kinds of chopped dried fruits before I cook it to allow the fruit rehydrate, along with some fresh berries afterwards if we have any. But that is obviously variable to your taste. I mix it up between dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots (which are also said to be good for lactation!), apples, and bananas (which I add after cooking so they don’t get soggy). And you can’t forget the cinnamon and salt. You must have salt! It might sound weird, but it’s bland without it.
As you can imagine, by the time you add all of these extra things to the oatmeal, it can be very time consuming. Not to mention the whopping three minutes it takes to nuke the old-fashioned oats. So, this is where my super secret storage system comes into play. I get regular old sandwich baggies, and fill about 10 at a time with all the makings of my oatmeal concoction (except the brewer’s yeast – I don’t freeze that because I’m not sure if the freezing process damages the yeast) and them store them in the freezer. Then, all I have to do in the morning is empty a packet into a bowl, add the water, cook it, and then add the fresh fruit and some honey. So much quicker and more convenient!
So that’s the basic framework for my lactation oatmeal, but feel free to mix things up to make it your own!
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 teaspoons ground flax seed
- ½ teaspoon brewers yeast
- pinch of salt
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (to your taste)
- 1 cup water
- 0 to 4 Tablespoons of milk (to your desired consistency)
- 1-2 teaspoons of honey (or any sweetener you like)
Optional add ins:
- dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots, apples, bananas
- fresh fruit
Add oats, flax seed, salt, cinnamon, and dried fruit (or your pre-packaged packet) to a microwave safe bowl. Add brewer’s yeast and 1 cup of water and stir. Microwave on high for three minutes. For best results, stir every minute for more even cooking and a creamier consistency. Stir in honey, nuts, and milk until you reach your desired consistency.