One of your first concerns after you’ve given birth has to be how you would feed your child. Generally, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed, as natural milk from a mother has nutrients and antibodies not found in formulas.
As a mother, one way to ensure that your body produces milk at its optimum level is to consume lactation food. These are ingredients that help increase your milk supply and reduce the chances of certain medical conditions developing later on.
Ingredients that help you increase your milk production are known as lactogenic ingredients. Some examples include ginger that increases blood supply to your milk glands, and fennel that reduces the inhibitory effects of certain hormones on milk supply.
Lactation Foods: Some Facts and Limitations
It is important to first understand a mother’s milk production process from a scientific perspective. Basically, in mothers that have just given birth, the baby’s suckling motion induces a hormone called prolactin to take up proteins and sugars in your blood and turn them into milk.
Another hormone called oxytocin then pushes the milk that’s produced down the milk duct by stimulating the cells around the alveoli to contract. This is called a let-down response.
You can optimize this process by providing your body with all the nutrients it needs to support the different hormone production as well as milk production.
On the diet side, it is also good to understand that incorporating lactation foods do have different effects on different mothers.
In some mothers, incorporating lactation foods and drinks into one’s diet will have a significantly positive effect on milk production and the let-down response. However, it isn’t guaranteed that all mothers will experience this as some mothers might not see any significant changes at all.
There are many different hormones and processes involved in milk production, and when you eat only one type of lactogenic food or drink lactogenic drinks, you may help optimize one type of process. That’s why it is important to take different types of lactation foods and drinks to get a comprehensive effect on the entire milk production system.
In addition to improving your diet to boost milk production, you have to also consider improving the many other factors that can cause a reduction
There are many other factors apart from food and nutrition that can affect your milk production. These include:
- High levels of stress
- Lack of sleep and adequate rest
- Long intervals between breastfeeding
- Poor suckling on the part of your baby, or poor positioning.
- Certain illnesses in the mother, such as high blood pressure, uncontrolled insulin-dependent diabetes and maternal obesity.
Some of these causes can be improved by lifestyle changes and obtaining the help of a medical professional or trained consultant.
How The Different Lactation Foods Benefit You
Researchers have found several common types of food that may help your body optimize its milk production. These foods provide the components your body needs so that all the necessary processes in breastfeeding can work to its full potential. Some of these food items include:
Garlic imparts a pleasant taste and aroma to your milk. This increases your baby’s latching process and encourages them to feed for a longer period of time especially during initial exposure. Their prolonged suckling movement is necessary for your body to generate signals for milk production.
In addition to boosting milk production, it also stimulates your breast muscles for milk expression, also known as the let-down response.
Moringa Oleifera is also known as the Drumstick Tree or Horseradish Tree, and its leaves are usually consumed in a powdered form. Moringa leaves can boost milk production and secretion by stimulating various milk production hormones.
Fenugreek seeds are often used in Asian cooking, and have been known for their medicinal value since ancient times. Fenugreek is also an ingredient that optimized milk production.
Fennel is a herbal plant, and its seeds are commonly used as a spice in cooking. Fennel reduces the effects of milk production inhibitory hormones like dopamine, while also helping smooth milk flow.
Ginger improves blood circulation around the mammary glands, thereby improving milk supply in general. Ginger is also a common ingredient in traditionally prepared meals for women undergoing their confinement.
Lactation Foods: A Conclusion
When you do try lactation foods, it’s always good to do so with the help of a professional dietitian. That’s why you can get lactation food Singapore here at ReLacto, which is supervised by our very own in-house dietitian, fully trained to ensure that you consume a variety of lactation foods as well as have a balanced diet.
Some examples of our menu items include Thai Style Steamed Fish with fennel and garlic, Fenugreek Fish Soup with Fenugreek and ginger, as well as Fennel seafood soup with fennel and garlic. All these will be delivered to your doorstep fresh and warm daily.