Breast milk is the healthiest of all foods that a baby can get. It contains loads of nutrients from the mother's body, which is got from the food that the mother takes. It is believed that breast milk provides the power of resistance to fight any bodily issues that can happen to a baby for the rest of the lifetime.
Nowadays, there arises a number of cases where formula milk is opted for instead of breast milk. Some parents choose this for the sake of convenience, whilst there are others who are forced to choose it due to the reduced secretion of breast milk.
One of the reasons behind this issue is improper food intake. Other reasons can be attributed to the lifestyle and wrong techniques that are followed while breastfeeding.
Of all the reasons for less milk secretion, bringing about a change in the food chart can make a big difference. Nature has provided us with so many foods that are lactogenic, meaning those which stimulate the production of breast milk; and Indian cuisine already incorporates most of it.
It is only that these 24 foods mentioned below must be had in excess and quite frequently as long as you plan to breastfeed your baby.
Oats are rich in fibre and aid digestion. It is also a source of iron, which is essential for lactating women. The easiest to cook of all breakfast items, oats can be had in the form of porridge with some fruits, smoothies, and maybe even a cookie. A significant increase in breast milk production can be noticed on consuming oats.
The best of all Indian home remedies to increase the quantity of breast milk is to use fenugreek seeds. Dearly called Methi, it also gives a cooling effect to the body. The seeds must be soaked overnight, strained, and the water can be had on an empty stomach in the morning. One can also opt for fenugreek porridge made with brown rice and milk.
Iron levels in the body must be adequate for proper breast milk supply. This usually decreases post delivery and to balance it, spinach which is an iron-rich food is a good option. It is good enough to be had on a daily basis.
This magic spice is a must for lactating mothers. It is a staple in Indian cuisine, so special preparation for it is not necessary. Just pop in two or three cloves of it every day and increase the quantity of garlic in your meals. It really aids in a better milk supply.
All gourd varieties are good for breast milk production. But why specifically bottle gourd? This is because this vegetable contains 96% water and as already said, water is prime in breastfeeding. Bottle gourd induces lactation. It can be had in the form of juice, curry, or dessert.
Another set of fluids other than water is without a doubt juices and when it is fruit juices, many won't hesitate to drink it. Seasonal juices can be had considering the availability of fruits. Watermelon, orange, pomegranate, and the list can go on. It is good to opt for fruits with more water content.
The best way to ensure regular consumption of almonds is to have around 10 of them soaked overnight and consumed as the first thing in the morning. Almonds are high in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, which boost lactating hormones. Other nuts such as cashews and peanuts can also be had.
Barley is the richest source of beta-glucan that significantly increases prolactin. Prolactin is nothing but the breastfeeding hormone. Barley is also high in fibre and helps with hydration. Barley can be had in the form of a soup or just as barley water.
In addition to being a fruit that boosts lactation, apricot has the capability to even out hormonal imbalances that happen in the body - both during and post surgery. It is better to prefer dried apricots, as they can be had along with oatmeal porridge.
Milk is a powerhouse of calcium. Breastfeeding mothers should consume at least two glasses of milk per day. The more, the better. An interesting fact is that intake of cow's milk helps increase the quantity of breast milk. It also helps maintain the calcium level in the body.
Fennel seeds deal with bloating in the stomach very effectively, which is why it is had after a meal. An increase in milk supply can also be experienced with an intake of fennel seeds. Regular consumption can be assured by drinking water infused with these seeds.
Just like spinach, chickpea is also high in iron content. It also has B-complex vitamins, fibre, and calcium. An evening snack of boiled chickpea is a good way to include it in the food routine. Try having it as a hummus or soup too.
A research study says that brown rice is a lactogenic food. It contains hormone stimulants that help boost milk secretion. An additional health benefit of taking brown rice is that it keeps sugar levels in check and increases the appetite of nursing mothers.
Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which improves the quality of breast milk drastically. A glass or two of fresh carrot juice is suggested to be had with breakfast or lunch. A phenomenal difference in secretion can be seen in quite some time.
Moringa leaves are known to stimulate the mammary glands. This superfood is high in iron content and calcium. It can combat malnutrition in nursing mothers. One can either stir fry the leaves and have it with rice or take it as a soup or juice.
Basil leaves are nothing but the Indian Tulsi that is found in most Indian households. It has so many medicinal properties, as per Ayurveda. It aids in breast milk production. High in iron, thiamine, carotene, and Vitamin K, holy basil can be had as a tea once or twice daily.
Dates are a natural sweetener. It helps in maintaining the glucose level in the body of nursing mothers, which usually tends to decrease as the breast milk keeps forming. The elements of calcium and iron are high in dates, which help in milk production. Dates can be had as a snack or in the form of desserts.
Without a second thought, one can say that salmon is rich in omega-3 and essential fatty acids (EFA). Both of these are much needed for a nutrient-rich breast milk to be given to the baby. It is not advised to have any other varieties of fish, as one cannot be sure about the mercury levels that they have, which can be harmful for both the mother and baby.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium and probiotics. A healthy digestive system is ensured with regular intake of yogurt. Maintaining calcium levels in the body definitely adds to milk secretion without much hindrance and probiotics is also essential for a healthy body for both the mother and baby.
Eggs are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, calcium and many other nutrients that are needed for breastfeeding. Eggs also improve the quality of the milk. One or two eggs a day is more than enough to do the magic.
Green papaya is a traditional galactagogue according to the Asian culture. It is effective only when the papaya is not ripe, hence the name green papaya. It can be had with yogurt or cereal or as a salad.
Tahini, a dip used for snacks, is rich in calcium. It is made out of sesame seeds. This helps lactating mothers to a great extent by improving the quantity of milk supply. The oil of sesame seeds can be used for cooking too.
Sweet potato is good for nursing mothers, since it is high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene, which is also found in carrots, increases milk production. A soup out of sweet potato is a good option, or else simply cut them into wedges, roast and have them.
All the varieties of lentils, beans, and dried split peas are categorised as one under the term ‘legumes'. These are an intricate part of Indian cuisine, even then, one must take some extra effort and consume more of these, as they stimulate breast milk production. They contain a number of vitamins and minerals. In specific, red lentil is very good for a better supply of milk.