Q: I’ve heard that beer (the hops) helps stimulate milk production. Is that true? Are there any foods that stimulate milk production?
A: Drinking beer used to be recommended to nursing mothers to help them relax and increase their milk supply. Research studies have shown otherwise, however. In studies comparing alcoholic vs. non-alcoholic beer, babies whose mothers drank the alcoholic beer nursed more often but actually drank less milk.
There is also the danger of passing the alcohol to the baby in the milk. Another study showed that the children of mothers who had two or more drinks per day scored slightly lower on motor development at 1 year than the norm. Another danger of drinking alcoholic beverages is that it can impair the mother’s ability to take care of her child.
Various cultures have declared that various foods have the ability to stimulate milk production and are called galactagogues. There is no real evidence that any of them actually work. You are far better off eating a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods.
Remember that the real key to milk supply is how much milk is removed. The more your baby removes from your breast, the more they respond by making more milk.
I hope this helps!
By Melissa Clark Vickers
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant