One of the main benefits of breast feeding is that it gives you immense time to bond well with your baby. A bonding that is unexplained & irreplaceable. Make the most of this time. Because, soon time will fly. Your little infant will soon grow up to be a naughty kid spending most of time at school; and you will surely miss these moments of looking at each other and exchanging sweet little smiles. So cherish every moment spent with your little one. Go ahead & read the top 15 foods that increase breast milk production.
The best way to boost production of milk is undoubtedly to keep nursing your baby. The more your baby nurses the more your body produces milk. Every mother wants to render the best possible nutrition to her baby. She is constantly worried about the insufficient milk production when she sees her baby crying all night. But, it is not necessarily not due to low milk supply. It might be due to colic pain, an infection or mild pain in any part of the body. However, if your pediatrician confirms that your baby needs to be introduced to formula foods, worry not. Feed your baby with healthy foods to build a strong immunity in it’s formative years.
How does lactation occur?
As your infant nurses on your milk, the act of sucking sends a signal to the brain to release oxytocin (a hormone that releases milk). This hormone flows through the blood vessels to reach the mother’s breast. Then, prolactin causes the milk to release through the breasts.
Foods that promote milk production are called “Galactagogues”. These vegetarian lactogens listed below are tries & tested and works well with most women. Since they are easily available at home, they are absolutely safe for consumption.
- Water – When you are breast-feeding your child, it is a pre-requisite to be well hydrated. Drinking atleast 2litres of water everyday helps boost production of milk. As it comprises of 90% water, you need to consume more water especially during summers. It is obviously easy to overlook the importance of drinking water as you maybe busy with
- Garlic – It is an age-old tradition to introduce garlic in the meal plan everyday. Apart from the tremendous health benefits like boosting the immunity for the mother & child, garlic can also cure various diseases like cancer & infections.
- Cumin Seeds – Calcium rich cumin seeds (jeera) aids in digestion & prevents bloating & constipation. Cumin seeds form an integral part of Indian curries.
- GLV’s – Green Leafy Veggies like fenugreek leaves (methi), spinach (palak), broccoli, kale, beet leaves are packed with calcium, vitamins, folate & iron that stimulate milk production. Ensure this is a part of your daily diet. The greens are great anti-oxidants that help to strengthen your baby, fight anemia & also prevent cancer. Beware too much spinach can cause diarrhea in your infant.
- Oats – Fibre rich oats not only helps knock off those extra calories but also lowers cholesterol & blood pressure & helps in stimulating the production of milk. You can add almonds, raisins & walnuts to add to the taste.
- Carrots – Satisfy your hunger pangs by munching on potassium rich carrots. Carrots are high in beta-carotene & Vitamin A. Eating frequent healthy snacks also helps in shedding the baby fat that has been accumulating over the last 9 months.
- Nuts / Dry Fruits – A lactating mother can indulge in binge eating when she is stressed about juggling between the house chores, nursing her baby & career. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, munakka(sultana currants) soaked in water, dates & macadamia are excellent sources of anti-oxidants & good carbohydrates that are satiating. The amino acid rich nuts foster the production of serotonin which is essential for the neurotransmission while nursing. Almonds contain Vitamin E (helps in reducing post pregnancy stretch marks) & Omega-3 (which is a must for vegetarians) making them great snacking options or as flavouring substances in milk, milkshakes & sweets.
- Sesame Seeds – It’s time to make the delicious Til (sesame seeds) ke ladoo & chikki as these seeds are rich in calcium & are great natural lactating supplements.
- Gourds – Bottle gourd and ridge gourd are light on the stomach as they comprise of water and fibre. Lauki or bottle gourd with high water content will keep you hydrated & control glucose level in your body. It is easy on the stomach & helps in lactation.Legumes or Daals – Daals form an integral part of the Indian cuisine. Chickpeas for example is pumped with calcium, vitamins & fibre. Sprouted legumes tossed with raw veggies like tomato, onion & cucumber serve as fantastic snacking options.
- Fenugreek Seeds – Methi or Fenugreek seeds are packed with iron, vitamins & protein. Soak them in water for few hours before consuming the same. You should consult your doctor if you have hypoglycemia, any allergies, asthma or hypothyroidism before consuming fenugreek seeds.
- Desi Ghee / Oil – Yes, You heard it right. If you are traumatized with your weight gain during pregnancy, do not refrain from consuming desi ghee or oil. Incorporate the healthier ones like olive oil, coconut oil & ghee. Avoid canola oil, palm oil & corn oil which will add to the bad cholesterol. Fatty food is almost as important as fibre in your diet. It works like oil for machinery (ensures smooth running of the body organs). But, ofcourse, in limited quantities.
- Fennel Seeds – Saunf or fennel seeds are often offered as a post dinner delicacy & mouth freshener to aid digestion and also prevents bloating of stomach due to the formation of gas. The phytoestrogens in fennel seeds acts as a good galactogogue when taken in limited quantities. You can also accompany them with dill seeds (sua) which also promote digestion.
- Drumstick – It is a power house of calcium & iron which helps in strengthening the bones & nervous system. Drumstick leaves, veggie & flowers are all very nutritious that can be had as a main dish an accompaniment with your roti or rice.
- Sweet Potato – These are packed with Vitamin A. An average sweet potato has about 1400 mcg of Vitamin A which boosts the milk production & regulates hormonal imbalance.
What not to eat!
While there is an extensive list of foods to be included in your post pregnancy diet, there are also certain foods that are best avoidable. These foods are gaseous by nature that can cause flatulence and discomfort. Avoid foods like cauliflower, cabbage, potato, raw banana (or unripe banana), raw mango (or unripe mango), coffee & alcohol.