Natural Galactagogue Foods and Herbs and Their Role in Increasing the Breast Milk Production

Natural Galactagogue Foods and Herbs and Their Role in Increasing the Breast Milk Production

The nutritional benefits of breast milk and its role in strengthening a child’s immunity is known to all and sundry. No wonder, doctors stress on exclusive breastfeeding a baby for at least the first six months. However, all hell breaks loose when a lactating mother experiences a dip in the breast milk supply. While getting panicky is an obvious reaction, it makes more sense to remain calm and consult the attending physician or a lactation consultant at the earliest.
There are a myriad of factors that can trigger a dip in the breast milk supply, the most common of which include-

  • Postpartum stress and fatigue is the main wrecker in chief that plays a pivotal role in triggering a decrease in the breast milk supply

  • An underlying health condition such as Anaemia, Hypothyroidism, to name a few, can also result in a dip in the breast milk supply

  • Unhealthy dietary and lifestyle practices such as excessive intake of caffeinated drinks and beverages, consumption of alcohol, smoking, enriching the diet with anti- lactogenic foods such as sage, peppermint.

  • Use of birth control pills, especially the ones containing the hormone estrogen can also cause a dip in the breast milk supply.

  • The production of breast milk depends on demand and supply rule. The higher the demand, the more the breast milk production. Long intervals between two successive feeds (more than 5-6 hours) often send a signal indicating a lower demand for the milk resulting in the decrease in milk production. To avoid such a situation, always make sure to pump out the breast milk every 3-4 hours.

The introduction of Natural Galactagogue Foods and Herbs into the diet of a lactating woman goes a long way to increase breast milk production. The term “Galactagogue” refers to all those foods that elevate the production of breast milk significantly.

Some of the Natural Galactagogue Foods and Herbs that are highly recommended for women with a low milk supply include

  • Green/Unripe Papaya: Unripe papaya goes a long way to elevate the production of Oxytocin, a hormone responsible for the milk letdown. Thus, regular consumption of unripe papaya (in moderation) work wonders to trigger a rise in breast milk production.

  • Oatmeal: In addition to the plethora of vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients, oatmeal is also found to contain Beta-glucan (increases the production of the milk-producing hormone Prolactin), Saponins, plant estrogen, all of which have a positive impact on the milk production.

  • Garlic: The health benefits of garlic require no special mention. In addition to its antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory properties, Garlic is also an excellent Galactagogue herb that stimulates milk production to a great extent.

  • Ginger: Laden with antioxidants, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, ginger is a wonder herb that comes as a blessing for women with low/decreased milk supply. However, it is always advisable to consume ginger (be it as a flavoring agent in foods or health drinks and tea) in moderation for maximum benefits.

  • Fennel seeds: A Galactagogue herb with immense health benefits for the mother as well as the baby (improves digestion, increases metabolism, provides relief in colic babies), fennel seeds are a must have herb to boost the production of breast milk in lactating women.

  • Fenugreek Seeds: From speeding up the postpartum recovery and healing to alleviating the symptoms and discomfort associated with postpartum anemia, fenugreek seeds will never fail to amaze you with its health benefits. In addition to being laden with diosgenin, a phytoestrogen, fenugreek seeds also help to elevate the production of progesterone as well as prolactin, all of which contributes towards an increase in the production of breast milk.

  • Some of the other foods and herbs that stimulate the production of breast milk include- Brown rice, Almonds, Alpha alpha, Brewer’s yeast, Green leafy vegetables, to name a few.

Word of caution: In spite of all the health benefits, it is still advisable to consult your attending physician before incorporating these foods and herbs into your diet.

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