Breastfeeding is the most important way to ensure complete nutrition for your baby. It also helps in weight loss and aids the mothers’ well being by helping to prevent postpartum depression. While some women lactate well, there are cases where women find it difficult to produce sufficient breast milk for their baby. Nursing mothers often find it worrisome if they are not producing enough breast milk to support their baby’s daily feeding requirements.
Low lactation levels can be due to any medication the mother maybe taking, certain illnesses, intake, stress, hormone imbalance or even the inability to feed properly. However, it is best to address the issue in time to avoid malnutrition in newborns as breast milk is their primary food. Breast milk is also beneficial for their immune system as well as the neuro-brain functions.
Although you can opt for top feed for the baby, you can first try using home remedies to increase breast milk. Here’s how:
Fenugreek is one of the most effective home remedies to increase breast milk. The humble Indian ‘methidana’ is grandma’s medicine for increasing breast milk. Boiling Fenugreek seeds with dals will combat acidity and gastric problems too. Traditional methi laddus are made for this same purpose.
How To Use: Soak one tbsp of seeds in a cup of water overnight. Next morning boil this water with seeds in for 5-7 minutes and drink. It’s not tasty but yields miraculous results.
Fennel seeds (saunf), cumin seeds, black sesame seeds, garlic, and cinnamon when used in our daily food can augment lactation. This is because they are excellent galactagogues. Galactagogues are super foods known to boost lactation.
Fennel also aids digestion in mothers and offers relief from colic in infants. Cinnamon is known to delay menstruation, as it causes lactation. Cinnamon and garlic lend their special taste to breast milk, which babies like. The black sesame seeds, on the other hand, are an excellent source of calcium.
How To Use: Mix a pinch of powdered cinnamon with honey and warm milk or water twice a day for better results. Steep fennel seeds in a cup of hot water for 30 minutes and drink it up twice daily. Also, include roasted fennel in your daily cooking. Garlic can be had raw or cooked in your daily dishes. However, having 1-2 raw garlic pods right before feeding time can help increase breast milk supply.
This might also interest you: Breastfeeding Guide for the first month of baby
A very common ingredient of various South Indian dishes, drumsticks are full of nutrients and help to boost the supply of breast milk in women. It helps the veins of the breast to open up and stimulates the mammary glands, thus leading to increased milk supply.
How To Use: The best way to include them in your diet is to have drumsticks soup and juice.
This traditional herb has been used to boost milk supply in women since times immemorial. Loaded with niacin, iron, thiamine, and carotene, it helps to protect the mother and her baby from various diseases and infections.
How To Use: Make tulsi tea or kada and drink it twice daily after childbirth.
Your body is losing all the leftover blood postpartum and you also need fluids to breastfeed your baby. So it’s very important that you stay hydrated. Drink lots of liquids including water, coconut water, milk, lemonade and buttermilk since these will quench your thirst and help the breasts to produce adequate quantity of milk.
If you aren’t lactating enough and are experiencing pain then try compressing breasts with warm water pads evenly. Rotate and relax. Do this often. It could be due to engorged breasts. Also in case of cracked nipples, clarified butter (desi ghee) works best to heal faster and is safer than ointments for the baby.
How To Use: Soak a clean hand towel in warm water and then squeeze out extra water. Place this warm towel on your breasts for 3 to 5 minutes. Do the same for the next breast.
A free and rested mind lets the body behave and respond well to situations and in this case, ensure adequate lactation. Painful breastfeeding may mean that baby is not latching to the breast correctly. If it is painful, the bonding between you and baby at feeding times will not happen. Bonding increases feeding time, thereby increasing demand which actually helps in more breast milk production. For this you may need the help of a lactation consultant.
Watch this video of the best foods to boost lactation:
Dear mommies, you should also eat a diet high in calcium and proteins. Healthy mommy = healthy baby. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables, lentils, spinach and beet leaves, carrots, apricots and asparagus which will increase the quantity and quality of your milk.
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