According to latest studies, it has been proved that breastfeeding your newborn for the first six months after his birth leads to a higher IQ level in children. Children also gain the right amount of weight and receive immunity from diseases. To be able to breastfeed your infant properly, you must have sufficient supply of breast milk.
Are you enjoying your post-maternity period? Are you running short of breast milk? If you feel that you do not have enough breast milk to feed your infant, then, prepare yourself to take a special care of your diet. The good news is that there are various food items which will help you increase the production of breast milk and lactation. So, what to eat to produce more breast milk?
List of Food to Increase Breast Milk Production - 38 Lactation Boosters
Let’s take a look at the food items one should eat while breastfeeding to increase milk production. These breast milk increasing foods are guaranteed to help you have a smooth nursing period.
They are a calcium-rich food that also helps to feed mothers to increase milk supply to infants. Dates have a high fibre quantity that helps increase the amount of prolactin. You can include a few dates for your breakfast or have this yummy date and fig balls recipe as a snack. They also are a healthy snack when you crave for something sweet to eat, making it top our list of foods that help lactation.
These seeds are rich in calcium and also a great source of fibre, iron, phosphorous and magnesium. Sprinkle a few seeds on your boiled veggies and rest assured you will not encounter breastmilk supply problems.
Almonds are a wonderful source of calcium. As per experts, breastfeeding moms should take around 1000 mg of calcium per day to increase their lactation. You can nibble on them as a snack or enjoy them with milk to get a double whammy of calcium!
WATCH: Breastfeeding Tips On How To Increase Breastmilk Supply
They contain vitamin A and C and also help increase the production of prolactin hormones. This makes apricots one of the best foods to increase breast milk. You can enjoy them in this delicious preparation with chicken, another source of healthy protein.
This fatty fish is a perfect meal for lactating mothers. It contains rich protein and has a large amount of DHA - a type of fat which improves the nervous system of babies. Plus, salmon bones produce extra calcium - good for both you and your moppet!
It is advised to avoid consuming white rice during the post maternity period. Opt for brown rice instead. It has a lot of essential nutrients and is easier to digest, apart from contributing to lactation.
This is made of completely natural whole grain and is also a rich source of fiber and proteins. Consuming one bowl of oatmeal everyday will help you increase your supply of breast milk tremendously.
Surprised? Well, ghee provides a wide range of nutrients and helps strengthen the bones. Moreover, it also acts as an activator for breast milk. Not so bad after all, right?
Why not make a curry with drumstick leaves? They are a wonder ingredient for lactating mothers as they help open up the veins around the breast. This improves circulation and results in increased breast milk.
Consume garlic in the form of garlic rice, roasted garlic or together with a protein-rich food like chicken to stimulate the production of breast milk. It also helps improve your digestive system- a must during this period of recovery for your body.
They can be used in form of a mild curry with roughage-rich veggies. The proteins in them help improve the supply of breast milk. In fact, it has been proven that drumsticks have been fed to lactating mothers since Egyptian times!
Also known as sesame oil, this can be used as a base for cooking. You can saute veggies in this oil to help stimulate breast milk production. It has also been known to compliment the properties of other foods to eat while breastfeeding.
Eggs contain Omega 3 fatty acids which help the body to function properly. You cannot do without them in this recuperative phase when your body needs all the nutrition it can gather.
Consuming fennel seeds help increase the supply of breast milk. They are given to new moms to prevent the infants from gas and stomach pain. Consume either fennel water or fennel tea- you'll be glad you did!
Gourd Vegetables :
It is believed that including gourd vegetables such as apple gourd, bottle gourd and bitter gourd in your diet improves breast milk supply in new mothers. Time to say hello to this family of not-very-loved veggies!
Most Indian moms are familiar with carom seeds – or ajwain – as a great home remedy for stomach ailments such as stomachache, loose motions, nausea, etc. However, did you know that nursing mothers can benefit from carom seeds too? They helpins relieving gas and constipation problem, and also boost breast milk production.
Pulses such as red lentils help increase milk supply as they are rich in proteins. You can eat the daal you love best- they are all packed with nutrition!
Poppy seeds – also known as khus-khus – are used commonly in a lot of Indian recipes. The property of poppy seeds that make them an excellent food to increase breast milk is that they soothe and calm down an anxious mind. They also act as a very effective stress-reliever and help moms get enough sleep. You can consume dry roasted poppy seeds as a salad seasoning, or grind them and add them to your daily glass of milk.
No surprises here, for the goodness of beetroot is well known. They contain a great amount of beta-carotene which helps increase breast milk supply. It is also beneficial for the overall growth of your baby.
Pumpkin seeds are high on omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and alpha-linolenic acid. These are all good fats that aid in proper growth and development of your baby’s brain. Apart from that, pumpkin seeds are also loaded with proteins and dietary fibre, which are great for breast milk production.
Here's an interesting fact: it is said that if lactating mothers consume cinnamon, it improves the flavor of the breast milk. Now we know why baby looks so happy!
Anise – or saunf – is well-known to most Indians as a common mouth-freshener. However, only a few know the lactation benefits of anise. One of the best benefits of anise is that they help in clearing clogged milk ducts and increase blood circulation to the nipples, along with boosting milk production in the body.
NOTE: Remember that Anise and Star Anise are different things. DO NOT confuse between the two. Star Anise should be AVOIDED by breastfeeding moms.
Chia seeds are a simple yet powerful answer to the question ‘how to increase breastmilk supply’. One of the important components of chia seeds is omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for baby brain development. The also boost metabolism and can hence help you lose your post-pregnancy weight too.
The dietary fibre content of barley makes it an amazing food for breastfeeding mothers. Fibre keeps your digestive system clean, and your body free of bloating. Barley is also a high-energy food, which is important during the breastfeeding phase.
Dairy foods make some of the best foods for breastfeeding mothers because they have umpteen health benefits. However, two direct benefits of yoghurt include the calcium it provides your body (and your baby’s body through your breast milk) and the immunity boost it gives you (thereby boosting your baby’s immunity too).
Papaya does not directly have an impact on lactation. However, papaya is a great fruit to keep the digestive system clean and healthy. It relieves constipation. These benefits, in turn, give you a positive physical feeling, help to relieve stress, and thereby put you in a physical and mental state that is conducive to lactation.
Lactation hormones get a good boost from alpha and beta-carotene, both of which are components of Vitamin A. Since we were only school kids, we have been taught that the best source of carotenes is carrots, so stock up on these during your breastfeeding phase.
Asparagus makes it to our list of foods to increase breast milk because of its high dietary fibre content, and rich vitamin A and K reserves. The best part? You can munch on these as a snack at any time of the day! Just make sure you steam them.
Sweet potato is a power food when it comes to increasing breast milk supply because it is packed with all the good stuff like vitamin A, C, B-complex, plus minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, etc. All these nutrients are known to have a positive impact on lactation.
Lactation teas are tea preparations that are available in the market that help boost breast milk. Lactation teas are usually made of a combination of several herbs known to boost lactation and make breastfeeding easier. Common ingredients present in lactation teas include raspberry leaves, peppermint leaves, fennel seeds, etc. These teas are better than ordinary teas because they are usually preservative-free.
Breastfeeding and Diabetes – an Unlikely Connection
While we know breast milk has abundant benefits to offer to the baby, and the act of breastfeeding can do the mother a world of good too, recent research has linked one of the biggest lifestyle diseases to breastfeeding – type 2 diabetes.
According to this study, it has been discovered that babies that are exclusively breastfed for a minimum period of 4 months are more likely to stave off type 2 diabetes in adulthood, irrespective of their BMI at that point in time. However, the benefits are not just for babies – women too can keep diabetes at bay if they breastfeed longer (according to this study ).
Isn’t that great news indeed? There is a catch though. Your breastfeeding diet can grossly affect the situation, and even reverse it.
A research group from Purdue University in Indiana has discovered that a high-fat diet during breastfeeding can actually increase the chances of your child developing diabetes as an adult, while another group at University of Southern California has discovered that fructose from the mother’s diet can pass onto the baby and increase their chances of developing not only diabetes but also obesity, coronary and hepatic diseases. This is mainly because fructose is not a sugar that is naturally found in breastmilk, and so the baby’s metabolism is not used to digesting fructose.
The takeaway of all these studies put together is clear: breastmilk and breastfeeding have a close association with your and your baby’s health, and it is wise to modulate your diet during this period.