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Typically, a woman's body starts secreting breast milk right after the birth of the baby. However, there are a lot of factors that affect the volume of breast milk. This can either be genetic or environmental. If you are facing problems with the volume of your breast milk, there are certain foods which will help increase the flow of your breast milk. These foods are a safer option to increase your breast milk, rather than resorting to medications, that may have an ill effect on your baby.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies. So, this breastfeeding week let us take a look at the different types of food that help increase breast milk quantity.
Here are a few foods that will help you increase the quantity of your breast milk.
Garlic is a powerful food that is used since ages to boost milk supply in lactating women  . In fact, studies have also found that mothers consuming garlic have their baby sucking at their breasts for a longer time.
2) Fennel Seeds
These power-packed seeds are very useful in boosting milk production in lactating mothers  . They also help resolve digestive disorders in both the mother and the baby. Chewing on them raw after your meals is the best way to consume them.
3) Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper and calcium. They help increase the amount of breastmilk produced by the mother if consumed daily  . They can be widely used in your everyday cooking as sprinkles on top.
4) Carrom Seeds
Carom seeds are widely used in our country as a natural means to boost milk supply in new mothers  . They also help reduce the instances of colic in the newborn baby, which is often the reason for their crankiness. You can soak a teaspoon of carom seeds overnight and consume them in the morning.
5) Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek is known to be a wonder ingredient when it comes to increasing breast milk in women  The herb contains powerful ingredients that directly help stimulate the lactation glands in women. You can make fenugreek tea by soaking a teaspoon of seeds overnight and boiling them in the morning.
6) Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds or jeera are widely used in Indian cooking. But did you know that they are an excellent natural remedy to boost milk supply in women? Rich in iron and other essential minerals, jeera can help you if you are suffering from low milk production post delivery  .
7) Dry Fruits
Dried fruits contain the right amount of natural sugars and fatty acids that help stimulate the production of milk in women  . In fact, dried fruits have always been given special importance in the diets of mothers post delivery for the very same reason. They also contain trace minerals which help heal the body after pregnancy.
8) Bitter Gourd
Though most of us abhor this vegetable due to its bitter taste, it can indeed help boost your milk supply  . Bitter gourd is a rich source of folate, dietary fibre and phytonutrients. It is also full of vitamins A and C. A simple bitter gourd stir fry will help you consume the vegetable without enhancing its bitter taste.
Oats have all the goodness that helps boost milk production in lactating mothers. Full of iron, calcium and fibre, having a bowl of oats with milk for breakfast is a definite way to increase your milk supply  .
10) Olive Oil
Every breastfeeding mother has been advised to stay away from fried foods while breastfeeding as they have a negative effect on your milk supply. However, food made with olive oil is considered to be healthy for lactating mothers  . Just substitute your regular oil with olive oil in your cooking and you will notice a boost in your milk supply.
11) Basil Leaves
Basil is considered to be a holy plant and is found in all Indian courtyards. The high amount of vitamin K is said to help stimulate the milk glands in a lactating mother, thereby increasing the milk supply  . Just boil a few fresh basil leaves in water and consume this tea everyday.
Spinach leaves are rich in iron, folate and vitamin K, some of the most important nutrients required by the mother's body to increase the milk supply  . Being a versatile vegetable, spinach can be consumed in many ways. Make sure to include loads of it in your diet in order to increase your breastmilk.
If you are pondering over some perfect snacking options during breastfeeding, you may want to try hummus. It is predicted to be the perfect snack for lactating mothers due to the ingredients such as chickpeas, olive oil garlic and lemon juice being lactogenic. This makes it a perfect food to boost your milk supply  .
Papaya is a lactation-friendly fruit, full of enzymes and phytochemicals that help increase the breast tissue and improve lactation  . Snacking on this fruit will definitely help you relax as well as boost your milk supply.
Asparagus is known to boost milk supply in lactating mothers  . It is known to stimulate lactation hormones and also improve the digestion of the mother and the baby. Asparagus can be steamed before consuming to keep its nutritional values intact.
16) Brown Rice
Breastfeeding is indeed an energy consuming activity and mothers often fail to consume the required amounts of carbohydrates. Brown rice is rich in complex carbohydrates and phytochemicals  which help provide the mother with a continuous supply of energy for breastfeeding.
Peaches are known to be lactogenic, meaning they help boost milk supply in lactating mothers  . They are rich in calcium, fibre, vitamins and tryptophan which improve the prolactin levels in the body, thereby increasing the volume of milk supply.
Salmons and sardines are a rich source of essential omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to boost milk supply to a great extent. They also improve the quality of the milk, making it more nutritious to the baby  .
19) Bottle Gourd
Of all the gourds, bottle gourd is said to be extremely beneficial in boosting milk supply in lactating mothers due to its high content of water. It contains almost 96% water, which is essential during lactation  . Bottle gourd is a versatile vegetable that can be consumed in many delectable ways.
Barley contains the highest levels of beta glucan, a prolactin that helps in the production of breast milk. It is also full of fibre and helps supply the body with a steady stream of energy. Barley can be had in the form of juice.
21) Cow's Milk
Contrary to the popular belief, consumption of cow's milk during breastfeeding definitely helps boost milk supply in lactating women by helping to maintain the calcium levels in the body  . Moreover, there are a lot of other nutrients and healthy fats in cow's milk that improve the quality of breast milk as well.
Chickpeas are known to be a great source of protein and carbohydrates  , which provide a wholesome nutrition to lactating mothers. Therefore, chickpeas seasoned with a few mild spices can help boost milk supply in mothers post delivery.
Controlled amounts of meat, especially organ meat such as liver, is extremely good for lactating mothers  . Meat contains that right amount of protein, which is passed on to the baby through the milk, ensuring its growth. Just make sure to stay away from red meat though, as it will have the exact opposite effect on your breastmilk.
Known to be the richest vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha linolenic acid, flax seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. They also contain certain phytoestrogens which stimulate the production of breast milk in mothers post delivery  . Regular consumption of flaxseed oil capsules may help boost your milk supply.
Quinoa seeds are whole grain seeds which are cooked like rice. They have been used in western countries to boost milk production. They are extremely high in good quality protein and iron, two essential nutrients to boost milk supply  . The super seed is really very versatile and you will find a lot of tasty recipes online that will make it easier for you to include it in your diet.
26) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in soluble fibre, healthy fats and protein along with trace minerals such as copper and magnesium  . These seeds also pack a punch of antioxidants. These qualities make it a perfect food to consume if you want to boost your milk supply. Chia seeds can be mixed in your daily smoothies or porridge and consumed every day.
27) Sweet Potatoes
The vitamin A and beta carotene content in sweet potatoes make it an ideal food to consume if you want to boost your milk supply. These are also full of vitamins B and C. The magnesium found in them works as a muscle relaxant, which directly results in increased milk production in lactating women  .
28) Dark Green Vegetables
Dark greens like broccoli and kale are indeed the best foods to consume during lactation. They are nutrient rich and these nutrients pass on to the baby along with your breast milk  . Moreover, they also help boost your milk supply if you are running low. The high amount of phytoestrogens in them, help stimulate your milk ducts to produce more milk.
Alfalfa is the highest natural source of phytoestrogens, which are known to increase breast tissue and hence boost milk supply  . Alfalfa sprouts can be added to make your salads more nutritious.
Water is very essential for your body to produce breastmilk. If you have been consuming all the above food in the list but not drinking enough water, you may see no change in the volume your breast milk. Not just plain water, you can consume liquids in the form of juices to keep yourself hydrated enough. Having enough water along with consuming foods that help boost your milk supply will definitely help you get the desired result  .
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