Nursing mums always have tons of questions running through their minds. The need to provide nothing but the best for your baby always drives you to the limit. In the process, self-doubt might creep in as you wonder whether you are doing good enough. Am I giving my baby enough milk? Does my body produce enough milk? How comes so and so got so much more than me? Am I eating the right kind of foods? These are the kind of self-doubt questions that race through any breastfeeding mum’s minds.
As a lactating mother, you need to be very mindful of whatever food you eat. And as the motherhood experts at MamaNatal say: healthy eating directly translates to a healthy life for your baby. Your health and that of your baby are intertwined at this stage of nursing. Anything you eat during these periods directly affects how you recover and how much milk you produce. When you eat “unhealthy” foods, you run the risk of transferring the effects to your bouncing baby; it renders the good baby bottle sterilizer you bought to keep infections away to be useless.
Finding yourself in these moments is very normal, so you need not get worried or stressed about it. You need to assess first whether the milk levels are indeed low. Sometimes it might just be a perception of the mind.
How do you increase your milk supply?
The trusted way of increasing your milk supply is to keep breastfeeding your baby. By breastfeeding him/her, the body responds by producing more milk to replenish the supply. As you breastfeed, milk producing nerves are stimulated to increase the supply to take the place of the existing ones. However, when Science still fails, you have the option of eating certain foods to boost the production of milk for your baby. These types of foods are generally referred to as galactagogues.
In this article, I am going to discuss some of these foods that I found after doing a very extensive research around the web. Some of them are naturally occurring while others you have to make yourself. I hope you will get the reprieve you look for by eating any of these or all of them.
A lot of research suggests that this is one of the best remedies for stimulating the mammary glands to release more milk. It contains phytoestrogens which elevate the production of breast milk. Just as it stimulates the sweat glands, it gives the same effect to mammary glands.
Preparing the remedy
- Soak a tablespoon of the seeds in a cup of water and let it stay overnight.
- The next morning boil the soaked seeds for a couple of minutes and sieve the solution.
- Drink this “tea” in the morning until there is an improvement in the milk supply.
There is caution though, diabetic and or asthmatic mums should not take this remedy.
Can water really be considered as food? Not really. It may not be a food, but it is necessary for the production of breast milk. When you are nursing a newborn and you do not take enough amounts of water, you become dehydrated, reducing the amounts of milk produced. Ensure you take the recommended 8 glasses of water a day to ensure your body has enough amounts of water to produce milk.
Barley may be synonymous with alcoholic drinks which inhibit milk production, but it is quite different from the drinks it makes. Barley in itself is rich in beta-glucan which increases the levels of prolactin. Prolactin is a breastfeeding hormone.
You can add it to stews,soups and even salads. If you love baking bread, you can add the flakes to the recipe. Another method is to use the same flakes to make homemade milk.
Losing lots of blood during birth is common. One loses essential irons as you lose blood. Studies show that the iron level and milk supply are co-related. One method of replenishing the lost irons is by eating iron-rich leafy spinach. The iron present in spinach is absorbed by your body and used to produce milk. Other foods rich in iron include: red meat, chickpeas and leafy greens
Some consider eating oats to be old school habits. Those who consume it over the time have realized increased breast milk supplies. Oats contain saponins which aside from being immune boosters, also influences pituitary gland to release milk-making hormones. You can bake oat cookies or have a bowl of oats for breakfast and experience the magic.
Garlic is mostly known for its medicinal values as many cultures use it. The culinary flavoring is also famous. Small amounts of garlic have lactogenic effects. A possible explanation has been that babies like the flavor in breast milk. Babies take more milk when they feel the flavor. A retrospective effect is that more hormones are stimulated to produce more milk to keep up with the consumption. Spice your meals with garlic and let the baby enjoy herself from increased milk supply.
- Lactation cookies
How about cookies specifically made to increase the breast milk supply? There are many recipes for making lactation cookies for nursing mums. They are very delicious, so you should watch out, so you do not over consume them and then have to deal with breast milk oversupply!
Asian cultures have used this fruit for centuries to boost milk supplies. They consider it a galactagogue. The mechanism by which it improves milk supply is still not known, but it does work. You can eat it raw, or with yogurt, thai soups and in noodle dishes.
There are lots of foods that lactating mothers can use to boost their breast milk production rates. You just have to find the right food that works for you as not all of them will do. There are those that produce allergic reactions, so you have to be careful. I have provided you with eight of the foods that I think will be able to work for you. I wish you all the best as you try to produce more milk for your baby.