It is a common worry that all new mothers have; do I lactate sufficiently to satisfy my newborn? I also worried about it a lot and am sure you must have done too. I even remember that every few weeks, I would be convinced that I was not producing enough milk and that my infant daughter was going hungry. I would read over the Internet, ask friends and family and accordingly changed my diet and eat more stuff that increased milk supply.
Are you experiencing this too? Don’t worry. There are several foods to increase your milk supply.
Seeds and Greens
- Dill: Soak these seeds in water overnight and boil them the next morning. Strain the water and consume it warm. It tastes yuck but is excellent for a lactating mother. You can eat dill subzi too.
- Fenugreek: Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight and swallow these soft seeds the next morning. Also, add these seeds in tadka. If in season, eat fresh fenugreek leaves.
- Cumin: Dry roast cumin seeds and grind them into powder. Take it with water.
- Fennel: Fennel is sweet and can be taken as a mouth freshener too. It also helps in bloating in mothers and colic in infants.
- Carom (Ajwain): Roast carom seeds and grind into a powder. Mix powdered sugar in it. You may also add finely sliced almonds for flavour.
- Talmakhana (Lotus seeds): cut them and roast them in ghee and sprinkle some salt and ground black pepper. Alternatively, you can also make kheer out of it.
- Muskmelon seeds: pop out the seeds from the kernels and roast them in ghee. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Yellow moong dal:
I remember this was the only dal (pulse) that I was allowed to consume for 40 days of confinement. By the end of the period, I had developed such a strong repulsion to this dal that I hadn’t touched it for the next 2 months. But again, it’s awesome for your milk supply.
Sabudana (Sago): Surprised? I was too. But it’s very good for lactation. Consume sabudana as khichdi or kheer. That it is yummy is an added advantage.
Oats: Keeps you full too.
Drumsticks: Boil drumsticks in water with little salt and turmeric.
Leptaden Tablets: Take 3 green-colored tablets thrice a day initially and then slowly reduce it to 2 tablets twice a day. I remember taking these for 6 months.
Satavari: Try Zandu’s Satavarex powder mixed in warm milk.
Non-vegetarian Food: Egg whites, fish, chicken, liver etc. aid breast milk supply.
And this one’s my grandmother’s recipe which is rich and full of wholesomeness.
In a pan, add some ghee, sauté carom seeds, ground almonds, poppy seeds (khus khus) shredded coconut for a couple of minutes. Add one cup of water. Now add some jaggery (molasses) and ground black pepper. When the jaggery melts, take it off the gas. Consume it while it’s still hot.
It makes you feel warm and good about yourself.
Some Dos and Don’ts for breast milk supply:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, drink a glass of water before you start breastfeeding or expressing.
- Use a warm compress on your breasts before the feeding session; it will increase the breast milk supply.
- Use an electric breast pump (I had used Medela’s and it’s wonderful).
- Don’t stress yourself if at one time you observe a reduction in the milk supply. Sometimes, external factors like lack of sleep, dehydration and stress can cause that.
- Don’t diet. You can always do that once you stop nursing your child. If at all you want to start one, consult a nutritionist for a lactation-friendly diet.
Some tips to remember:
- Clean your nipples with a warm wash cloth before and after each feeding session. It reduces the chances of nipple infection.
- If your baby is crying, you may experience a let down reflex. A new mother’s nerves are so finely tuned to her baby that sometimes when the mother sees or hears her baby crying or even if she is thinking about her baby, a mother can feel the milk flowing out of her breasts. It’s true and it happens.
- The more you feed or express, the more your body produces milk.
- Give yourself a couple of hours break after every feeding session (whether breastfeeding or breast pumping).
- If your baby’s sleepy and doesn’t take your milk for a long time, express it yourself or else your breasts will feel like a hard lump and hurt a lot.
- Even after all these remedies, if you are not producing enough milk, there is no shame in acknowledging it. Some women just can’t, that doesn’t make you less of a mother. Talk to the pediatrician immediately and start top feed for your child.
Whatever said and done, apart from a good healthy diet, milk supply also depends a lot on your physical well-being and healthy frame of mind. Hence, exercise regularly, sleep well and be stress-free and see yourself milking like a cow.
Do you have more remedies that boost breast milk supply? Do share it here.