Most new mothers want to increase their breast milk supply because they feel that they are not producing enough milk for their baby’s requirements. This worry is more in the mind of the woman than something that should be a serious cause for concern. A lot of new moms have this concern; it’s natural, of course, because they want the best for their baby!
While nursing, the biggest aspect that should be taken care of is the diet of the new mother, as it not only impacts the amount and quality of breast milk produced but it also impacts the post-delivery recovery of the mother. It is necessary to consult a doctor while planning your postpartum diet so that they can balance out your nutritional requirements while keeping in mind which food enhances breast milk supply requirements.
7 Signs of Low Breast Milk Supply
Most mothers are worried about their breast milk supply and wonder whether they are producing enough milk for their little ones. After all, the amount of milk going into your baby’s mouth cannot be measured.
The best and easiest indicator of proper breast milk supply is to check your baby’s weight. You should take your baby regularly to the doctor and confirm his weight whether his development and growth are on track. However, it is common for most babies to lose weight immediately after birth. This aspect will be resolved within the first five or six days after the birth of your baby. By day fourteen, your baby could be back to the weight he was when he was born.
If you have concerns about your breast milk supply, look out for the following signs to ensure that you are producing enough breast milk for their baby:
- Is breastfeeding is comfortable and painless for you.
- Your baby likes to breastfeed often. Breast milk is digested quickly and your baby will want to nurse often. It does not mean that you are not producing adequate breast milk. Most babies will need to breastfeed at 1.5 to two-hour intervals or will have at least 8 to 12 breastfeeds in 24 hours.
- You feel your breasts look softer and emptier after each feed.
- You can track your baby swallow while feeding.
- Your baby will want to come off the breast on his own after he is done with his feeding.
- Your baby will pass urine at least 8-9 times in 24 hours. The stools will be light yellow and loose with some lumps. Babies fed only on breast milk your baby can either pass stools several times a day or only once in seven days. Both situations are considered normal for breastfed babies and you should not be worried about the same.
- It is also important to check whether the baby has latched on properly and to notice your baby the pauses take in between feeding. The look on your baby’s face can help you assess whether the baby’s stomach is full or not.
The following are not signs of low breast milk supply
- Fussy feeding in the evening time
- A decrease in the length of each feed
- Increase in the frequency of nursing
- No leakage from your breasts
- Little to no milk when you pump
6 Tips to Increase Breast Milk Supply
Here are some ideas that you can do to increase your breast milk supply:
- Your baby must feed the right way. If he is not able to latch properly onto the nipple or is in the wrong position, he will face difficulty during feeding. Other anatomical reasons can also result in improper feeding. The milk must be removed from the breast while feeding, to ensure that adequate breast milk is produced. If your baby is not able to do this, then you need to express the milk.
- Nursing frequently will result in the milk being removed from the breast properly. You should need to nurse your child for however long he wants to and at a frequency of 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Offer both sides while nursing. After he’s finished with feeding on one breast, offer the other side.
- You must avoid pacifiers and bottles because it can lead to nipple confusion that means your baby may find it hard to latch on to your breast if he’s used to sucking from bottles. You must give your baby only breast milk and avoid any other type of foods up to the age of 6 months.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet, drink lots of water and fluids, get enough sleep, and try to stay stress-free.
- You can use a pump to make sure that the milk is removed properly from the breast. The best and easiest way to ensure that the breast increases the production of milk is to stimulate the milk from the breast.
Top 30 Lactogenic Foods to Increase Breast Milk Supply
While there haven’t been enough studies to prove that these following foods have a positive impact on the production of breast milk, but these foods have been used for generations by lactating mothers and are effective to increase breast milk supply. These foods should be consumed as part of your daily diet, and not merely included as a supplement for increasing milk supply.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek leaves, kale, and mustard greens are a rich source of minerals such as iron, calcium, and folate. These veggies have plenty of vitamins and these are considered to help to enhance the production of breast milk. You should have at least one portion of green leafy vegetables on a daily diet.
2. Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds are known to help in digestion and relieve constipation, acidity, and bloating along with helping with lactation. They’re also packed with calcium and vitamins. Use cumin seeds in salads or soak them in water overnight, and drink this water to get the benefits.
It is good for controlling diabetes post-delivery while being a great source of energy. Oatmeal is a rich source of fibre, which has a positive effect on your digestive system. You can eat oats for breakfast or make healthy oats cookies. Nutritionists suggest adding oats to a lactating mother’s diet can beneficial to increase breast milk production.
4. Unripe Papaya
While boosting milk production, it can also work as a natural sedative that will help you relax. A mother can ingest unripe papaya by grating it into salads. It is considered to be a great galactagogue across different Asian countries.
5. Brown Rice
It is suggested as part of a new mom’s postpartum diet. It’s beneficial for lactation as it is believed to stimulate the hormones responsible for milk production. It is also highly beneficial to the mother because it gives her the energy she’ll need to take care of her little one and feed him too. You can cook brown rice in a pressure cooker or rice cooker and have it with vegetables.
Barley boosts lactation and help to keeps you hydrated. It is beneficial to incorporate grains into salads or soak them in hot water overnight, and then consume the water the next day.
Lentils are commonly used worldwide due to the presence of lots of minerals, vitamins, and protein. Add to this already super combination the presence of dietary fibre (found in some types of lentils) and you have an ingredient that is not only healthy in general but also helps greatly increase breast milk production.
8. Curry Leaves
Curry leaves are used in several Indian dishes. This is because these delicious curry leaves are known to boost melanin,n which help to improve blood circulation and increase your body’s ability to break nutrients down. They are also a great source of minerals that can help nursing mothers boost their lactation production.
In some parts of the world, it is considered a mega fruit. It is a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, citric acid, fructose and essential dietary fibres. Grapefruit is considered to be one of the most healthy additions anyone can make to their diet, especially a nursing mother looking to improve milk production.
Watermelon is rich in fibre, fructose, and of course, water. It keeps a mother hydrated, infuses her body with essential minerals and helps maintain or increase her breast milk supply. Staying hydrated by drinking water and consuming foods and fruits like this with rich water content can help mothers who struggle with lactation problems.
Beets are very nutritious veggie, beets are a blood purifier, healthy minerals and rich in fibre. It is theorised that along with helping boost milk production, beets also help in enhancing breast milk production with blood purification properties that will also benefit your baby.
It is a superfood that is rich in Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Along with this almonds contain polyunsaturated fats, make these nuts a superfood. You can eat it raw or find almond supplements to improve your milk supply. In many parts of the world, almonds are considered a great snack option because of their numerous health benefits. That’s why almonds are prescribed by doctors for nursing mothers.
Apricots are good to stabilize hormonal imbalances and should be consumed both before and after delivery. It helps with lactation and is also rich in fibre and calcium. Add apricots to your breakfast for a nutritious start to your day.
Carrots provide a great boost to lactation. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A which also improves the quality of milk production. Eat raw carrots in the form of salads or juice and have a cup in the morning along with your breakfast. Carrots are easily available anywhere around the world and are one of the best foods to improve lactation.
It is well known for preventing heart disease, boosting the immune system, and having curative properties. It can help to boost your milk supply, garlic can also affect the taste and smell of breast milk. But, it must be consumed in moderation.
16. Fennel Seeds
Apart from being used to increase milk supply, fennel seeds also help to reduce gas and colic. It is assumed that these benefits of the seeds will also pass on to the baby through breast milk. You can soak a teaspoon of it in a glass of water overnight and drink it in the morning or brew it in tea.
17. Sesame Seeds
When you thinking about what to eat to increase breast milk production, a lot of people suggest the consumption of sesame seeds. These seeds are a great source of non-dairy calcium, which is extremely important for your baby’s growth. After delivery, even the mother will need calcium for an effective and full recovery. You can use it in your daily cooking or make sweet dishes like ladoos with them and have one a day.
18. Dill Seeds
Dill seeds are rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium, making them an ideal addition to the diet of a breastfeeding mother to improve milk production.
19. Holy Basil
Holy basil or tulsi has been used for generations by lactating mothers to improve milk supply. It is also known for its calming effect and promoting healthy bowel movements and a good appetite. You can take tulsi in the form of tea that will help you relax.
Bitter Gourd is highly nutritious. It has a high water content that will help to keep the mother hydrated. It is also easy to digest and helps increase the supply of breast milk. While you may not like the taste of it, but you can always find ways to make it more palatable.
21. Sweet Potato
It is rich in carbohydrates that are important for providing energy to breastfed the mother. It is a great source of Vitamin C, B-complex, and magnesium. Sweet potato Can be cooked in a variety of ways, in both, savoury and sweet dishes.
22. Drumsticks or Moringa
Drumstick is highly rich in iron and calcium, drumsticks are believed to aid in increasing milk production. Therefore, including a drumstick in your lunch or breakfast meals can help ensure that you’re lactating sufficiently. You can have fresh moringa leaves to garnish your food or have capsules of moringa tea to avail of its benefits.
When considering what to have to improve breast milk production, people often overlook the water. Staying hydrated is important to improve milk production, so remember to drink plenty amount of water throughout the day. Drink each glass of water at intervals, instead of having a large amount in one go.
Milk is naturally rich in folic acid, calcium, and healthy fats, which helps increase milk production but also ensures that the milk is nutritionally balanced for your baby. Ensure that you drink a glass of milk twice a day to increase breast milk production.
It is a superfood in its own right, rich in protein, and fibre. It is healthy for anyone, but Vitamin B’s complex properties and calcium in chickpea can help boost your breast milk production.
26. Green Tea
Green tea is flush with minerals and antioxidants that help the body relax. Drinking a glass of green tea each day will purify your system. It also helps in blood circulation and cholesterol, and in some countries, it is thought to significantly help to boost breast milk supply.
If you can access fresh salmon, then you should add it to your diet. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids or EFA, which are help with lactation. It will make the milk produced more nutritious. You can consume salmon in many different ways – steamed, grilled, or pan-fried.
Tofu is a superfood packed with calcium, vitamins minerals, and a lot of protein. It is commonly used in the East Asian region to help increase lactation. Making a stir-fry with tofu, lentils, and green leafy veggies will ensure you have a balanced and lactation-friendly diet. It will also keep you extremely fit and healthy.
This is a high-fibre food rich in Vitamin A and K. Asparagus stimulates the hormones responsible for lactation. Steam it lightly or sauté in a pan with another veggie for a tasty meal or snack.
30. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds have been used for increasing breast milk production. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your baby’s brain development. You can also use fenugreek leaves, as they are rich in nutrients like beta-carotene, calcium, iron and Vitamin B. It can be added to tea while brewing it or can be used in the preparation of savoury dishes.
Why It’s Important to Stay Stress-Free During Breastfeeding
Stress is one of the major causes of low breast milk supply. If you’re suffering from any kind of postpartum depression, this can add to your problems. In this case, you need to seek the help of a mental health specialist. Apart from it keeping communication lines open between your partner, caregivers, and doctors will make your life a lot easier. It is also suggested that you meditate and find activities that keep you calm.
Remember, when you planning a diet to stimulate lactation, you must also need to consider that your body has other needs. You must maintain a balanced and healthy diet with different elements to help boost your breast milk supply. Your entire diet should not only focus on increasing breast milk production. Ensure you talk to your healthcare provider regularly about your health and seek the help of a nutritionist to help you craft out a diet that will meet all your daily needs. Also, only making changes to your diet isn’t the thing you should do. Healthcare professionals suggested that at least 30 minutes of daily exercise help to boost the mother’s immunity and to help the blood circulate properly.
Support from your partner and other members of your family will also help you sail through the period of breastfeeding smoothly. It’s highly advised to exclusively breastfeed your baby till 6 months of age and to continue to breastfeed him till the age of two.