#tbt One from the Archive: Top 10 Lactogenic Foods for Breastfeeding Mums: Fennel

baby breastfeeding cookbook family food galactagogue intentional nutrition lactogenic milk supply mum mumlife new mum newborn nutrition

(First published on The Contented Calf website on Friday 4th November 2016.)

Fennel is good for breastfeeding. But what is it?

tbt-contented-company-lactogenic-breastfeeding-foods-fennel-fennel-2500-300x199Fennel is a flowering plant in the carrot family, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves, and is originally indigenous to the Mediterranean coast.[1] The bulb of the plant can be eaten as a vegetable, as can the stalks. The seeds are often used as a spice, either whole or ground, and are often used in Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern cooking.[2]

In her book Mother Food, Hilary Jacobson writes that long before cattle, sheep and goats were domesticated and we could use their milk, breastmilk was the only source of ‘food’ for infants. Many mothers noticed that certain plants helped their milk supply, one of them being fennel.[3]

What makes fennel good for breastfeeding?

> Tryptophan

Fennel contains Tryptophan. Tryptophan is one of the 10 essential amino acids that the body uses to make the proteins it needs.

In particular, tryptophan serves as a precursor for Serotonin, which supports the chemistry of lactation. It counter-acts Dopamine, which suppresses Prolactin (needed for milk production). So anything that keeps Dopamine levels low, in turn keeps Prolactin levels high; thus making them lactogenic and helping to combat low milk supply.

High tryptophan = high seratonin = high prolactin[4].

Along with a number of other foods, Tryptophan is particularly plentiful in fennel, making fennel good for breastfeeding.[5]

> Fennel is a sedative vegetable

There is also a small group of herbs and foods containing substances that can act as sedatives. Sedative foods serve as natural Opiates, which also suppress Dopamine, encouraging increased production of Prolactin, and therefore are considered lactogenic. Foods considered sedating include fennel (along with lettuce, onion and potato), which is what makes fennel good for breastfeeding.[6]


Other than fennel being good for breastfeeding what else is great about this lactogenic food?

> Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin c

One cup or 87g of fennel contains 14% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, and netralises ‘free radicals’ which case cellular damage that results in pain and joint deterioration. It is also needed for the proper function of the immune system.[7]

> Fennel is a good source of fibre

One cup or 87g of fennel contains 11% of your RDI of fibre, which may help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. It also removes potential carcinogenic toxins from the colon, and so may be useful in colon cancer prevention.[8]

Overall nutritional vales of fennel

Fennel, sliced, raw


1.00 cup

87.00 grams

Calories: 27

GI: very low

Nutrient Amount DRI/DV (%) Nutrient Density World’s Healthiest Foods Rating
vitamin C 10.44 mg 14 9.3 excellent
fiber 2.70 g 11 7.2 very good
potassium 360.18 mg 10 6.9 very good
molybdenum 4.35 mcg 10 6.5 very good
manganese 0.17 mg 9 5.7 very good
copper 0.06 mg 7 4.4 very good
phosphorus 43.50 mg 6 4.1 very good
folate 23.49 mcg 6 3.9 very good
calcium 42.63 mg 4 2.8 good
pantothenic acid 0.20 mg 4 2.7 good
magnesium 14.79 mg 4 2.5 good
iron 0.64 mg 4 2.4 good
vitamin B3 0.56 mg 4 2.3 good


Thanks to The World’s Healthiest Foods for the above chart.

> Happy and healthy

The health benefits of fennel are numerous and include: helping counteract anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure, and helps with eye care and brain function.[9]

With fennel being great for breastfeeding AND generally so nutritious, make sure you include some fennel in your diet today.

The Contented Calf Cookbook includes, amongst others, the following recipes containing fennel:

Fig & Fennel Scones pg.26


Grilled Prawns with Fennel Slaw pg.40


Fig & Walnut Cookies pg.85


Chai Spiced Milk pg. 88


and many more…

Get your copy today and start cooking with lactogenic foods. Register on the site and you’ll get a 5% discount of all products bought on www.thecontentedcompany.com.

Top Lactogenic Foods for Breastfeeding Mums


*Premium Content* Five Breastfeeding Recipes

Download FIVE FREE Nourishing Recipes Exclusively From The Contented Calf Cookbook TODAY.

FREE Recipes from The Contented Calf Cookbook for Breastfeeding Mums 5 Breastfeeding Recipes Download FIVE FREE Nourishing Recipes Exclusively From The Contented Calf Cookbook TODAY.

As ever, with love from our family to yours, especially in these strange times.

Stay safe and keep well,

Elena x

Elena Cimelli Signature

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fennel

[2] http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/glossary/g/Fennel.htm

[3] Jacobson, H. (2007). Mother Food: a breastfeeding diet guide with lactogenic foods and herbs for a mom and baby’s best health. Rosalind Press: pg 23 (available for purchase via www.contentedcalf.com/we-like/)

[4] https://www.contentedcalf.com/breastmilk, plus Mother Food

[5] http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-002079000000000000000-1w.html

[6] https://www.contentedcalf.com/breastmilk, plus Mother Food

[7] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23

[8] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23

[9] https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-fennel.html

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

  We offset our carbon footprint via Ecologi
Carbon-neutral shipping with Shopify Planet
All deliveries are carbon neutral
Powered by Shopify Planet