Everyone always share diets and list of foods to eat to make more breastmilk or "good" quality breastmilk, but you never see a list being passed around to warn you of foods that can make your supply less or dry up your breastmilk.
The foods you should be aware of and not consume in abundance.
(Just need to reiterate that a mother does not need to follow a certain diet to make good milk, your breastmilk is always perfectly compositioned and tailored to your baby's needs, no matter if you eat an apple or a cheeseburger with XL fries and a vanilla milkshake...now I'm hungry)
Here is a list of foods to be aware of, due to their ability to negatively impact your milk production and supply, if taken in abundance or if you are struggling with low milk supply and want to eliminate them just for incase;
- Peppermint (In candies as well)
- Spearmint (In candies as well)
- Stinging Nettles
- Black Walnut
- Periwinkle Herb
- Herb Robert
- Lemon Balm
- Vitamin B6 (Inhibits the production of prolactin needed to produce milk)
- Green cabbage leaves applied to the breast.
- Jasmine flowers freshly crushed and applied to the breast.
Taking these foods and herbs may however be a good option for a mother struggling with an oversupply even after 6 weeks of nursing. (It takes 6 weeks for your milk supply to settle and be established)
If you do want to wean your baby and dry up your milk, it is advised to gradually drop feeds over a couple of days, allowing your breasts to adapt to the smaller demand and allow them to produce less and less.
Due to milk production working on supply and demand, when you take away the demand, the production also slows and then disappear. But stopping cold turkey will leave you with engorged breasts that can lead to mastitis and blocked ducts.
That is why a gentle weaning process over a couple of days or weeks is advised. If your breasts do become engorged or you are uncomfortable, you can hand express a little bit just to relieve the pressure. Using a pump will tell your breasts that there is still a demand and to keep producing milk.
The usual tablets that doctors like to prescribe to dry up your milk also only work directly after birth, when your production is still hormone driven. As soon as your milk supply has gone over to the supply and demand system and breastfeeding is well on its way, the pills will not work.
Do not be worried if milk still comes out when you squeeze your breasts after you have weaned your baby, this is normal. Many mothers still have milk when they squeeze their breasts up to a year after they have weaned, some even longer.