When it comes to breast milk production, breastfeeding moms will try just about anything to boost their breast milk supply.
Whether you’re having trouble keeping up with the supply and demand of breastfeeding or would simply like to amp up milk production so that you can create a stash in cases of emergency or return to work, doing something about your milk supply is a big deal.
Drinking oat milk has grown in popularity over the last several years. But the question still remains: Does oat milk increase milk supply?
Along with other alternatives for cow’s milk, like almond milk, goat’s milk, and soy milk, drinking oat milk daily rather than pouring yourself a glass of whole milk has been known to be a healthier way to increase your calcium intake, as well as boost your milk supply.
This article will talk about milk supply and whether eating oatmeal or drinking oat milk will truly give breastfeeding moms the boost in breast milk supply that many women claim it does.
Does oat milk increase milk supply?
While oatmeal and oat milk have not been scientifically proven to increase milk supply, many mothers, doctors, and lactation consultants alike have given oat milk a big thumbs up and a seal of approval when it comes to increasing breast milk supply.
What is oat milk?
The name “oat milk” is somewhat misleading, as oats do not actually produce any milk.
Instead, oat milk is made when whole grain oats are soaked in water and then strained through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. The liquid that is collected is oat milk.
It’s creamy and meets nutritious food criteria as far as health benefits are concerned. It is very low in fat and very high in calcium.
Oat milk for lactation
To analyze whether or not oat milk can increase milk supply, we need to look at where it comes from.
Oatmeal and oat milk go hand in hand. So looking at the lactation benefits of oatmeal should give us a pretty good idea of whether or not oat milk affects lactation.
Does oatmeal have iron?
Eating oatmeal can give you a huge boost in iron.
Iron consumption can help you to prevent anemia. Anemia is a common issue in pregnant women, even well after delivery.
If you are low in iron or are anemic, your milk production can be affected.
While regular oatmeal has a good amount of iron, fortified oatmeal has up to seven times that amount. This can make a crucial difference in your milk supply and milk production.
How much oat milk should I drink?
Whether you are consuming oatmeal or oat milk, you most likely won’t notice more milk after a pumping session until about eight hours later.
So if you have oatmeal for breakfast or drink some oat milk in the morning, it may not increase breast milk supply until later that afternoon or evening.
When it comes to how much oat milk you should consume to see a positive change in milk production, most lactation consultants suggest three to four servings per day.
Does it have to be plain oat milk?
Just like whole dairy milk, you can do numerous things to provide the breastfeeding mom with the drink’s benefits. You can create an oat milk froth to add to your morning coffee or drink warm oat milk if you don’t prefer it cold.
It’s thick like cow’s milk, so it makes a great additive to drinks, and it is great for making shakes and smoothies with, as well.
If you purchase store-bought oat milk, make sure the brand is oat milk packed with nutrients.
While you can make oat milk at home, many women find it much easier to buy from the grocery store. You’ll be able to find it in the grocery store aisle with other non-dairy milk options.
What does oat milk taste like?
Oat milk is surprisingly like dairy milk in a few different ways. It’s creamy and thick, just like dairy milk, and it’s also sweet.
When it comes to taste, many women testify that it’s sweeter than whole fresh milk, making it a delicious choice to increase your milk supply.
Eating oatmeal to increase milk production
Oat milk is great, but if you try it and you find that it leaves you feeling less than full, you may consider eating oatmeal for breakfast to get similar results and battle a low milk supply.
Oatmeal is a warm, thick, tasty comfort food that makes people happy and relaxed.
When you feel this way, the milk production hormone, oxytocin, which aids significantly in increasing milk supply, is triggered.
Oxytocin is also responsible for the milk let-down reflex, stimulating increased milk production because a nursing baby will latch on more readily with a quicker let-down.
If you have a good let-down, it is also simpler to pump enough milk in one pumping session. Any lactating mother will tell you that a quick let-down is critical in happy nursing or pumping.
What kind of oatmeal is best?
The great news is that you can eat nearly any type of oatmeal to benefit from it and increase your milk supply.
Old-fashioned oatmeal, steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and even instant oats are all great ways to get the iron and dietary fiber needed for a sufficient breast milk supply for a nursing mom.
You can add fruit, vanilla extract, brown sugar, raisins, or non-dairy milk. The possibilities are nearly endless, meaning you aren’t likely to get bored of it quickly.
You can also make oatmeal raisin cookies, cakes, muffins, and more.
Oats and other healthy foods will give you many health benefits besides just a boost in milk supply.
You can also make oat milk with it if the nutritious foods aren’t appealing to you. The healthy oat milk has a slightly nutty flavor, especially when you make oat milk yourself, and it hasn’t been flavored or enhanced by the manufacturers.
Other benefits of oat milk and oatmeal
Oat milk isn’t just for trying to get an increase in breast milk supply. It offers many other benefits, as does its source material, oatmeal.
Relief from clogged milk ducts
Due to the high iron content of oats and oat milk, clogged milk ducts can be more easily and more quickly relieved because iron is one of the vital vitamins in boosting maternal immune systems. When your diet lacks nutrition that is good for your immune system, issues like clogged ducts and milk blebs can be a common and excruciating thing to experience.
Can help elevate maternal immune systems
Not only can iron help to determine how much breast milk your body can produce, but it can also boost your immune system, as mentioned above.
Adequate iron levels help to replace lost blood from delivery and pregnancy and can help you to avoid or fight off illnesses better.
A filling food
Have you ever heard (probably from your grandmother or mother) that oatmeal is excellent food in the winter because it “sticks to your ribs”? While this is not to be taken literally, there’s a reason that older generations swear by it.
Not only is oatmeal a comfort food, but it is also very filling.
When you feel fuller, you are less likely to make bad diet choices and snack on foods that will not help boost your milk supply or keep you healthy enough to optimize your milk production ability.
Eating oats is also a great way to lose any pregnancy weight you may be trying to shed, which is great for your health and confidence.
Extra calcium, without the fat
A nursing mother’s recommended daily calcium intake is much higher than that of her non-nursing counterpart of the same age.
Any lactation consultant will attest to the fact that keeping a balanced diet, as well as getting all of the nutrients you need, are contributors to a good milk supply.
Oat milk has a lot of calcium but far less fat than whole dairy milk.
Therefore, drinking oat milk will give you the nutrients you need, the great taste you like, and none of the fat that you don’t need.
Side effects of oat milk
Oat milk is rich in fiber and iron, and fiber in the diet helps the body digest food and nutrients and then pass stool quickly and efficiently.
If you have a fiber deficiency or aren’t used to having a high fiber diet, eating oats or drinking oat milk can give you a bit of an upset stomach.
You may also experience cramps or diarrhea. If you have gastrointestinal or bowel issues when drinking oat milk, you should consider decreasing the amount of oat milk you consume daily.
Oat milk is thick, creamy, and tasty, while also increasing milk supply in breastfeeding women.
Breastfeeding moms who drink oat milk regularly in the morning often see an increase in milk production by the evening.
And let’s not forget the other great benefits of drinking oat milk. It makes you feel fuller, which can aid in better diet choices.
It can help boost your immune system to fight illness for you and your baby.
Oat milk is an excellent choice for women who are lactose intolerant and need calcium, as well.
Drinking oat milk may not be proven to make much difference to your breast milk production levels, but the other benefits to your body are already a plus to your health.
So, go ahead. Give oat milk a try today.