The other day I got a message from my dear friend Natasha. She was blessed with a baby boy one month back. She was experiencing a lot of issues while nursing. Her son was feeling hungry even though she nursed him for 30-40 minutes at a stretch. As a nursing mother she had a lot of questions on how to increase breast milk and she was also worried that may be her breast milk is not enough for her baby.
There are many moms like Natasha who are very concerned about their little ones growth and wish the best for them. There are many effective ways to increase lactation. Some of them are mentioned in this article.
How to increase Breast Milk
We are going to list lot of ways to increase breast milk after delivery. The remedies mentioned below will definitely answer your question i.e. how to increase breast milk supply. some of remedies are very simple and related to your food habits. Little change in your food habit will change a lot. so lets go through to learn more.
Effective remedies to Increase Breast Milk Supply
If you suspect that the breast milk supply is less then you can follow the below mentioned remedies. Many a times it possibly happens that we simply assume that the milk supply is less when actually it is not. We are too concerned about the baby and get extra worried.
1) Frequent nursing is the key
Believe it or not, Lactation is a demand and supply procedure. Production of milk is higher if the baby drinks more. Make sure you nurse the baby after every two hours.
2) Switch both Breasts
Let your baby drink from both the sides every time you feed him. Let the little one finish one breast first and then switch to the other side.
3) Be relaxed
Feed yourself well and get relaxed. Spend some time just nursing your baby for two to three days and do nothing else. Consume well balanced diet and more liquids.
4) Avoid nipple shields/Pacifiers/Solids
Avoid using pacifiers and nipple shields to increase breast milk. It is good to avoid supplements, unless it is recommended by your doctors. Good to avoid feeding baby water, solids and formula.
5) Stay away from alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol and Smoking are harmful during pregnancy and also nursing. They affect and reduce the breast milk supply. These substances can also pass into your baby’s system through breast milk and trigger developmental problems.
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6) Check your Medicine intake
If you are taking medications, find out from your doctor if they can interfere with your milk production. Avoid using hormonal contraceptives right after your delivery.
7) No tight/loose bras
Wearing a tight bra that puts pressure on your boobs or one that is tight around the band can interfere with the milk flow. A wrong bra can clog ducts, blocking lactation.
8) Breast massage
You can loosen the milk ducts by massaging your breasts gently. It does not increase breast milk production but will allow the milk to flow easily. Massage gently on the breasts ending towards the nipple and do it yourself as you can feel the correct pressure. Now let your baby suck. Then massage on the other side.
9) Use a pump
Use pump in between or after feeding to maintain the milk supply. Pump for at least two to five minutes every time.
10) Nurse skin-to-skin
This technique promotes bonding and helps in releasing more milk producing hormones. Go skin-to-skin while nursing. Take off your clothes from the upper part of the body and leave your baby in a diaper, while nursing. Wrap a blanket covering both of you together and begin breastfeeding.
Milk supply can increase based on Diet of breastfeeding mothers. The most common query that nursing mothers have is what they should consume post delivery that can help in boosting the milk production. Because whatever you eat has a lot of impact on your recovery post delivery. And it also directly affects the quantity of milk produced.
Following are signs, your baby is getting enough feed
- Breastfeeding feels painless and very comfortable.
- Your breasts feel emptier and softer after feeds.
- Baby feeds for minimum six to eight times and is satisfied post a feed.
- You observe your baby swallow when feeding.
- When finished baby comes off the breast automatically.
- Baby urinates minimum seven times in a day and stool is yellow curd like consistency.
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Still, If you think that there your milk supply needs to improve than there is a list of foods to increase breast milk that you may include in your meals. Milk stimulating foods are called galactagogue. These are best foods which assist in increasing production of breast milk and also make you fit and healthy.
20 Best Foods to increase Breast Milk
Fennel tops the list of food to increase breast milk because it is the most effective one to boost the quantity of breast milk production. You can sauté it, add into a soup, or toss into a salad. You can also boil fennel seeds with milk and have. Fennel is full of phytoestrogens which are very healthy. If you have an upset belly than fennel is also an excellent digestive agent.
They are known for enhancing breast milk quantity and are a super food for lactating mother. Use fenugreek seeds in vegetables, curries as seasoning & flavoring. You can also chew the sprouted fenugreek seeds with some milk which helps to prevent constipation post-delivery. Other option is Mix fenugreek seeds with rice and prepare pancakes for breakfast.
3. Carom Seeds
This is more commonly a digestive aid which helps in stomach ache and also gives relief from constipation and gas troubles. If you are thinking on how to improve breast milk than you can use it to enhance milk production as well.
- Have one teaspoon of carrom seeds, with a pinch of salt and then drink a glass of water.
- Use Ajwain seeds boiled water to drink.
4. Raw Papayas
Papayas are known for increasing breast milk supply. It is used as a natural sedative agent. Makes you feel relaxed due to which your baby gets feuded better. Eat papaya raw with yogurt, cereal or in combination with other fruits.
5. Beet and Spinach Leaves
Beet and Spinach leaves contain calcium, folic acid and iron. If a nursing mother eats spinach regularly it helps in making baby strong. They contain a lot of iron and folic acid which helps to recover anemic mothers and also prevents breast cancer. You can incorporate spinach in daal, paratha, or simple soups. Make sure you don’t go overboard with spinach as it can cause diarrhea in babies.
Using garlic in food not only makes it delicious but it also enhances milk supply. Garlic is used by new moms for many years to enhance the milk production. Garlic tablets are also commercially available without any aftertaste.
- Helps in lactation due to presence of many chemical compounds.
- Cancer can be prevented by Garlic consumption.
- Stir fry a few garlic cloves and toss in your soup.
- You can also stir fry a few cloves of garlic in ghee and eat it with hot steaming rice. Do this on alternate days.
Carrots are very healthy carbohydrates source, beta-carotene and will enhance your potassium levels. Snacking carrots is can help in loosing that baby weight. It also has Vitamin A that surely boosts lactation hormones. So how to increase breast milk using carrots.
- Peel and cut some carrots and store in your fridge for quick snacking.
- You can have carrots sticks with low-fat yogurt dip or as the snacks.
- Drink carrot juice for breakfast, lunch and it will promote lactation.
- Have carrots raw, boiled or even add a puree to soups.
8. Black Sesame Seeds
Breads with sesame seeds in it taste delicious, and enhance your milk production. For those having sweet tooth, make some delicious halwa but don’t eat more of it since it also has sugar. Tahini is a delicious buttery paste made of sesame seeds that you can add into recipes and sauces.
Turmeric is very powerful spice and is widely used in kitchen and for its medicinal properties. It’s an anti-inflammatory spice that treats many diseases. Very popular for its antiviral, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Turmeric also helps nursing moms to prevent any kind of breast infections.
- Put ½ tsp turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk.
- Add turmeric powder in vegetables/ curries.
For successful breastfeeding one should hydrate themselves and have as much fluids as possible. You don’t have to drink buckets of water. But ensure to Just keep a bottle of water near you so that you have water to drink when thirsty. Also drink around a liter of fresh juice everyday. It will provide you lot of energy. Drinking water increases the overall milk volume. It prevents from dehydration, also replaces fluid which is lost while lactation.
Barley boosts lactation, and keeps you very hydrated. Boil barley well and drink the water throughout the day. Mix barley with your favorite vegetables and add flavoring.
No doubt asparagus is a power-house food to increase breast milk in nursing mothers. This green vegetable has a high content of fibre, vitamin A, C and K. Since it stimulates lactation hormones.
- Wash and cut asparagus, boil it with the milk, sieve and drink which will help you in better and healthier milk production.
- You can have grilled or steamed asparagus.
Yogurt is a source of getting probiotics. It has high amount of calcium, protein, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin B-12. Regular consumption increases the immunity. Also it promotes a healthy digestive tract. For nursing mothers, it helps to retain protein and calcium in body. Nursing mom should consume yogurt daily.
- Make yogurt smoothie.
- Eat a bowl of fruits with yogurt.
14. Brown Rice
Brown rice increases lactation in nursing moms because it has presence of hormone stimulants. It provides nursing moms that extra stamina which is essential post delivery. It also helps in increasing the appetite. Cook brown rice and Eat it with your favorite seasoned vegetables.
Oatmeal contains fiber and easy to digest. It is a great source of iron. Start your day with a bowl of Oatmeal. Oatmeal is a comfort food for many women. Simple Oatmeal porridge can be prepared in less than 10 minutes.
- You can make oats idly or oats poha, chilla.
- Try making Oats smoothie.
- Oats porridge is the easy solution for moms. Have a bowl of oats with a glass of milk.
- You can bake oatmeal cookies or cakes to munch during nursing.
Hormonal imbalance does take place during pregnancy and even after delivery in your body. Eating apricots will boost your breast milk supply. They contain calcium, fiber and Vitamin A & C. Presence of certain chemicals in dry apricots serves as a good option for balancing your hormone levels.
Not only does salmon promote lactation but also is a rich source of omega-3 and essential fatty acids which are both great for the health of mother and baby. Salmon helps to increase breast milk and also makes the milk extra nutritious. Include salmon in your meals and it would boost your lactation.
- Try pan fried, grilled or steamed Salmon.
- It can be also taken in curry form with brown rice.
18. Bottle Gourd
This vegetable is highly nutritious and breast milk inducer. It has high content of water. Bottle Gourd helps to keep your body hydrated. It is also simple to digest plus enhances lactation. If you are wondering about how to increase breast milk using bottle gourd.
- Try making bottle gourd desserts like pudding, burfi.
- Make juice of bottle gourd by adding some lemon and a bit of mint.
- Consume in the form of vegetables, stir fries or curry.
19. Sweet Potato
It is rich in Vitamin A which helps to increase breast milk supply. It contains phosphorus, vitamin B1 & B2, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, dietary fiber, copper, and vitamin B6. Sweet Potatoes contain iron and promote healthy digestive system. It also contains energy-producing carbohydrates which are needed against fatigue.
- Make a shake of boiled sweet potato and apple.
- Use it in your puddings and eat as dessert.
20. Khuskhus/Poppy seeds
This one is one of the ancient foods to increase breast milk. Poppy seeds help to relax your body and mind while nursing. They have several sedative properties to calm you down. It is vital for the nursing moms to be relaxed and calm during lactation. Make sure you are cautious while taking it and eat in a minimum amount. Roast the khuskhus and add to hot milk with some sugar or to porridges and puddings.
They are rich source of Vitamin E and Omega-3 which helps in lactation promoting hormones to help in milk production. Vitamin E heals itching due to stretch marks.
- Eat almonds and milk to see enhanced results.
- Add almonds in your oat meal bowl.
Above mentioned foods to increase breast milk are used traditionally. However, some of them have no confirmed scientifically supporting data. Eat the foods in moderate quantities, and look for any side-effects. Best is to go for organic produce to minimize pesticides in the foods.
Some more Expert Info on Lactation. Understand the process as it will be helpful to increase the milk supply. It will be answer to your question, how to increase breast milk.
a. Know the steps for healthy lactation
Our body will react to child’s milk demands quickly and produce milk as mentioned below:
- Milk comes because of the strong pull experienced when baby starts sucking.
- Brain automatically will get the message.
- Brain will release the hormone Oxytocin responsible for milk ejection.
- It flows in your blood and your breast muscles.
- Milk starts flowing out of the breast due to induction from hormone Prolactin.
- Start feeding your baby.
b. Lactation Time signs
It is so surprising to see the body getting ready just when baby starts getting hungry.
- You may start feeling a tingling in breasts.
- When you hear that your baby is crying due to hunger, you will feel a sensation in breasts.
- You will experience a discomfort and fullness in breasts when you cross feeding time.
- Women may also automatically begin leaking milk during feeding time.
c. Smooth Lactation tips
- Nurse your little baby in quiet and calm place.
- Stay calm.
- Start following the diet mentioned above.
- Wrap a warm cloth around breasts.
- After every session burp baby.
- Visit your doctor if any discomfort is experienced to your baby or you.
- Breast feed regularly.
- Don’t worry about weight gain. Feed yourself well. You can start dieting later.
Eat the correct amount of foods to enhance breast milk, take enough rest. Keep calm and stay relaxed which will help you. Use this nursing time to connect with your little baby. They will grow very soon, and you would dearly miss those breastfeeding sessions!