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One of a nursing mom’s biggest worries is losing her breast milk supply.
I mean NO ONE wants to start or even feel like they’re making less!
I know from experience what it’s like to worry about not having enough milk to feed the baby or wondering if you’re even making enough to feed the baby.
So like every breastfeeding mom I had to learn about foods that can increase milk supply, looked up lactation recipes, and read about what decreases milk supply when you’re breastfeeding.
And believe or not there are actually some things that can affect your milk supply.
Some things are advised that breastfeeding moms don’t do or eat because it could affect your breast milk and the amount you make.
And like I was saying earlier, NO mom wants her supply to decrease!
Below you’ll find foods and other surprising things that decrease milk supply.
(This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.)
Things That Decrease Milk Supply
Stress can affect a lot of different things, so it doesn’t surprise me that being stressed can possibly reduce your milk supply.
In this article about stress and breastfeeding, it says that not only can stress decrease your milk supply but it can lead to a difficult let-down reflex and early weaning.
Other emotional feelings like being nervous can also cause you to have trouble with the let-down reflex.
Lack of Sleep
Let’s face it.
Being a mom can be exhausting!
And when you’re recovering from birth and taking care of a newborn, you’ll experience a whole new world of tired.
Not getting enough rest may actually affect your milk supply and cause you to produce less.
If you feel like this could be a cause try taking more naps with baby, have your partner or grandma come over and watch the baby (or your older kiddos) for a bit while you rest awhile, or have someone help out with some household duties for you.
I feel like this is something that’s never talked about.
In fact, I didn’t even realize being pregnant would lower my milk production until AFTER I got pregnant!
So if you don’t know this already you need to hear this now…
Pregnancy will not only lower your milk supply but eventually, your supply will COMPLETELY dry up!
Yes, when you become pregnant there will be a point where you won’t be able to make any breast milk at all.
The reason this happens is from those lovely pregnancy hormones.
Typically women start noticing their supply decreasing or gone sometime during the 1st or 2nd trimester.
Now, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do to stop this from happening.
So be mindful of that if you still have a little one who is more reliant on breastmilk.
Smoking could interfere with the hormone, oxytocin, which helps breast milk get released from the breasts.
This means if breast milk isn’t coming out (or not enough is) this could single to your body, “Hey, the baby isn’t eating that much, we should start making less”.
Which in turn could cause you to start producing less.
Taking certain medications can have adverse effects on your milk supply.
Medications with the ingredient, pseudoephedrine, can lower your breastmilk supply.
It is normally found in cold, sinus, and allergy medications.
Certain birth control pills can also affect milk production. These are normally the hormonal ones that contain the hormone, estrogen.
So before taking any medications, make sure that you ALWAYS tell your doctor that you’re breastfeeding and be sure to check the ingredients yourself before taking any.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Did you know that breastmilk is 88% water??
In fact, drinking water is one of the most common and best ways to help your body make more breastmilk!
So be sure to drink plenty of water!
Especially if you’re more on the dehydrated side.
This makes sense.
I mean you need something to make something right?
And if you’re not eating or hardly eating at all, how is your body gonna make milk?
I mean you can’t make it from breathing!
So just remember that you need to be consuming food and water so your body has something to actually turn into breastmilk.
Certain Essential Oils
If you like using essential oils, then you’re one of many many people who do!
Some people even use them daily!
But, if you’re breastfeeding, you may want to stay away from these essential oils as they can make your supply decline.
- Lemon Balm
- Clary Sage
Foods & Drinks that Can Decrease Milk Supply
Using frozen cabbage leaves has been said to help with breast engorgement. In fact, many women use this method to help get some much-needed relief!
But doing it too much could possibly decrease your milk supply.
So be sure to not overdo it!
It’s recommended that women do for 20 minutes and no more than 3 times per day.
Alcohol can cause the let-down reflex to well, not “let down” as well as it should.
And if the body can’t express enough breast milk out properly, it could cause less milk to be made.
Now I know what you’re thinking…
“WHAT NO COFFEE HOW WILL I FUNCTION?!?!”.
Now I’m not saying you can’t have coffee, so you can sit back down and take a nice deep breath.
*breaths in and out*
Alright now drinking coffee is just fine while breastfeeding, but having too much caffeine can possibly cause your body to produce less breast milk.
This may be because consuming large amounts of caffeine can dehydrate you which can cause less boobie milk to be made.
The recommendation is about 1-2 cups of coffee per day if you’re a nursing mom.
Certain herbs used to make teas can cause issues with your milk supply.
Unlike how mother’s milk tea can help promote breast milk production.
So when choosing some yummy teas, be sure to avoid:
- And any teas that contain basil, ephedra, ginseng, aloe, black cohosh, and licorice.
Some teas may also contain caffeine. And as we read from above, too much caffeine may hurt breastmilk production.
Herbs are great for cooking, making teas, and many other things!
But these herbs can actually decrease it instead of increasing it.
Below are the most common ones to stay away from or to avoid in large amounts when you’re nursing.
- Black Walnut
- Herb Robert
Here’s a list of other herbs to avoid as they may be harmful to mom and baby.
Are There Certain Foods that I Should Avoid When Breastfeeding?
Now, these foods won’t necessarily decrease your milk supply, but it’s advised that nursing moms avoid or limit the amount of these certain foods. This is because the baby could be affected by them and could make them upset and irritable.
Most of these are gonna depend on your baby.
All babies are different and won’t have the same sensitivities that others may have.
The best thing you can do is just try it and then listen to your baby.
If you feel like it’s something that you’re eating that’s causing the baby discomfort, try eliminating a food from your diet. They say to do this for 2-4 weeks and see if you notice a difference with the baby.
You may want to consult with the baby’s doctor before you start taking any foods out of your diet as the baby’s fussiness could be caused by something else.
Below you’ll find what common foods that you may want to be mindful of and ones you should just stay away from.
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Fish High in Mercury
Don’t get me wrong, fish has healthy omega-3s that are wonderful for baby’s brain development, but seafood can be high in mercury. Which is a toxic substance that is harmful to babies, kids, and ourselves.
Being exposed to too much of it can lead to negative effects on the brain and nervous system.
Fish that are high in mercury and should be avoided are:
- Bigeye Tuna
- King Mackerel
- Orange Roughy
Some babies have sensitivities to dairy.
In fact, it’s one of the most common allergens for babies!
So when mom eats any kind of dairy product, the baby could end up getting an upset tummy (if they have a sensitivity to it).
Dairy can make baby gassy, give them a bellyache, cause them to cry, and even cause a rash.
I have heard of many moms having this happen to them with their babies, my mom included.
One of my siblings who was exclusively breastfeed was horribly sensitive to dairy.
He cried all the time, had bad tummy pains, was gassy, and got a bad bumpy rash that was red on their face.
And it just wouldn’t go away UNTIL dairy was removed from my mother’s diet.
I love adding garlic to certain meals when cooking!
But did you know garlic has been said to actually flavor a mother’s breastmilk?
Some babies like this new flavor but others may not care for it.
This will obviously just depend on the baby!
Just like how some foods can make us gassy, certain foods can make baby gassy too.
Now being gassy isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes all that gas can cause tummy aches. Which can lead to an upset baby.
I know that I have eaten some gassy foods and ended up with my stomach hurting!
Some common foods that are known to cause gas are:
- Brussel Sprouts
Now, I’m not saying you can’t enjoy these foods and never eat them.
But if the baby is gassy AND is crying/seems more irritable, it could be caused by those beans you ate earlier.
Some babies are just fine with having a little spice to their meal.
But others may not react as well to it and hate it.
If you had a spicy meal and baby seems a little out of sorts, that could be the cause.
This isn’t normally a typical one but I thought I would add it on here because when my baby was a newborn she had a horrible stomach ache from me eating it.
She was not the kind of baby who cried a lot, just when she wanted love or was hungry. You know the typical things.
One night I ate spaghetti, and after a couple of hours, she started crying for 30 minutes non-stop until she fell asleep.
This was NOT normal for her!
So I decided that I would try eliminating tomato sauce (as a couple of people in my family get upset tummies from it as well) and after that night it never happened again.
I suppose it was just too much for her little newborn belly.
Drinking or eating things that contain caffeine may go to your nursing baby.
This could cause the baby to have a harder time sleeping and they could become irritable.
Now I’m not saying you can’t enjoy and have some caffeine, but try and not to consume large amounts of it.
The CDC suggests that a breastfeeding mom’s caffeine intake should be about 300 mg or less per day as it doesn’t typically give the baby jitters or cause fussiness.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to just listen to your body and listen to your baby.
You’re the mom so you’ll know if your supply or baby seems a bit off.
Sometimes babies have sensitivities to foods as well as other things. But if you’ve tried all the things and just can’t figure it out, talk to your baby’s pediatrician and see if it could be food/diet-related (or perhaps something else entirely).
And if you feel like your milk supply is decreasing try doing some things that can increase milk production, see if any of these possible things that decrease milk supply could be the cause, and talking to a lactation consultant may be beneficial as well.
Because sometimes a low milk supply could be caused from improper latching which can lead to difficulty expressing the right amount of milk from the breasts.
Consulting with a breastfeeding specialist never hurts!
(Please keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor, breastfeeding specialist, lactation consultant, or any other kind of medical professional. I am only a Mom who is going off of her own experience and research. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.)
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What foods or other things have you discovered that increase or decrease YOUR milk supply? Are there certain foods you avoid while breastfeeding because the baby is sensitive to them? What are they? Tell me below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!