Breastfeeding is very important due to the numerous benefits it offers both the baby and the nursing mother. Most nursing mothers produce enough breast milk for their baby. However, in some cases, production of breast milk is limited or scanty.
Ideally, the average amount of milk produced by a pair of breasts is 1 liter per day while the average milk intake for a 1-6 months old baby is between 750-1050ml per day.
Breast milk is the natural source of food for babies under a year old. Breast milk provides the right amount of macronutrients, micronutrients, and antibodies for the baby. A baby that is breastfed is less likely to have allergies, constipation, skin diseases, ear infections, intestinal or stomach infections, as well as wheezing or respiratory problems. Furthermore, a breastfed child is less likely to develop; tooth decay, diabetes, as well as weight problems.
Breastfeeding is also beneficial to the nursing mother. It could help the mother; form a unique bond with her baby, find it easier to lose weight, lower the risk of diseases such as breast cancer, certain ovarian cancers, heart diseases, or osteoporosis; as well as delay start of her menstrual periods.
A low supply of breast milk can be caused by; certain hormonal changes, certain illnesses, taking birth-control pills, improper latching of the baby to the nipples, and nutritional deficiencies.
Inadequate breast milk can put your baby in serious nutritional and developmental disadvantage.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with low supply of breast milk;
- Ensure you stay hydrated all day by drinking a copious amount of water. More than 85% of breast milk is water.
- Breastfeed your baby with one breast and switch to the other breast only after the first is empty.
- Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol as these habits could limit breast milk production.
- Strive to frequently breastfeed your baby as the more times you breastfeed, the more milk is produced.
- Ensure you stick to highly nutritious diet and also strive to increase your calorie intake of nutritious diets.
- Try to improve your latching positions so that both you and your baby are comfortable.
- Also, avoid caffeine consumption.
- Ensure you are getting an adequate amount of rest.
- Ensure you are wearing the right size of bra as bras that compress your breasts could also affect milk production.
- Breast massage could also be done. It does not increase milk production but it would ease milk flow.
Below are superfoods and home remedies to increase breast milk production;
Oatmeal is one of the most popular breakfast meals and a home remedy that is recommended to mothers for increasing breast milk production. Although there is no proof or scientific evidence in regard to oatmeal and milk production the following points can be of help in explaining it better. Oatmeal is rich in iron. It is known that low iron levels in breastfeeding mothers can lead to low milk production, so taking foods that have high iron levels can help to increase milk production. Furthermore, oatmeal is a very relaxing meal for a lot of mothers. You find that anything that increases a mom’s relaxation also positively influences breastmilk production.
Breastfeeding mothers who experience low breast milk production can use ginger as a home remedy to support and promote healthy breast milk production for their young one. Ginger is a well-known power food that has so many health benefits and therefore it can be added to your diet for milk production. Fresh ginger, according to clinical studies, is recognized as safe for lactating mothers, but breastfeeding mothers are advised to consult a doctor if they experience any side effects after using it. For this remedy, boil fresh ginger root, thus, making a herbal tea that you can drink. Alternatively, breastfeeding mothers can add ginger to different side dishes.
Turmeric powder has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which makes it a home remedy antiseptic that is ideal for wounds. Many women cut the time of breastfeeding or fail to breastfeed their babies because of clogged mammary glands and swollen breast/nipples, which is usually very painful. Turmeric, when added to meals and consumed by nursing mothers, has demonstrated the ability to reduce breasts inflammation making it easier for nursing mothers to breastfeed their kids for a longer duration of time. Keep in mind that turmeric plant has been used as a home remedy for centuries in the treatment of inflamed tissues in the body, not only the breasts.
4. Holy Basil
Holy basil is another herb that has been used by nursing mothers to increase breast milk production. This herb has the ability to calm new mothers’ nerves and stimulate the flow of breast milk. Holy basil is also a great source of iron, niacin, thiamine, and carotene which are all nutrients that help to keep both the baby and mother free from disease and healthy for a long time. To use this remedy, you just need to combine finely chopped basil leaves with water and boil the mixture for a few minutes. Then remove and add a sweetener like honey for taste. Then, drink the concoction at least once a day for a few months after birth.
Garlic is also known as Alluvium sativum and it is a very popular ingredient that is found in numerous recipes all over the world. Furthermore, garlic is more than just a food spice as the numerous health benefits of garlic are well documented. Garlic stimulates milk production in mothers because its chemical compounds help in lactation of nursing mothers. You can add garlic in your soups and other meals. Alternatively, you can stir chopped garlic in ghee and take them with steamed rice once in a while.
Drumstick which is also referred to as sahjan or Moringa oleifera in different parts of the world is a green vegetable that is popular because of its essential nutrients. Drumstick has been used for years as a home remedy for breast milk production because it acts as a mammary gland stimulant and helps to unclog the veins around the breast to increase blood circulation, resulting to an increased breast milk production.
For this remedy, extract drumsticks fresh juice and drink half a glass once each day for one month. Alternatively, you can boil drumstick leaves with a cupful of water mixed with a pinch of salt and allow the mixture to simmer for one to five minutes. Then drain the water to be left with leaves, smear the leaves with ghee and eat this two times a day to increase breast milk production.
7. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds, also referred to khuskhus, are essential for nursing mothers because they provide relaxation during lactation. Poppy seeds have chemical components with sedative properties which when consumed help to calm down and relax the mind and body. When a nursing mother is calm and relaxed you find they increase breast milk production as a result. It is recommended that breastfeeding mothers include only a minimum quantity of poppy seeds in their diet. For consumption, you can roast poppy seeds and then add them to porridges and puddings.
8. Dill Leaves
Dill leaves are most commonly used for seasoning because of their ability to give ready-made foods a pleasant aroma and a special taste. Most often you find that nursing mothers have sleeping disorders, headaches, exacerbation of cystitis, and heaviness in stomach. Dill leaves are effective galactagogues (herbs for increased breast milk production) that are well known to fight the above illnesses. As a result, breastfeeding mothers have the ability to increase milk secretion and increase breast milk production when they are free of the above ailments. Dill leaves can be added to smoothies, juices, salads, side dishes, meat, and soups.
Anise, also referred to as Pimpinella anisum and sometimes called aniseed, is a well-known herb from the parsley family. Putting a few anise seeds into a rum cup and drinking was a traditional remedy for increasing milk supply. This herb has the ability to treat clogged ducts and other issues that are related to mammary glands, thus helping to maintain a constant and progressive milk flow. For this remedy, you can do away with a cup of rum and take the anise seeds directly for improved milk production.
Carrots are a well-known source of beta-carotene, which is a component that increases breast milk production. Also, you find that this nutrient that is got from carrots is very important for the general health and well-being of the newborns. This is the reason why carrots have been in use for so many years as a home remedy for breast milk production. For this remedy, you can make a soup or salad of carrots and eat them every day to increase breast milk production.
11. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are commonly used for flavoring and seasoning dishes. But historically, they have been used as a home remedy for increasing breast milk supply. For this remedy, you can chew the sprouted fenugreek seed along with a cup of milk for post-delivery constipation prevention. Alternatively, you can have fenugreek seeds for breakfast by mixing them with rice and seeds as a pancake.
12. Indonesian Torbangun
This herb is also referred to as Coleus amboinicus Lour and it has been used in the traditional Bataknese cuisines for a long duration of time. This herb was used most often by nursing mothers, in their first month of nursing, to increase the quality and quantity of breast milk. Torbangun has demonstrated lactagogue ability to increase breast milk production by up to sixty percent. The herb has also worked in different clinical trials to be more effective than vitamin B12 supplements and fenugreek.
13. Bottle Gourd
Bottle gourd is another galactagogue remedy for lactating mothers because of its ability to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration. This summer vegetable has very high water content something that keeps breastfeeding mothers hydrated all the time. Due to the properties discussed, you find that it helps in increasing milk production as a result. For this remedy, you can use it to make pudding or eat it as a vegetable filling.
14. Spinach And Beet Leaves
Spinach and beet leaves are a rich source of minerals such as folic acid, calcium, and iron. These minerals are very essential when it comes to recouping for nursing and anemic mothers. Spinach and beet leaves also contain chemical compounds that work as detoxifying agents, thus making the nursing mothers feeling refreshed and comfortable leading to an increased breast milk production as a result. For this remedy, you can include the mixture of these vegetable leaves in your midday soup.
15. Water And Juices
Drinking water and juices can be very important because they act as a replacement for lost fluids from your body, and helps to prevent dehydration. With nursing mothers, drinking a lot of water and juices can increase breast milk production in the long run. You find that water and juices increase total milk production per feed. You are advised to take a glass of water or juice when thirsty or before you start nursing your baby.
During pregnancy and after birth, you find that most women experience hormonal imbalances in their bodies. This can consequently make your body not to function well leading to low milk production for your baby. Consuming dried apricots provides you with nutrients that are essential for balancing your hormonal levels. Apricots are also very rich in fiber and calcium that help in boosting lactation. For this remedy, you can include walnuts and apricots in an oatmeal diet.
17. Goat’s Rue
Goat’s rue is a common herb in France and it also referred to Galega Officinalis. This herb has gained popularity because of its traditional use as a home remedy to improve breast milk production. Medical research findings have also cited this herb as effective in the development of mammary glands tissues.
This is another galactagogue that works similarly like the Goat’s rue herb. Alfalfa is a lactogenic herb that, when consumed, helps to develop and increase the mammary gland tissues resulting in increased milk production as a result. You can take this herb during pregnancy and after birth.
19. Brown Rice
Brown rice is another helpful home remedy for increasing breast milk production. Medical research has shown that brown rice can be of help in enhancing milk production. Brown rice helps to improve hormone levels, immunity, and mental health, which all positively contribute to a nursing mother’s lactation. Pre-germinated brown rice also provides breastfeeding mothers with energy after delivery and increase their appetite to enable them to feed on other nutritious foods.
20. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is another food that is very rich in potassium, a component that is very important for breastfeeding mothers. Nursing mothers usually have problems such as fatigue, which this energy-producing carbohydrate food is capable of fighting. Sweet potato also has magnesium which is also an important element for muscle relaxation. You can make sweet potato as a pudding for dessert or consume an apple smoothie with baked sweet potato.
Almonds can be used as a home remedy for milk production. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and polyunsaturated fat, which helps in healing itching effect caused by pregnancy stretch marks as well as boosting hormones that help in lactation. You can take crushed almonds along with milk for greater effectiveness.
Asparagus is another very important home remedy that is considered a must-have for breastfeeding mothers. Asparagus exhibits significant galactagogue activity. Asparagus is rich in fiber, vitamin A, and K which are all essential for milk production. Asparagus also works by stimulating hormones that are essential for lactation in nursing mothers. For this remedy, wash chopped asparagus and boil with milk, strain and drink the concoction to increase milk production.
23. Blessed Thistle
Blessed thistle, also referred to as Cnicus benedictus, is a popular herb that has long been used for improving breast milk production. This herb has potent nutrients which help to elevate the mood of the nursing mother, alleviate post-partum depression after childbirth and improve appetite as well as digestion. As a result, when this herb is consumed by nursing mothers you find that it leads to improved breast milk production.
24. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, is well-known as a great liver tonic. Traditionally, this herb has been used historically as a home remedy to improve breast milk production. Recently, clinical studies have further indicated that milk thistle has the ability to increase milk supply. Milk thistle works by helping to reduce the toxic overloads in nursing mothers, this help makes nursing mothers refreshed and relaxed leading to increased breast milk production.
25. Black Sesame Seeds
Black sesame seeds are very rich in calcium and these seeds also contribute significantly in improving breast milk production for nursing mothers. For this remedy, you are advised to blend sesame seeds with sugar, milk, and almonds. It also important to remember that limited quantity use is also recommended.
Barley is another galactagogue for increasing milk production in nursing mothers. Furthermore, barley water is diuretic in nature, as such, it helps to flush out toxins from the body improving the nursing mothers well-being. This helps in boosting lactation and also keeps the mother refreshed and comfortable. For this remedy, you can opt to boil the barley and take its water during the day. Alternatively, you can toss cooked barley with your favorite flavoring or vegetables.
Chickpea is a protein snack that is rich in fiber, B-complex vitamins, and calcium. When nursing mothers take this snack, they experience increased milk production within the first few weeks of administering this remedy. Chickpea helps boost lactation in nursing mothers which, in turn, increases breast milk production as a result. For this remedy, soak chickpeas overnight and boil them the next day, then mash them into a vegetable salad of your choice.
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