Do Oats Increase Breast Milk?
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Oatmeal has plenty of health benefits. It can make for a nutritious breakfast[1] for nursing mothers in particular and everyone else. It is easy to prepare and very filling, so you might not be hungry for a few hours after such a breakfast.

However, does oatmeal increase breastmilk supply?

The opinions regarding this aspect are split, and there are no scientific studies to prove if oats increase breastmilk supply.

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Do oats increase breast milk?

Do Oats Increase Breast Milk?

According to the School of Medicine and Public Health’s report[2] (University of Wisconsin, Madison) anecdotally mentions that oats and oatmeal increase the breastmilk supply. While there is no clear and consensus view on the relationship between oatmeal and breast milk production, some plausible explanations exist.

One theory is that oatmeal contains high levels of iron, which may be one reason for this association. Conversely, low iron levels can cause a low breast milk supply. Still, it is also noted that even though some women avoid eating spinach due to its high iron content, the requirement for nursing moms does not change.

Regardless of clear scientific evidence in this matter, oatmeal can be a very healthy choice if you are breastfeeding, as it brings plenty of essential nutrients to your diet.

Do Oats Increase Breast Milk? 1

Reasons to believe oats can increase breastmilk supply

Many mothers believe that oats can increase their breastmilk supply, and there are specific reasons for that.

Reasons To Believe Oats Can Increase Breastmilk Supply

A) Traditional wisdom back up this theory

New mothers breastfeeding their babies will receive a lot of recommendations and advice from those with more experience in this area.

  • Part of this traditional wisdom says that oats can increase the breastmilk supply if it is consumed daily.
  • Many mothers claim that when they have oatmeal, they tend to pump more breastmilk compared to the other days.

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B) Oatmeal is rich in iron

Iron deficiency is directly responsible for a low breastmilk supply in nursing mothers.

  • Oats are high in iron[3], so they are perfect for mothers with iron anemia or simply low iron levels. Since oatmeal helps increase iron levels, it makes sense that breastmilk supply will increase as well.
  • While this might not be the norm for all nursing mothers, it is worth trying if you have a low milk supply.
  • If you do have an iron deficiency or anemia, you should also talk to your doctor, as you might need even stronger supplements to keep that under control.

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C) Supplements for lactation decrease cholesterol levels, and so does oatmeal

Many lactation supplements have in common the quality of reducing cholesterol which is linked to increasing milk supply.

  • Oatmeal is known for the same quality, and it might just have the same positive impact on some nursing mothers.
  • If you have a high cholesterol level, replacing your regular breakfast with oatmeal might be a great choice. You will not only increase your breastmilk supply but also keep that cholesterol under control.

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Why should you eat oatmeal in general?

Whether or not oatmeal will increase your breastmilk, it is still beneficial to eat it, especially as a healthy breakfast. Here are the main benefits offered by these delicious grains!

Why Should You Eat Oatmeal in General?

A) Oats are gluten-free

If you are intolerant to gluten or you simply want to avoid it, oats are some of the best gluten-free grains you can enjoy. Nursing moms who are gluten intolerant will benefit significantly from oatmeals. They can use these grains in a wide range of dishes.

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B) Oatmeals are high in all kinds of nutrients

As a breastfeeding mother, you should know how important your diet is for you and your baby.

  • Oatmeal is a breakfast rich in nutrients of all kinds, and you can eat this type of food any other time of the day as well.
  • Oats contain plenty of fiber and carbs but also a higher percentage of protein compared to other grains. Besides that, oats contain dietary fibers, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, folate, vitamin V1, and vitamin BT5 and phosphorus, manganese, and other nutrients.
  • All these nutrients are essential for nursing mothers in particular as they will enrich the breastmilk’s quality.

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C) Oats are a great way to lower high cholesterol and increase iron levels

Oats can lower cholesterol and increase iron levels in your body could be directly linked to their positive impact on breastmilk supply.

  • An iron deficiency can reduce your breastmilk supply. So, if you include oatmeal in your diet and keep your deficiency under control, you might notice an increase in your breastmilk supply as well.
  • Also, lower cholesterol can reduce your risk for heart conditions as well as other health conditions.

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D) Eating oatmeal daily can help you reduce stress levels

Being a breastfeeding new mother has its challenges and its joys, but stress is usually a common factor.

  • It is essential to eat healthily and stick to foods that will help you maintain a reduced stress level so you can focus on your baby.
  • On top of that, high stress levels can reduce breastmilk supply, so if you keep that under control, you might also notice an improvement in your breastmilk supply.

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How to consume oats as a nursing mother?

How To Consume Oats As A Nursing Mother?

If you consider adding oats to your daily diet, it is important to know that you don’t need to overdo it.

  • A bowl of oatmeal per day is enough, and you can combine it with the fruits of your choice to make it as tasty as possible.
  • Even if oats can be consumed during any time of the day, it is recommended to consume them as part of your breakfast. Eating oatmeal at breakfast will give you energy and possibly increase your breastmilk supply.
  • Pay attention to see if there is any difference in your breastmilk supply when you eat oatmeal at breakfast compared to when you don’t have these grains in your diet.

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Are there any side effects of eating oats as a nursing mother?

Breastfeeding mothers that want to eat oatmeal don’t have to worry about any side effects.

  • This type of food is one of the superfoods you can eat as a nursing mother, thanks to all the nutrients it contains.
  • It is essential to make sure you are not allergic to oats and consume these grains safely.
  • Each person is different, and this is an aspect that you should pay attention to when it comes to everything you eat, especially as a nursing mother.

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Do Oats Increase Breast Milk? 1

Oats will positively impact your health and the quality of your breastmilk, even if there is no scientific evidence to prove that they contribute to a higher milk supply.

Therefore, it is important to eat them for breakfast and combine them with other fruits you like to satisfy your nutritional needs.

If you notice that eating oats makes a positive difference in your breastmilk supply, you should continue eating this food and talk to your doctor to see if you have an iron deficiency. On the other hand, if you like oatmeal a lot and don’t see any side effects from enjoying it, you should still try not to overdo it because you need to have a diverse diet as a nursing mother.

Do Oats Increase Breast Milk? 1

Key References
  • [1]“Breastfeeding diet, exercise & lifestyle | Raising Children Network”. Accessed September 04, 2021. Link.
  • [2]“Natural Galactogogues” – School of Medicine and Public Health (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Accessed September 04, 2021. Link.
  • [3]“Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review”. Accessed September 04, 2021. Link.

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