You may well have heard that a tall glass of Guinness is one of the answers to what foods help produce breast milk and the key to a healthy supply of breastmilk, but alcohol can inhibit milk production. It is barley, an element of beer, that has the potential to be lactogenic. Barley is the highest dietary source of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that has been shown in both humans and animals to increase prolactin [the breastfeeding hormone].
When grains germinate, malting enzymes are released, converting barley into a sweet, syrupy malt that also contains lactogenic beta-glucan. You can find barley malt syrup in health and specialty stores, but make sure it’s 100 percent pure—high-fructose or frequent corn syrup is frequently added to dilute and add flavor.
When it comes to what foods help produce breast milk, whole wheat, and brown rice are also high in beta-glucan, but they are frequently overlooked in lactogenic food research because they are obvious dietary staples. It is worth noting that white flour and white rice do not provide the same benefits as whole grains.
Brewer’s yeast is a nutritional supplement that is high in B vitamins, iron, protein, chromium, and selenium. However, unlike beer-related barley and malt, brewer’s yeast has yet to be studied as a lactogenic food. Despite this, it is usually suggested as a breast milk booster and is frequently found in trendy lactation snacks. One caveat: Because brewer’s yeast is bitter and easily absorbed through breast milk, it may end up causing gas and crankiness in some infants.