From the Nutritionist: Foods to Ensure Breast Milk Supply

Foods to Ensure Breast Milk Supply

Oh no, are you worried that you are not producing enough milk for your baby? You are certainly not alone, as there are a lot of mothers who are in the same boat as you. While the low milk production can be caused by various reasons, there are also a few factors you can work with which might change the results for you!

The thing is, so many mothers are concerned during the first few weeks of postpartum that they are unable to produce enough breastmilk supply for their babies, which can cause much anxiety and often discourage them from continuing breastfeeding.

This is often due to unrealistic expectations of infant behaviour. Breastfeeding is crucial for human survival, and most mothers can produce up to one-third more capacity than what is needed by their infants.

To recover from delivery and to have successful breastfeeding, you should consume a well-balanced diet with sufficient calories and nutrients to meet your postpartum needs. Families who are unable to cook during the period can engage commercial confinement food caterers such as Tian Wei Signature.

On top of a balanced diet, there are some foods that have traditionally been used to ensure a stable supply of breast milk. They are known as galactagogues, and below are some of them:


Drinking Water

Water consumption is important for lactation. You can easily get dehydrated when you are busy and distracted by your child, and this can decrease your milk production.

To ensure sufficient fluid consumption, mothers should always have water bottles with them and drink them up during breastfeeding. They can also go for other unsweetened beverages such as red date tea or any other lactation tea Singapore moms normally go for, but it is important to minimise consumption of sweetened drinks for weight management and avoid excessive intake of caffeinated beverages to prevent irritation and disruption of sleep patterns to the baby. They should also consume more foods with high water content, such as fruit & vegetables.


Fenugreek is one of the most common foods consumed during lactation. It contains a significant level of phytoestrogen that is long believed to result in milk-boosting effects.

Fenugreek is also one of the most studied food ingredients as a galactagogue. Although contradictory, researchers find that the consumption of fenugreek would stimulate sweat production. Since mammary glands are a modified version of a sweat gland, mammary glands are stimulated more to produce breast milk!

It is generally classified as safe to consume during lactation, but it is recommended to talk with a doctor, especially before consuming these in the form of supplements, especially for patients with heart disease or nut and legume allergies. Fenugreek should also be avoided during pregnancy as it may cause uterine contractions.

Some popular dishes are Lemongrass Fenugreek Braised Fish Fillet and Fenugreek Green Papaya Milky Fish Soup.


Barley is the world’s fourth most important cereal crop. It is a great source of the dietary fibre component of beta-glucan, which has been shown to increase the levels of the breastfeeding hormone prolactin.

Barley is a good source of dietary fibre, which helps in weight management. Wholegrain barley is also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which make it a nutritious food ingredient. Barley has also been shown in scientific studies to reduce the risk of diseases by reducing blood cholesterol and controlling blood glucose levels. Having barley during breastfeeding is great not only for you but also for your little one! 


Similar to barley, oats have a high concentration of beta-glucan present. Unique compared to other common grains, the bran and germ of oats are not removed during processing thus, all oats products in the market are whole grain.

Oats are commonly consumed at breakfast and are famous for their traditionally known lactogenic properties, and it is also the main ingredient of lactation cookies. Other whole grains that are high in beta-glucan include whole wheat and brown rice.

Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a by-product of beer brewing, and dried brewer’s yeast is commonly used as a dietary supplement. It is high in B vitamins, chromium, protein, iron and selenium. While there are limited studies on the usage of brewer’s yeast as a lactogenic food, it is commonly recommended during lactation and added to lactation snacks.

However, the super bitter taste of brewer’s yeast can readily enter breast milk, which may cause fussiness in some infants. Stating the obvious but needs to be said, Beer and other alcoholic drinks containing brewer’s yeast should also be avoided for breastfeeding mothers, as research has shown that alcohol consumption can inhibit milk production despite being traditionally promoted for breastfeeding.


The inclusion of the common herb garlic in the mother’s diet can change the taste of breast milk. This has been shown to encourage some babies to suckle more, which promotes milk production.


Ginger is a common ingredient used in many Southeast Asian cuisines. Chinese cuisine is no stranger to this ingredient as well. According to TCM, ginger is warm in nature and helps to dispel wind. It is deemed one of the core food ingredients to eat during confinement.

So, how is it lactogenic? The warming effect you feel after consuming ginger is actually the effect of gingerol on your blood vessels widening and allowing more blood flow. When this happens in the breast tissue, increased blood flow stimulates the mammary glands in the breast tissue to produce more breast milk.

Ginger is given every day on the menu. Some of the popular dishes on our menu that include ginger are Braised Pork Trotter in Black Vinegar, Stir-Fried Pork and Kidney with Ginger and Sesame Oil, and Brown Rice Vermicelli with Shredded Ginger.  


Fennel is one of the most studied food ingredients for its lactogenic properties. We all know that breast milk supply is influenced by levels of prolactin in a mother’s body. It is also known that hormones like dopamine, which are secreted when you are stressed, have inhibitory effects on the secretion of prolactin.


Researchers found that consumption of fennel reduces the effects of dopamine, thus allowing the secretion of prolactin to happen and promote breast milk supply. One of the dishes that you can find on our menu is Lemongrass Fenugreek Braised Fish Fillet. 

Green Papaya


Green papaya is one of the holy grails of all lactogenic ingredients, especially the famous soup Fenugreek Green Papaya Milky Fish Soup as deemed by many Asian grandmothers, mothers-in-law and aunties. Many women swear by it, especially on this side of the world, in Singapore and Malaysia. Good news – we serve this milk-boosting soup on our menu, too!

Researchers studied it and theorised that its possible potential to support breast milk supply is due to saponin and alkaloids. These two phytochemicals seem to affect prolactin and oxytocin levels, which are involved in breast milk production. Alkaloids are found to particularly stimulate the smooth muscles around the mammary glands, expressing breastmilk.


Interestingly, most lactogenic foods recommended are herbs and vegetables for confinement. This is in line with many current research discussions where mummies should be obtaining adequate fibre from fruit, vegetables, and herbs, which would help to build a healthier overall gut and immune system.

With so many references online on confinement food Singapore review, the above are some of the tips to look out for as you choose a confinement menu that suits your needs. Tian Wei Signature 4 4-week menu encompasses all the lactogenic ingredients above frequently to support mummies’ breast milk supply as well as her own nutritional status.

Having an established breast milk supply is just as important as maintaining a mummy’s health while breastfeeding and a speedy recovery after childbirth. Check out Tian Wei Signature’s foods, where we provide both fusion and traditional dishes to keep you excited and our food enjoyable throughout your confinement month.