We hear a lot about foods that can irritate the baby, by giving him gas or changing the taste of his mother's milk. Turnips, celery, watercress, citrus fruits, onions, cabbage, spices, leeks, cauliflower are typical examples cited. Some people say that garlic increases milk production; others say it gives the baby gas. There is no universal rule. Moreover, different cultures prefer foods that others consider to be "bad" for nursing mothers. Each baby reacts differently to the foods his mother consumes. When nursing, observe your baby so you can eliminate from your own diet any food that seems to bother him. If your baby is particularly disturbed one day, try to remember what you have eaten in the past twenty-four hours. If one food seems suspect, eliminate it from your diet for a while.
Certain nutritional supplements are said to increase milk production. Their effects have not been proven scientifically, but they have a placebo (psychological) effect. Be careful, some of these supplements have a very high sugar content, and are therefore high in calories. Also, some midwives will tell you that fennel and beer increase milk production (not true), and that parsley stops it.
As with most issues relating to child-rearing, breastfeeding always has and will continue to be the object of well-meaning comments that may not always be informed or welcome. The main thing is to feel comfortable with your breastfeeding decision, to enjoy your baby and the intimate closeness that breastfeeding fosters, and to arm yourself with knowledge, patience, and a world of love.
La Leche League InternationalP.O. Box 4079
1400 N. Meacham Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Nursing Mothers'Counsel (NMC)
P.O. Box 50063
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Referral Line: 415-386-2229
International Lactation Consultants' Association
4101 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27602
The Art of Successful Breastfeeding: A Mother's Guide (Video)
The Vancouver Breastfeeding Center
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
The La Leche League