25 Best Foods To Increase Breast Milk
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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.
7. 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.
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.
9. 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.
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.
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.
12. Brown Rice:
According to the research paper Increase Breast Milk Supply With Herbal Galactagogues published in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, brown rice enhances breast milk production. It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation. It also gives nursing moms the extra energy that is required post delivery. Also, it helps increase the appetite so as to enable the mother to eat nutritious food.
Soak brown rice for half an hour and pressure cook it. Eat it with vegetables.
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.
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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
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.
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.
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.
23. 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.
24. Cow Milk:
Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk.
Add at least two to three glasses of cow milk in your diet.
25. 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.
All the above foods have been traditionally used to improve milk flow in new moms. However, while some have scientific backing the others don’t. Consume the foods in limited quantities, and note the side-effects, if any. Also, go for organic products as the pesticide residue in the foods and herbs can increase the lead content in your milk.
Now you know what to eat during lactation, but there are also foods that you should not eat around this time.
Things To Avoid:
Avoid gas-generating foods such as potato, pulses, raw mango and raw banana.
Other foods such as thyme, parsley, peppermint and cabbage leaves are also said to affect your milk production adversely.
If you are a vegan, take nutrient supplements to make sure that you and your baby are not falling short of the essential vitamins and minerals.
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