Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Low milk supply can be highly bothersome for new nursing mothers. Since breast milk is the sole source of nourishment for your infant, it is essential to ensure that your body produces adequate amounts of it.
In most cases, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated will help replace the supply.
You may consider trying the foods below to improve your breast milk supply, boost your health, and enhance milk composition.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek leaves, and mustard greens contain phytoestrogens that may enhance breast milk supply. They are a good source of beta carotene and riboflavin.
They are also rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, and folate. It is recommended that women who are breastfeeding should eat one or two portions of green leafy vegetables every day to nourish the body and feel more stable and satisfied.
Cumin seeds are a versatile spice that forms an integral part of many Indian dishes. They are long known for improving digestion and relieving constipation, acidity and bloating.
What is less known is that they also stimulate the milk supply. Nursing mothers are advised to include roasted cumin seeds in snacks or drink cumin water.
Carrots can work wonders in enhancing the production of breast milk. They are an excellent source of vitamin A that not only complements lactation but also improves the quality of breast milk.
Lactating mothers can have carrots every day in any form either raw, steamed or juiced.
It is a general belief that dairy products are the only source of calcium. However, sesame seeds are a rare non-dairy superfood that is loaded with calcium.
Calcium is an important nutrient for lactation and for the overall growth of the baby. Perhaps this is why this is an integral ingredient in breastfeeding mums’ diets for many years.
Fennel seeds are a traditional remedy for increasing milk supply. Fennel water and fennel tea are traditional post-delivery confinement drinks to aid digestion and control baby colic.
Garlic is a wonder spice that is well-known for boosting the quantity of breast milk.
It contains a chemical compound that is long believed to increase breast milk. Add a few stir-fried garlic cloves to any vegetable to boost lactation.
Nuts are the most popular choices to boost lactation. They are believed to boost breastmilk production. Nuts are excellent sources of good fats and antioxidants.
Enjoy a handful of raw nuts such as cashews and almonds to help with your milk supply.
Ginger is one of the main ingredients in most of our Indian dishes. Among its many curative properties, it can also help with boosting lactation.
That’s because ginger is a lactogenic food. You may drink a cup of herbal tea made of thin slices of freshly peeled ginger root.
Fenugreek leaves and seeds have been used across cultures for many generations to improve the quality and quantity of breast milk.
The seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fats and vitamins that are good for lactating mums and important for your baby’s brain development.
Like carrots, they are rich in beta-carotene, B vitamins, iron and calcium.
Chickpeas can boost your energy by supplying your body with the nutrients it needs. They are loaded with protein, fibre, calcium and B-complex vitamins.
They act as excellent lactation boosters for nursing mothers. Soak a handful of chickpeas, soak them overnight and then boil them in the morning.
Include them in your veggie salad along with the lemon juice and garlic. This provides a delicious protein snack that can assist you in producing enough milk for your child.
Sweet potato is a powerhouse of potassium and carbohydrates. It is assumed to be an effective food to enhance lactation and help to ease the fatigue associated with breastfeeding.
Just one medium-sized sweet potato is enough to meet the daily recommendation of vitamin A for breastfeeding moms.
Oatmeal is a whole-grain food with an excellent lactogenic profile.
It is known to be a good source of beta-glucan (a polysaccharide) that has been shown to increase levels of breast milk in women.
If you suspect that your baby is not getting enough milk, despite following a nutritious diet, we recommend that you should share your concerns with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist.
Your healthcare professional may prescribe galactagogues (medication to increase milk production) and advice on strategies to manage to feed to increase your milk supply.
As an add-on, make a habit of taking preventive health checkups as they can help you in getting a complete insight into your health. This will also help you with taking measures to promote your overall well-being.