“Aiyoooooo, herbal soup again ah? Why can’t I have something else instead?” Surely, that has happened once or twice, right? Eating the same old thing day after day as your daily meals for lactation because that was what the doctor advised and that menu has since been set in stone.
We’ll let you in on a little secret…did you know that healthy, lactation-friendly food can also be tasty and can have variety? That’s right, we’re here to liberate you from your bland, repetitive meals!
Why Herbs and Spices?
It has been said that herbs like fennel, fenugreek, and moringa, among many others, traditionally, have the ability to boost milk production or reduce inflammation which leads to smoother milk flow.
According to a study done in the nineties and early two thousand, it was found that flavours and smells are able to cross through your breast milk which your infant can then taste. Researchers found that nutrients of foods consumed by mothers are not the only ones that are transferred to the breast milk, food compounds of flavour and smell as well were transferred to the breast milk. This was seen in a simple study where they noticed babies tend to latch longer than usual when mothers consume garlic before breastfeeding especially during the initial exposure.
Thus, adding spice and flavour to your diet will, more often than not, result in a more flavourful milk. This generally gives infants a more varied palette which, in return, helps you later on when they are weaning as they would have grown accustomed to a variety of tastes and flavours while breastfeeding.
The reason for this is that breast milk has compounds and smells that are influenced directly by your diet. So, if you eat a variety of cuisines they will learn the taste of it through feeding on your milk. As they are exposed to such dietary practices repeatedly, they will grow accustomed to it and by six months of age onwards,subsequently develop a preference similar to yours.
Be careful, though, as this could be a hard line to toe as if you ate fast food and sweet things like cakes very often, your child could develop a preference for those types of foods as they get older. Couple that with the fact that they have already started tasting food via the placenta while you were pregnant with them and that could make for a child who runs on pure sugar.
There have been studies which found if you ate a lot of fish, then there would be a higher concentration of Omega 3-DHA in your milk. It would then seem that there is a correlation between not just the taste, but also the chemical compounds
So, if it truly is the case that what you eat gets passed on to your baby, then eating herbs and spices when you are still breastfeeding may just be a good way to help provide your little one with all the nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants they need to grow up healthy and strong.
Still, we hope you do be careful with what you eat as it has been stated that spicy food affects the flavour of your milk. Then there are also articles which state that eating too much chocolate will lead to hyperactivity, irritability, and insomnia for your little one which could also lead to insomnia for you(from your baby keeping you awake).
It is best to keep a watchful eye on your baby as if they seem to accept and tolerate or even like the flavour of your milk with the spices, then there should be no issue. Likewise with the chocolates, coffee, tea, or caffeine. Do remember that babies are unable to process caffeine as quickly as you are which results in their restlessness, so, be mindful of how much caffeine you are consuming while still breastfeeding. A good rule of thumb is to stick with a maximum of 2 cups of coffee per day or anything equivalent to 200 to 300 mg of caffeine per day.
On the plus side, consuming herbs and spices while breastfeeding works to help you recover too. Of course, there will be some things that your doctor recommends you stay away from depending on your health condition, so don’t go wild and eat everything in sight.
At ReLacto, you can always let us know if there are any concerns regarding your diet that you would want us to take note of. Nevertheless, for starters, look for herbs and spices that promote healing like our aforementioned turmeric and ginger that are traditionally known to help to dispel wind from your body.
Every herb that we have mentioned earlier can be found in our very own breastfeeding diet plan menu. That is how much we believe in its ability to make healthy food that tastes good. We make all our dishes and meals with the planning and approval of our in-house dietitian.
We also strive to provide well-balanced meals that incorporate and strike a balance between both traditional and fusion as well as modern, contemporary dishes. Our award-winning chef is proud of our wide selection of protein-rich dishes including the “Impossible meat”. On top of that, for the environmentally conscious, we pack all our food in eco-friendly containers. For those who are breastfeeding, our menu is also breastfeeding-friendly.
If you or any of your friends are interested in learning more about some of the best lactation meals you can have while nursing, feel free to look through our breastfeeding diet plan menu here or ring us up at +65 6360 1000 or drop us an email here.