Eat to Feed

80 Nourishing Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms


By Eliza Larson

By Kristy Kohler

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Support breast milk supply and overall health with creative meals, snacks, and drinks

For breastfeeding moms, “eating for two” continues long after the baby arrives. Eating well can be hard enough before there’s a newborn in the house, but when moms experience dips in their milk supply, getting the right nourishment is key. In their debut cookbook, the founders of Oat Mama share eighty simple, delicious recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, deserts, snacks, and beverages. Eat to Feed is a warm, supportive, and inspiring resource for new mothers and mothers-to-be, featuring:
  • Nutrient-dense whole foods and naturally lactogenic (milk-boosting) ingredients, such as oats, almonds, barley, and brewer’s yeast.
  • Helpful breastfeeding tips and advice on easy meal prep, building a healthy pantry, and sourcing ingredients.
  • Recipes such as Healing Sipping Broth, Lactation Granola Bars, Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Dill, Chocolate Cherry Smoothie, and many more.
  • More than seventy-five beautiful photographs.


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Feeding is an act of love.

There are few things in life that compare to your baby falling asleep against your breast smiling, or looking right into your eyes while making sweet chortling noises. As a breastfeeding mom, you are sharing your body, your nutrients, and your food with your baby. But breastfeeding isn’t easy—and that surprised both of us when we were new moms. (Nobody tells you breastfeeding will hurt!) When you’re getting started breastfeeding, you need all the support you can get. We know this firsthand.

We met at a park while we were each pregnant with our second baby and quickly bonded over our choice of names. (Eliza’s first son is named Oliver, and she was going to name her second boy Henry. Kristy’s first son is named Henry, and her second son was going to be named Oliver. You know what they say about great minds!)

When our second babies were born, we both started nursing again. But Kristy was having a hard time producing enough milk, and Eliza had had trouble the first time around.

While we were dealing with nursing challenges, we had read extensively about ingredients called galactogogues: whole foods and herbs traditionally incorporated in a postpartum diet to help support a healthy milk supply. Many of these ingredients were unfamiliar to us at first. A few of them, such as brewer’s yeast, were ones we hadn’t cooked with at all.

After talking to lots of mom friends, we realized we were not alone in our confusion. Most of us turned to either taking supplements or steeping herbs in water to make bitter teas. Around this same time, we noticed a growing trend of lactation cookies in stores, but many of them weren’t so tasty, or had lots of filler ingredients that aren’t so good for you. That’s where the inspiration for our lactation foods company, Oat Mama, was born.

Instead of choking down bitter teas or snacking on unhealthy cookies, we wanted to fill the postpartum period with foods that left us feeling cared for and energized. We decided to develop an incredibly tasty granola bar that was free of dairy, soy, and gluten; filled with galactogogues, such as brewer’s yeast and ground flax; and packed with healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and coconut oil. The first Oat Mama bar was born, and the reaction from moms was overwhelming. From there we took our mission further. We updated traditional grassy lactation teas with our line of Oat Mama teas featuring punchy fruit flavors, such as Blueberry Pomegranate, so they could be enjoyed hot or iced. As breastfeeding moms ourselves, we continue to think about what real moms actually want to eat and drink and what products will bring more health and enjoyment to nursing.

We also deeply care about community. Since support is one of the top predictors of breastfeeding success, we knew we wanted to incorporate as much support into our brand as possible. With our very first message of “You Got This” on our original bars to our vibrant community of moms on our social media feeds and Facebook group, we wanted every mom to feel connected and encouraged through her unique breastfeeding journey. We created the hashtag #mothertogether in this spirit and also donate a portion of our sales to help deliver lifesaving donor breast milk to babies in the NICU. Since the beginning, we’ve also developed and shared lactation recipes on our Oat Mama blog. Here’s what one mama said about our Coconut Panna Cotta: “Since most desserts are light on the fat and high on the sweetener, this is a great way to have a healthy dessert that feels like a treat but still has good nutrition in it. Panna Cotta beats Jell-O any day and is far more filling than the sugary, store-bought options with only a few minutes work.” The incredible response and demand for these nourishing lactogenic recipes led us to creating Eat to Feed.

We wrote Eat to Feed not only to demystify galactogogues but also to celebrate their unique flavor profiles and nutritional content. As passionate food enthusiasts, our goal was to come up with innovative and extremely tasty ways of cooking with these ingredients. All of our recipes highlight specific galactogogues in easy-to-use, delicious preparations that were created with you in mind.

By no means do you need or require a “perfect” diet to successfully breastfeed—not at all. There is no pressure or expectation here. And note that if you are encountering breastfeeding issues, food alone cannot “fix” low supply. We strongly believe that there is no substitute for best breastfeeding practices (feeding on demand, correct latching, skin-to-skin contact), good counsel from a professional lactation consultant or La Leche League leader, or meeting with a local breastfeeding support group to get you and your baby off to the strongest start possible. With Eat to Feed, we want to offer you a chance to broaden your culinary horizons and mark this special—and fleeting—time in your life with the smell and tastes of dishes you’ll always remember fondly as part of your journey as a new mother. Our hope is that you’ll continue turning to these superfoods and the recipes in this book long after your little ones have weaned.

By keeping yourself well nourished, well hydrated, and well rested, you are better equipped to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of feeding your baby. Nourishing yourself, and making that a priority, is the greatest gift you can give your baby. And it’s a good first step toward building a healthy family with a positive attitude about food. We hope these recipes delight you, comfort you, and remind you that you are not alone in this, and that every act of feeding yourself and your baby is one of pure love.


Your Guide to Galactogogues and Other Key Ingredients for Breastfeeding

The recipes in this book feature amazing ingredients that can help to support a healthy body and a healthy milk supply while you are nursing your little one. Certain of these ingredients are galactogogues: foods and herbs that naturally boost milk production. Others are featured because they contain lots of powerful vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that may help you to keep up your health and energy when you’re breastfeeding. Throughout the book, you’ll see a drop icon that highlights the main galactogogues or milk-boosting ingredients in any given recipe.

Galactogogues are often taken in the form of supplements or teas. But they can also be made into delicious homemade foods and drinks—and that makes them not only more fun for you to eat, but to share with your family, too. (And don’t worry, there’s absolutely no harm in sharing any of these delicious ingredients and dishes with your kids or your partner. There’s no “mystery estrogen” here—they’re all healthful foods made from whole, honest ingredients that are good for just about anyone, but they offer breastfeeding moms a bonus!)

Before we go any further, we should acknowledge that scientists and researchers have studied various galactogogues, and their findings are inconclusive. As such, the lactogenic effects of these foods are generally not scientifically proven—more studies would be needed to determine how they work and just how effective they are. Most of what we know about galactogogues is based on anecdotal evidence shared among mothers, and passed down through generations of kitchen wisdom. We’re building on what we found in our own research, plus the wisdom we’ve gained talking to other wonderful mamas in our real-life and online communities. Over the years, we’ve used ourselves as guinea pigs, and gotten feedback from others, so we know what’s worked for many of us—and now, we share it in the hopes that it can help you, too.

GRAINS AND FLOURS: organic oats, barley, buckwheat, black rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur

Probably the most widespread advice mothers receive, besides maybe to drink a beer, is to eat lots of oatmeal. There are many reasons that the mighty oat has become the queen of lactogenic foods. It contains beta-glucans, fiber, iron, and protein, and research suggests it has a calming effect on the nervous system. When choosing oats, we always recommend organic. The other grains in this category are mighty as well, and most of them can be incorporated in the same diverse ways that oats can. Try them raw, toasted, soaked, cooked, made into milk, ground into flour, baked into cookies, and so on. The possibilities are exciting and endless. You’re sure to find preparations that speak to your palate.

SPICES, HERBS, AND YEASTS: anise, basil, fennel seed, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, dill, cumin, garlic, brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast

Spices are literally the spice of life! Time-honored and widely-recognized galactogogues, such as fenugreek, fennel, ginger, and anise, are commonly found in many lactation teas and supplements on the market. Others, such as turmeric, help to rid the body of inflammation. In a study published in Pediatrics, babies were shown to nurse longer after a mom has eaten garlic. Cumin seeds are packed with iron that may help stave off postpartum anemia, which can lead to low milk supply. Dill and basil are rich in vitamin K and antioxidants. Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are packed with B-complex vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. These can specifically aid in fighting off postpartum depression, boosting immunity, and giving you beautiful hair, nails, and skin. You can find many of these herbs in their fresh forms or widely available in a dried powder. Yeasts are generally found either in the supplement aisle or bulk bins of grocery stores or online.

NUTS AND SEEDS: almonds, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds

When we’ve polled breastfeeding moms about their healthy snacking habits, the number one answer is usually nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are quick, filling foods packed with protein and healthy fats (and you can generally eat them with one hand, no small consideration for someone with a babe in the other arm!). These nuts and seeds are lactogenic superstars providing fiber, delivering omega-3s, and calcium without excess sugar. And essential omega-3 fatty acids can be passed on through breast milk to your baby. While nuts and seeds are an ideal snack on their own, have fun experimenting in your kitchen with different nut and seed butters, oils, and milks as well. Most nut and seed butters can be created by simply placing the raw or toasted ingredients in a high-powered blender and pulsing until the oils have released and the mixture becomes creamy.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: apricots, figs, dates, coconut, papayas, asparagus, avocados, kale, spinach, moringa, beets, carrots, fennel, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, dried seaweed

Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are an essential part of a healthy postpartum diet, or any diet, for that matter. But leafy greens are especially important for new moms to fight off post-pregnancy anemia and for their phytoestrogen content. Dried fruits are a great source of energy and calcium. Orange root vegetables are full of vitamin A and beta-carotene, and concentrated amounts can be found in a mom’s first colostrum, otherwise known as “liquid gold.” Dried seaweed, and broth made from it, is a beloved postpartum healing food in many Asian cultures due to seaweed’s high iodine content and protective antioxidants.

EGGS AND DAIRY: eggs, full-fat Greek yogurt

Eggs are rich in choline, a substance that is naturally occurring in breast milk and is critical for early development. Eggs and yogurt are high-protein foods. Yogurt has the additional benefit of contributing to a healthy gut flora for mom and baby while providing a boost of calcium.

BEANS AND PULSES: chickpeas, lentils, peas

Beans, lentils, and peas are not only filling, but eaten alongside whole grains or nuts and seeds, they make a complete protein—and if you’re eating a mainly plant-based diet, that is essential. Together they help deliver all essential amino acids. They deliver iron and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Not to mention, beans, lentils, and peas make mouthwatering salads, dips, spreads, taco fillings, and soups. You can also dehydrate them to make crunchy snacks.

FATS AND SWEETENERS: extra-virgin coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, grass-fed butter, molasses, coconut sugar, dates

Healthy fats deliver so many benefits to new moms, from lowering the risk of postpartum depression to helping baby’s brain development. Breastfeeding moms should not look for ways to cut out fats from their diet, but do choose the good ones derived from nuts, seeds, coconut, and avocado. Treats are part of every balanced diet, but again, choosing sweets made from natural sweeteners or dried fruit offer some nutrients along with the calories.

NOTE: If you are having any problems with breastfeeding or low milk supply, food alone will not address any underlying issues. We strongly believe that there is no substitute for best breastfeeding practices (feeding on demand, correct latching, skin-to-skin contact), good counsel from a professional lactation consultant or La Leche League leader, or meeting with a local breastfeeding support group. This book is not intended as a replacement for professional lactation support.

BREASTFEEDING TIPS from Lactation Consultants

We can’t say it enough: breastfeeding is hard work. And though this isn’t a breastfeeding guide—there are lots of good ones already out there!—we want to offer you some tips to get you started. With that in mind, we enlisted lactation consultants Crissi Blake and Nina Isaac to offer these helpful hints.

Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, and is easily and quickly digested. Babies also have a tiny stomach, so, it is expected that they will need to feed more often than older kids and adults. Newborn babies seem to nurse all the time; this is normal! You may feel as though you are nursing constantly, and that is okay as long as your baby is growing well, having plenty of wet/dirty diapers, and meeting all developmental milestones. Typical breastfed babies feed at least every one to three hours.

Getting help and support early on will benefit the longevity of your nursing relationship. Look for a lactation professional or IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) in your community and give that person a call! Some women also find breastfeeding support groups very helpful. Look to see if there is one in your community.


After delivery, hold your baby skin to skin as much as possible and ask for assistance latching when he or she is showing readiness cues.

Breastfeed often, long, and on demand. This will ensure an abundant milk supply.

Watch your baby’s cues, instead of the clock, to ensure your child’s satiation and determine when and how often to feed. This will not only help your baby get the milk he or she needs to grow and thrive, but it will also help your body make enough milk for your infant’s needs.

Make sure your baby is latched well and breastfeeding efficiently. This will help establish and maintain your milk supply.

Offer both breasts with every feeding. This will ensure adequate stimulation of your breasts, which in turn ensures a good milk supply. As your baby gets older, both breasts may not be stimulated at every feeding. This is especially true as your little one becomes more efficient at breastfeeding.

Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed when latching your baby. You may need to experiment with lots of different positions; find the one that works best for you both.

When positioning your baby, hold him or her close to your body, tummy to tummy and nipple to nose, to ensure a deep and comfortable latch. If you experience discomfort, try leaning back slightly or change your position.

There’s no need to limit time at the breast. Let your baby nurse until he or she appears content, calm, and peaceful. Make sure to offer the second breast every time, especially in the early days and weeks of breastfeeding.

Your pumping output is not indicative of your actual milk supply. Your baby is often more efficient than the pump. Many moms who don’t respond well to the pump still do have an abundant milk supply. If your baby is growing well with adequate output, you have plenty of milk.

Galactogogues (foods and herbs that help to increase milk supply; see here) can be used in addition to proper and efficient stimulation of your breasts, either by your baby and/or your pump, if you are struggling with milk supply.

Eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty. There are typically no specific foods you need to avoid while breastfeeding your baby.

Be sure to take care of sore nipples. You can use your own breastmilk on your nipples in addition to a lubricating layer, such as coconut oil or your favorite nipple cream.

Involve your partner in the breastfeeding relationship by asking for support with positioning, refilling your water, or bringing you a snack. Partners are also wonderful at changing diapers, bathing the baby when needed, and holding the child skin to skin after feeds.

Give yourself permission to take breastfeeding one day at a time. Celebrate all of the little successes and know you are not alone. And it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

Written by Crissi Blake RN, BSN, IBCLC, and Nina Isaac MS, CCC-SLP, IBCLC. Owners of Milk and Honey Specialized Breastfeeding and Postpartum Support Center, Tucson, AZ.



spinach, eggs, Greek yogurt, dill


While we love eggs over here, many classic egg dishes are loaded with cheese and grease and can leave you feeling sluggish. Here is a high-protein breakfast packed with healthy fats that won’t weigh you down. Fresh dill, scallion, and lemon zest give these eggs a bright, cheerful disposition. Most baked egg recipes use only heavy cream. We added a dollop of Greek yogurt after baking for its healthy fat, protein, and probiotics. (We also put two eggs in each ramekin because, hey, breastfeeding hunger is real.) We like to sop up those yolks with a slice of toasty bread. Yum.

Unsalted butter, for ramekins

2 cups lightly packed spinach

¼ cup heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 large eggs

¼ cup full-fat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

¼ cup chopped scallion

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four 6-ounce ramekins lightly with butter.

2. Fill the bottom of each ramekin with ½ cup of the spinach and pour 1 tablespoon of the cream over the spinach in each ramekin. Season each with a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt.

3. Crack two eggs into each ramekin. Lightly season each again with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.

4. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

5. Remove from the oven and top each ramekin with 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt, 1½ teaspoons of dill, 1 tablespoon of scallion, and ½ teaspoon of lemon zest. Serve immediately.


carrot, basil, garlic, nutritional yeast

We fell hard for this carrot pesto. It has now become a staple in our fridges. It’s so quick to put together, and can turn a ho-hum piece of toast into something that feels very fancy and sophisticated. Sometimes we are just not up to going out to eat with a nursing baby and all the gear it can require, but we’d still like to experience a restaurant-worthy meal at home. The bright orange pesto makes for such a pretty breakfast you’ll feel as if you’re splurging, and only you’ll know how easy it was to make.



1 medium-size carrot, chopped

¼ cup packed fresh basil

3 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

⅛ teaspoon salt



Olive oil

1 large egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 slice whole-grain or seeded bread

1 tablespoon carrot pesto

1. Prepare the carrot pesto: Place the carrot, basil, garlic, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until it forms a paste. Add more salt to taste.

2. To prepare each toast: Pour a light drizzle of olive oil into a skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1 to 2 minutes.


On Sale
Jul 16, 2019
Page Count
224 pages

Eliza Larson

About the Author

Eliza Larson and Kristy Kohler are the co-founders and recipe developers behind Oat Mama, an up-and-coming lactation foods brand. In the four short years since they launched Oat Mama, they have turned it into a million-dollar brand, featuring both lactation granola bars and teas. This is their first book. They live in Tucson, Arizona, with their families.

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