It all started from day one when you broke the news to your friends and family about your conception. Everybody had their tips for you – what to do and what not to.
It isn’t surprising if people still feed you with their old wives tales even after you have already given birth. The only change is in the topic, this time it is on how to care for your baby and yourself being a nursing mother.
Overwhelming sometimes it is but yes there are things, which you need to take seriously especially if you are wondering on how to increase production in breast milk to meet your baby’s growing needs.
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There are many ways to do so starting from drinking ample amount of water to taking medicines for the same. But the most effective and natural way to boost in the milk supply is eating lactogenic or galactagogues foods i.e. foods with lactation promoting properties and confidently adopting the correct technique of breastfeeding.
Here is a list of 9 such foods that will aid in increasing breast milk-
Oatmeal along with its nutritional benefits also acts as comfort food for nursing mothers. The process of enjoying a bowl of oatmeal helps a stressed mother to relax and hence releasing more oxytocin- a hormone that aids in milk production.
This is one of those lactogenic foods that have been long associated with increase in breast milk production. Babies are believed to feed for a longer time as it seems that the infants like this garlicky flavour in milk. The extra breast stimulation helps nursing mothers produce more supply for their babies.
3. Fenugreek seeds-
The once traditional nursing mother’s favourite condiment, fenugreek is now backed by science for its breast milk increasing properties. It is said that regular intake in moderation can help increase the supply in just a few days.
4. Black sesame seeds-
These are the seeds packed with calcium and when taken in crushed form (whole seeds may just pass your digestive tract without providing any benefits) helps increase milk supply.
5. Fennel seeds-
This famous mouth freshner is also the good companion for nursing mothers to increase milk supply and also a colic prevention aid for nursing babies. The phytoestrogens present in fennel could be the likely factor for increase in milk production.
This is yet another food with phytoestrogens, sources with milk production properties. It also has loads of calcium, iron, vitamins and particularly folate or folic acid, which is important for breastfeeding mothers.
This lesser known mama’s friend for increasing supply is full of beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which suffices the need for that extra oomph needed when you’re lactating! Like spinach and fennel it has phytoestrogens, which will help rave up your milk production.
Cashew nuts and almonds are the two nuts that are believed to have milk supply boosting properties. They’re also rich in anti-oxidants, proteins and essential fatty acids. The amino acids in nuts increase the serotonin, a neurotransmitter that stimulates prolactin secretion, which is an important hormone, associated with lactation.
9. Cumin seeds-
A must have in Indian dishes for tadkas, this helps stimulate milk supply along with improving digestion. It also helps to relieve from constipation and bloating apart from being a rich source of iron.
Eating healthy to keep your energy levels up post your delivery and your supplies constant for your baby is an advisable thing to do. However, what is more important is to watch out for what comes out along with your breast milk and it’s effects on your nursing infant.
Know more– Weaning Your Baby Off Breastmilk.
Here are a few foods you must watch over since thy can have an effect on your baby’s well-being-
Almost all the big fishes such as Shark, Mackerel have mercury content in them which can be risky for your growing baby’s neural system development.
This can interfere with your infant’s sleeping patterns and also cause irritation and fussiness in your baby. The effort is pronounced only when consumed in large quantites. Two cups of coffee is permissible.
No level of alcohol is considered safe for your baby’s health and so you should totally avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
Plain Chocolates, dark chocolates can replicate the effect of caffeinated beverages by causing fussiness or sleeplessness in your baby when consumed in excess and hence you may want to limit your chocolate intake.
6. Allergic foods-
Watch out for those symptoms of your baby being allergic to or intolerant to some food like wheat, nuts, dairy products, egg, etc.
your baby’s tendency about allergy towards these foods can be observed as signs such as inconsolable crying, fussiness, abnormality in stools, etc.
7. Spicy and gassy foods-
Although no scientific evidence has been found still, it’s a good idea to limit eating foods like broccoli and cauliflower, which can trigger gas formation. Also food that is too spicy, as it can agitate your infant.
Apart from eating all these recommended lactogenic foods you can also try to breast-feed your baby frequently or pump the milk out in bottle and store it in fridge for later use when the baby is ready to be fed. Milk production is directly proportional to the amount of milk drained out. Hence by regularly feeding or pumping you’ll have enough milk for your baby for the next round of feeding. Nevertheless the use of a mechanical/ manual breast pump, can be entertained based on advise by a registered lactation consultant.
With a little thought on what to eat and caution on avoiding certain foods, you can not only boost the milk supply for your baby but also prevent any discomfort that could otherwise become an issue with your infant’s health.