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A lot of mothers want to increase breast milk as they feel they are not producing enough for their baby’s requirements. This worry is common and you should take solace in the fact that you are not alone in this worry. New mothers are worried about the health and comfort of their baby and breastfed babies require adequate amounts of milk as that is their only source of nutrition.
While nursing, a lot of care concerning the diet of the mother should be taken care of as it not just impacts the amount and quality of breast milk produced, but also impacts the post-delivery recovery of the mother. It is important to consult a nutritionist while creating a diet so they can balance out nutritional requirements while keeping in mind which food increase breast milk.
Signs of Low Breast Milk Supply
One way to determine if the supply of breast milk is low is to check if there are signs that your baby is getting enough milk.
The best indicator of good breast supply is to check your baby’s weight. You should take your baby regularly to the doctor and have him weighed to know that his development and growth is on track. However, it is common for babies to lose weight immediately after birth. This will correct itself within the first five or six days and by day fourteen your baby should be back to the weight he was when he was born.
If you are not sure how much your baby weighs, then look out for the following signs to ensure that you are producing enough breast milk:
- The breastfeeding is comfortable for you and is painless.
- Your baby likes to feed often. Breast milk is digested quickly and your baby will want to nurse often. This does not mean that you are not producing adequate milk. Most babies will breastfeed at 1.5 to two-hour intervals.
- Your breasts will softer and emptier after each feed.
- You can watch your baby swallow while feeding.
- Your baby will want to come off the breast on his own after he is done the feeding.
- Your baby will pass urine around seven times a day. The stools will be a light yellow colour with some lumps. Babies fed only on breast milk can pass stools several times a day or only once in five days. Both situations are considered normal and you should not be worried about the same.
The following are not signs of low breast milk even if you feel like they might be indicative of something serious:
• Fussy feeding in the evening
• The length of nursing reduces
• The frequency of nursing increases
• Your breasts don’t leak
• There is little to no milk when you pump
How to Increase Breast Milk Supply?
Here are things that you can do in order to increase the breast milk supply:
- It is very important that your baby feeds in the correct way. If he is unable to latch on to the nipple or is in the wrong position, he will find it hard to feed. Other anatomical problems can also result in improper feeding, it is very important that the milk is removed from the breast in order to ensure that adequate breast milk is produced. If your baby is not able to do this, then you should express milk.
- Nursing frequently will result in the milk being removed from the breast. You should nurse your child for however long he wants to and at a frequency of 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Taking a break from the regular routine will help you establish a nursing routine. Spend two to three days just establishing a nursing pattern that makes you and your baby comfortable.
- Offer both sides while nursing. After finishing on one side, offer the other side.
- You must avoid pacifiers and bottles as long as possible.
- You must give your baby only breast milk and avoid any other type of foods.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet and are getting rest when your baby is.
- You can use a pump in order to make sure that the milk is removed from the breast. The best way to ensure that the breast increases the production of milk is to remove the milk from the breast.
Top 30 Lactogenic Foods That Increase Breast Milk
Even though there haven’t been any studies that prove that the following foods have a positive impact on the production of breast milk, these foods have been used by generations for lactating mothers. These foods should be consumed in your daily diet and not be used as a supplement.
1. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds have been used for generations across the world to increase breast milk production. It is rich in omega-3 fats which is important for your baby’s brain development. You can also use fenugreek leaves as they are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin B, calcium, and iron. Fenugreek seeds can be added to tea while brewing it or can be used in vegetable preparation. The seeds are also added to roti and puri.
2. Fennel Seeds
Apart from being used to increase milk supply, fennel seeds are also used to reduce gas and colic. It is assumed that the benefits of the seeds will pass on to the baby through the breast milk. You can soak a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a glass of water overnight and drink it in the morning or brew it in your tea.
Garlic is well known for boosting the immune system, preventing heart disease, and having curative properties. Garlic will affect the taste and smell of the breast milk and hence must be consumed in moderation.
4. Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, fenugreek leaves, and mustard greens are a great source of minerals such as iron, calcium, and folate. It has plenty of vitamins and is considered to enhance the production of breast milk. You should have at least one portion of green leafy vegetables on a daily basis.
5. Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds are known to help with digestion, relieve constipation, acidity and bloating along with helping with lactation. It is also packed with vitamins and calcium. Use it in salads or soak in water overnight and drink the water to get the benefits.
6. Sesame Seeds
When thinking about what to eat to increase breast milk, a lot of people advise the consumption of sesame seeds. These seeds are a great non-dairy source of calcium which is extremely important for your baby’s growth. After delivery, even the mother will need calcium for effective and full recovery. You can use sesame seeds in your daily cooking or make sweet dishes like ladoos with them and have one a day.
7. Holy Basil
Holy basil or tulsi has been used for generations for lactating mothers. While it aids in milk production, it is also known for its calming effect, help with bowel movement and promotes a healthy appetite. You can have tulsi in the form a tea that will help you relax.
Oatmeal is great for controlling diabetes post-delivery while being rich in energy. It is rich in fibre which has a positive effect on your digestive system. You can eat oats for breakfast or make oats cookies. Nutritionists recommend adding oats to any diet to increase breast milk production.
9. Unripe Papaya
While boosting milk production, unripe papaya also works as a natural sedative which will help you relax. You can ingest unripe papaya by grating into salads. Unripe papaya is considered one of the best fruits to increase breast milk.
Carrots provide a great boost to lactation and are rich in vitamin A which also improves the quality of the milk production. Eat raw carrots in the form of salads or juice it and have a cup in the morning along with your breakfast. Carrots are available anywhere around the world and are one of the best foods to improve lactation.
Barley boosts lactation and keeps you hydrated. You can have it in salads or soak in hot water overnight and then consume the water the next day.
Asparagus is a high fibre food that is rich in Vitamin A and K. it stimulates the hormone that is responsible for lactation. Steam lightly or sauté in a pan with another veggie for a tasty meal or snack.
13. Brown Rice
Some research has shown that brown rice is beneficial when it comes to lactation. It is known to stimulate the hormones responsible for milk production. It is also highly beneficial to the mother by giving her more energy and contributing to a healthy direction. Cook it in a pressure cooker or rice cooker and eat with vegetables.
Apricots are great to help stabilize hormonal imbalances and should be consumed both before and after delivery. It helps with lactation and is also rich in calcium and fibre. Add apricots to your morning oatmeal diet.
If you have access to fresh salmon, then you should add it to your diet. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids or EFA which are considered a super food and helps with lactation. It makes the milk produced more nutritious. You can have salmon in many different ways – steamed, grilled, or pan-fried.
16. Bitter Gourd
This vegetable is high in nutrition. It has high water content which will keep the mother hydrated. It is easy to digest and increases the supply of breast milk. Though not many people like the taste of bitter gourd, you can find ways to make it more palatable.
17. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is rich in carbohydrates that are important for providing energy to the mother. It is rich in vitamin C, B-complex, and magnesium. You can cook the sweet potato in a variety of ways in both savoury and sweet dishes.
This superfood is rich in Vitamin E and omega-3. This plus the nutritional value of almonds that contain polyunsaturated fats make these nuts a superfood. You can eat almonds raw or find almond supplements to increase milk supply. In many parts of the world, almonds are considered the best snack due to the immense healthy properties they contain, this is also the reason almonds are prescribed by doctors for nursing mothers.
19. Dill Seeds
If you’re wondering how to increase breast milk naturally at home fast, the answer is dill seeds. This ingredient is rich in magnesium, iron and calcium, making it an ideal addition to any meal where breast milk production is the focus.
When considering what to eat to increase breast milk production, people often overlook water. Hydrating properly is essential to improve milk production, so remember to drink plenty of water spread evenly throughout the day.
A vegetable high in iron and calcium, drumsticks are known to aid in increasing milk production during pregnancy, including this vegetable during lunch or breakfast can help you ensure you are lactating sufficiently.
Milk, especially cow milk is naturally filled with folic acid, calcium and healthy fats, this not only helps with milk production but ensures the milk is nutritionally balanced for your baby. Ensure you drink a glass of milk twice a day to guarantee an increase in breast milk production.
The chickpea is a superfood in its own right, rich in protein and fibre, it can be considered healthy for anyone but the vitamin B complex properties and calcium in chickpea also ensure it boosts your breast milk production.
One of the most nutritionally relevant veggies around, beets are a blood purifier, rich in fibre and healthy minerals all of which have properties that help boost milk production, beets also help in ensuring the breast milk has some blood purification properties for your baby.
Lentils are a commonly used ingredient worldwide due to the presence of lots of minerals, vitamins and protein in them, add the dietary fibre included in some types of lentils and you have an ingredient that is not only healthy in general but also helps greatly increase breast milk production.
Tofu is a superfood packed with minerals, vitamins, calcium and a lot of protein, this is commonly used in East Asia to help increase lactation. Making a stir-fry with tofu, lentils and green leafy veggies will ensure you have a balanced and lactation friendly diet that will also keep you extremely fit and healthy.
Watermelon is rich in fructose, fibre and of course, water. It keeps you hydrated, infuses your body with essential minerals and helps maintain or increase lactation. Hydrating properly by drinking water and consuming foods rich in hydrating minerals like watermelon will help mothers struggling with lactation problems.
28. Green Tea
Green tea is flush with antioxidants and minerals that help the body relax, drinking a glass of green tea every day will purify your system, this also helps with blood circulation and cholesterol and in some countries, it is thought to significantly help increase lactation.
Grapefruit, in some parts of the world, is considered a mega fruit, it is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, citric acid, fructose and essential dietary fibres. This fruit is considered one of the most-healthy additions anyone can make to a diet, especially a nursing mother looking to improve lactation.
30. Curry Leaves
Curry leaves are considered a delicacy on the Indian subcontinent, this is because these delicious leaves are known to boost melanin, help improve blood circulation and increase your body’s ability to break nutrients down, they are also rich in minerals that can help nursing mothers boost their lactation production.
Increasing milk production when nursing can be a tricky affair, understanding that there are dietary changes needed is not enough, doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise to help boost the mother’s immunity and help the blood circulate better. It is also highly recommended that you meditate and find activities that keep you calm, stress is one of the leading causes of low breast milk production. Communication between your partner, caregivers and doctors will make your life a lot easier.
Postpartum depression is known to decrease milk supply. In this case, you are advised to seek the help of a mental health specialist. Remember that, when planning a diet to increase lactation, you must also consider that your body has other needs, it is essential that you keep a balanced and healthy diet with elements of dishes to help boost lactation, your entire diet should not solely focus on increasing breast milk supply. Ensure you talk to your doctors regularly about your health, keep all appointments and ensure you seek the help of a nutrition specialist to help you craft out a diet that will meet all your needs.