As a nursing mother, you probably have tons of questions running through your mind. You are concerned about your little one’s health and growth, and want to do nothing less than the best. One of the most important questions that nursing moms have is what to eat during the feeding months that will ensure a good supply of milk.
The nursing phase is one when a mother requires a lot of attention with regards to her food and health. Whatever you eat during this period is crucial to your post-delivery recovery. It will also directly affect the amount of milk that is produced.
How To Increase Breast Milk Supply?
One of the best ways to increase milk supply is to keep on nursing your little one. Making milk from your baby is better than any other method to make milk in your body. The stimulations of the nerves during breastfeeding helps produce more milk in the breasts. The emptying of the milk signals your body to increase the milk production. If you feel your milk supply stills needs an improvement, then you should consider adding foods that promote milk production. Milk stimulating foods are called galactagogues.
You will start feeding your baby right from birth (unless there are some medical complications.) This means that you need to have all the health and strength to be able to feed baby, as well as help your body recover.
Top 25 Foods To Increase Breast Milk:
There are certain foods that increase breast milk and enhance lactation. Breast milk contains all the prime nutrients required for an overall growth and brain development of a newborn baby. Here is a list of the top 25 foods that you must include in your diet to increase breast milk. These are best foods to increase breast milk production & are great in terms of bringing you back to health, as well as aid in milk production.
Oats are easy to prepare as a meal.
- They are considered to control the occurrence of diabetes during post pregnancy.
- Oatmeal is loaded with energy.
- It contains fiber and is good for your digestion.
- Have a bowl of oat meal for breakfast. If the thought of having oatmeal is not appetizing, you can try having oat cookies instead.
Salmon is a great source of EFA (Essential Fatty acids) and Omega-3.
- Both EFA and Omega-3 are highly nutritious and essential for lactating mothers.
- Including salmon in your menu boosts lactation hormones and make your milk more nutritious.
- Opt for steamed, boiled or even grilled salmon.
3. Spinach And Beet Leaves:
Spinach and beet leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid.
- These are essential for recouping anemic mothers.
- These will help in making your baby strong.
- Spinach and beet leaves contain detoxifying agents.
- Spinach contains certain plant chemicals which could help prevent breast cancer.
- Include these leaves in a midday soup.
- Mix them with dough and make paratha (Indian flat bread) or chapattis for a meal.
- Remember to eat spinach in moderation as too much could cause diarrhea in your baby.
[ Read: How To Store Breast Milk ]
A glass of carrot juice with breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation.
- Like spinach, carrots too have lactation promoting qualities.
- It contains Vitamin A which complements lactation and boosts the quality of your milk.
- You can have carrots as raw, steamed or even pureed to a soup.
- In winters, try having pureed carrots stirred with warm milk and sugar.
5. Fennel Seeds:
Fennel seeds boost the quantity of your breast milk.
- They are digestives and help control baby-colic.
- Fennel seeds can be added along with seasonings to vegetable fillings. Add them to your tea or boil a few seeds with milk and drink up.
- Pop in a few seeds after a meal as a mouth refresher.
6. Fenugreek Seeds:
Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply.
- Chew on the sprouted seeds along with a glass of milk to prevent post-delivery constipation.
- It enhances your milk quantity.
- Toss in the seeds with seasoning and flavoring.
- Have them for breakfast as a pancake by mixing fenugreek seeds and rice.
7. Bottle Gourd:
Bottle gourd is generally not a preferred vegetable, but is high on nutrition.
- It is a summer vegetable which has high water content. This keeps a nursing mother hydrated.
- It also helps increase milk quantity.
- It is easy to digest and aids in lactation.
- If not as a vegetable filling, you can use it to make a sweet pudding.
- Drink freshly-made bottle gourd juice to help normalize raised blood sugar levels post-delivery. Make sure it is fresh and not stored.
8. Basil Leaves:
Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants.
- Basil leaves have a calming effect which is important while lactating.
- It boosts your little one’s immunity levels.
- Add a few basil sprigs in your tea.
- Leave the sprigs for a while in hot water. Have this water first thing in the morning and experience the effect.
Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk, as it is well-known for boosting lactation in nursing mothers.
- It has chemical compounds which help in lactation.
- Garlic consumption prevents all types of cancer.
- Toss in a few stir-fried garlic cloves in your soup.
- Add it in a vegetable of your choice.
- Another option is to stir fry a handful of garlic cloves in ghee and have it with steamed rice, every alternate day.
Barley not only boosts lactation, it also keeps you hydrated.
- You can boil barley and have the water through the day.
- Toss in whole barley with other vegetables with your favorite flavouring.
Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing mommies.
- It is a rich source of calcium, B-complex vitamins and fibre.
- Soak chickpeas overnight and boil in the morning. Mash a handful or two into any vegetable salad.
- Snack on a chickpea mash simply garnished with garlic and lemon juice.
Asparagus is considered a must-have food for nursing mothers.
- It is a high fibre food.
- It is also high in Vitamin A and K.
- It helps stimulate the hormones in nursing mothers that are essential for lactation.
- Wash and chop asparagus. Boil with milk. Strain and drink for better milk production.
13. Brown Rice:
Brown rice gives nursing moms the extra energy that is required post-delivery.
- It has certain chemicals that help normalize the mood swings and sleep pattern
- It helps increase the appetite.
- It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation.
- Opt for brown rice instead of white rice.
- Brown rice also helps maintain sugar levels in the blood.
14. Cumin Seeds:
Cumin seeds boost milk supply. Make sure you have them in moderation though.
- These are appetizers and fat-burners.
- They help avoid digestive irritants like acidity.
- Add a pinch of cumin powder to milk or to butter milk and drink.
15. Black Sesame Seeds:
Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and believed to increase milk supply.
- Blend sesame seeds with milk, sugar and almonds.
- Use in limited quantity, though.
16. Oils And Fats:
It is recommended to keep fats and oils in your diet to a minimum, post pregnancy.
- Do not avoid fat and oil in your post-delivery diet.
- These are an essential part of lactation. They assist in absorption of vitamins and minerals present in other foods you eat.
- They also aid in easy bowel movement.
- Opt for olive oil, rice bran oil or any heart healthy oil.
- These help in balancing the supply of healthy fat to your baby.
During and post pregnancy, there are hormonal imbalance that takes place in your body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in your body.
- Apricots are rich in calcium and fibre and help boost lactation.
- Include apricots and walnuts in your oatmeal diet.
18. Cow Milk:
Cow’s Milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation.
- Add at least 2 to 3 glasses of cow’s milk in your everyday diet.
- Opt for cow’s milk wherever necessary as an ingredient.
19. Dill Leaves:
Dill leaves look like a bunch of fine, dark green, silky hair. They have a distinct odor.
- Dill leaves are believed to boost milk supply.
- They have a high fibre content and Vitamin K. These helps to replenish the blood loss that happens during delivery.
- Add these to pancakes or to seasoned yoghurt.
Drumstick has high iron and calcium content.
- It is good for lactation.
- It boosts immunity and enhances your nervous system.
- Have it steamed with flavouring if you want.
- Drumstick leaves also can be used along with vegetable fillings.
21. Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus):
It is very important for nursing mothers to relax completely during lactation. Poppy seeds have sedative properties that help you relax and calm down.
- Take caution to include it in a minimum quantity in your diet.
- Poppy seeds help relax your mind and body while nursing.
- Roast poppy seeds and add to puddings and porridges.
22. Water And Juices:
Drinking water and juices is supposed to boost lactation. It increases the total milk volume per feed.
- It prevents you from dehydration and replaces fluid lost during lactation.
- Have a glass of water when you are thirsty or even before you begin to nurse your baby.
Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E.
- Vitamin E helps heal itching caused by post pregnancy stretch marks.
- Omega-3 helps lactation boosting hormones to help produce more milk.
- Have crushed almonds with milk for greater effect.
- Add almonds to your bowl of oat meal.
24. Sweet Potato:
Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrate which is needed to fight the fatigue.
- It also contains Vitamin C and B-complex and a muscle relaxant mineral that is magnesium.
- Have it with a low fibre diet.
- Make a smoothie of an apple and baked sweet potato.
- Make it as a pudding for dessert.
25. Unripe Papayas:
Unripe Papayas are part of the South Asian cuisine.
- Papaya has been used as a natural sedative, which may help you to relax and feed baby better.
- Try it as a South Asian salad or toss it with flat noodles.
Things To Avoid:
Apart from what to eat, you also need to take care what not to include in your diet. Try to avoid foods like potato, pulses, raw mango and raw banana as these may generate gas. If you are a vegan, take nutrient supplements instead of animal food products. It is always advisable to consult your doctor first before adding anything to your post-pregnancy diet.
[ Read: Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding ]
All About Lactation:
For your help we have categorized lactation phase into three mains, here they are:
a. Steps Leading To A Healthy Lactation:
Your body reacts to your baby’s milk demands and produces in the following way:
- Your baby’s sucking is a strong pull for the milk to come.
- Your brain receives the message.
- Your brain releases the milk ejecting hormone called oxytocin.
- Oxytocin flows through your blood to your breast muscles.
- The milk induced due to prolactin hormone flows out through the breasts.
- You begin feeding the baby.
b. Symptoms To Show That It Is Lactation Time:
It is surprising how your body will get ready to feed just at the time your baby starts to get hungry.
- It usually takes two weeks for your body to settle into a proper feeding routine.
- You will start experiencing a kind of tingling under your breasts.
- Sometimes you hear your hungry baby crying and you will experience a sensation in your breasts
- You may most likely experience a fullness and discomfort in the breasts if you have passed the feeding time and not fed yet.
- Many women may automatically start to leak milk when it is time for feeding.
c. Tips For A Smooth Lactation:
The following will help make lactation time better and easier for both you and your baby:
- Nurse your baby in a quiet room.
- Stay calm.
- Follow the lactation diet listed above.
- Wrap warm towels around your breasts.
- Burp your baby after every feed.
- Consult your doctor in case of any discomfort to you or your baby.
- Breast feed your little one regularly.
- Avoid worrying about your post-delivery weight-gain. This is the time to eat right. You can always get on a diet later.
Make sure you eat the right foods, sleep well and take adequate rest. It can get quite a handful, but keeping calm and staying well rested will help you pass through these initial first months with ease. Make use of the nursing time to bond with your baby. Very soon she will grow up and you will suddenly come to miss it!
Have some more foods to increase breast milk? Do share your them with us.
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