One of the biggest worries of a woman who has just given birth is her milk supply. So, to kickstart breastfeeding, it is recommended for a mother to start nursing as soon as she can after giving birth and to do it frequently for the baby to learn how to latch on properly. While typically the mother’s body will produce sufficient milk to match the baby’s appetite and need, sometimes women have a low supply due to different reasons such as:-
- Delay in breastfeeding
- Baby is unable to latch on properly, thus making it difficult for him to feed
- Medical problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, and hypothyroidism
- Mother’s intake of contraceptive pills
- Feeding baby based on schedule rather than the baby’s demand
How to Increase Breast Milk Production?
But not to worry, as there are some ways to help with the production of breast milk. Among them are:-
- Make sure your baby latches on properly and is able to suck the milk
- Feed your baby more frequently to meet his demand, as the more you nurse, the more milk your body will produce
- Ensure your breasts are emptied at each feeding session whether it is by feeding, expressing, or pumping
- Make sure that you have adequate rest between feeds
- Make sure that you have drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration
- Offering each breast to your baby during feeds twice
What Food Helps with Breast Milk Supply?
The steps above aren’t the only ways to increase your breast milk supply. Food plays an important role in lactation too. To further support production, you can consider adding these foods to your meals.
Ginger has the ability to allow the blood to flow easier. It has blood-thinning properties that help the heart pump blood as thinner blood makes it easier on the heart. With increased blood supply and better blood flow, milk production increases.
Fennel is a galactagogue that works by inhibiting the effects of certain hormones that adversely affect the production of breast milk. For instance, it counteracts dopamine which is a hormone that suppresses prolactin which is needed for breast milk supply. By doing this, it keeps dopamine levels low and prolactin levels high, making it a lactogenic ingredient.
Fenugreek is an herb that is small and tastes like maple. Anecdotally It is said to support breast milk supply in the early stages of breastfeeding. Some theorise that fenugreek helps to increase sweat production. Since the mammary gland is a modified sweat gland, this helps to increase breast milk production.
Green papaya has long been associated with breasts, whether it is related to size or growth. But that is not all there is to it. This juicy fruit promotes breast milk supply too, and it does so by increasing the production of oxytocin which boosts the production of breast milk. Furthermore, it stimulates smooth muscles that work to express breast milk, making the whole process of nursing smoother.
Another popular ingredient that helps with breast milk supply is moringa oleifera, or more specifically, leaves from the moringa tree. Not only is it amazing at positively affecting the production of breast milk by stimulating hormones needed for it, it is also full of nutrition and has been popularly used in Asian countries for hundreds of years with many mothers standing by its effectiveness.
Contrary to popular belief, garlic actually provides fantastic benefits to nursing mothers and babies. Sometimes irritating if in direct contact, garlic should only be consumed by infants via breast milk. What it does is give breast milk a rather pleasant smell and taste that encourages babies to latch on for longer periods and feed properly. This makes for easier introduction of breastfeeding to them.
Now that you know which foods are great for lactation, you might want to start incorporating them in your meals. You do not need to have every ingredient in every meal, but alternating between them would provide you with nutrition and improved breast milk supply. In addition, it helps to have a proper lactation menu plan as it ensures you having healthy lactation meals throughout the duration you wish to breastfeed.
If you feel it is such a hassle to prepare these meals for yourself or have a hard time getting these foods on a daily basis, why not look to ReLacto? We offer lactation food delivery for our healthy lactation meals that contain specially selected ingredients by our chef and dietician for the benefit of both mother and child. Among our best milk-boosting dishes are Fenugreek Fish Soup, Fennel Seafood Soup, and Braised Chicken with Ginger and Coriander Sauce. So if you ever need meals like these, you know where to get them.