Recipes for Breastfeeding Mums- Contented Calf Cookbook

 We spoke to Elena Cimelli, author of the book ‘Contented Calf Cookbook - Nourishing Recipes for Breastfeeding Mums’ about how diet can improve the production of milk and the inspiration behind her beautifully illustrated and easy to follow cookbook. Elena’s book is available on our website for £14.99 with free UK delivery.


Can lactogenic foods really make a difference to milk supply?
Although it is only one of the factors, diet can certainly play an important part in lactogenesis (the process of making milk). Every little helps, and if you want to help increasing your milk supply, you may find a lactogenic diet helps.

What’s the science behind it?
There are two hormones involved in lactogenesis – Prolactin and Oxytocin. Prolactin stimulates milk production and Oxytocin promotes the ‘milk-ejection’ or ‘let-down reflex’.
Certain foods and herbs increase the level of Prolactin in our bloodstream, helping our bodies to produce more milk. And with regards to Oxytocin, eating meals and snacks throughout the day can help reduce stress levels (hunger can induce stress), which actually suppresses Oxytocin production. There are also foods thought to help remedy problems with let-down or flow.

How did The Contented Calf Cookbook come about?
For myself and my husband, one of our attempts to prepare for the birth of our first baby was acting on some advice in one of our antenatal classes. Hearing “Prepare and freeze as many meals as you can, ahead of the baby being born” must have sparked off some primeval ‘hunter-gather’ instinct in my husband. He took it to an extreme and we ended up with around 50 meal portions, lasting us months!

These meals were invaluable for us. We could have nutritious, home cooked food every night, simply by turning on the oven and heating it up. They were absolute bliss - especially in our over-tired, shell-shocked, new-parent state.
Thinking about our mammoth cooking and freezing session, and wondering if those meals could have been made from lactogenic ingredients, was how The Contented Calf Cookbook started life. New mums (& dads) need healthy, nutritious, home-cooked food. If you can cook and freeze those dishes ahead of time, to simply reheat when the baby arrives, even better.  And if you choose to breastfeed and those meals help support you do so, better still.

After her son spending some time in Special Care Baby Unit and only being able to pump rather than breast feed directly, one of my mummy friends was trying to improve her milk supply. She found out about lactogenic foods and herbs, which can help promote milk production. When her husband went away for a week, I found some recipes using ingredients from this list of foods. I made her a couple of dishes she could put in the fridge or freezer and just heat up when she needed.

Inspired by her discovery of these foods, I began researching in a lot more detail about lactogenic foods and herbs.

How can I find out more?
You can find out much more about breast milk production and diet at, including a list of lactogenic (and anti-lactogenic) foods.

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