A common worry that all new mothers have – do I have enough breast milk supply 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 sufficient breast 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 specific foods to increase breast milk supply.
Here are several Indian foods to increase breast 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 greens 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 (Fox nuts): 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.
Split moong dal
I remember this was the only dal (lentil) 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, by consuming this dal you can increase your breast milk naturally at hom.
Sabudana (Sago) for breast milk: Does sabudana increase breast milk? It’s surprising, but yes. Sabudana is good for breast milk. Sago is a lactogenic food to increase milk production. Consume sabudana as khichdi or kheer during breastfeeding. That it is yummy is an added advantage.
Oats: Keeps you full too. Go for rolled oats instead of processed ones.
Drumsticks or Moringa: Boil drumsticks or moringa in water with little salt and turmeric before consumption.
Apart from food supplement to increase breast milk, here are a few ayurvedic medicines that can help you:
- Leptaden Tablets: Take 3 green-coloured 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. are some of the foods that increase breast milk supply.
And this one’s my grandmother’s recipe which is rich and full of wholesomeness and helps to increase breast milk production fast.
In a pan, add some ghee (clarified butter), sautée 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 instantly and fills up your tummy nice, not to mention it also gives a nice fuzzy feeling.
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 know of more foods to increase breast milk supply? Do share it here.