Breast milk is essential for infants’ growth. It provides the right nutrition that helps your baby’s development. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat. Which is basically everything your baby needs to grow well.
Unlike infant formula, breast milk is extremely easy for babies to digest, and it also has a laxative effect to help ease digestion. It contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
Furthermore, Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.
A study showed that breastfeeding also promotes a child’s cognitive ability and intelligence. Analyzing the findings further, researchers reported that babies who were breastfed for 12 months or more had higher IQs than their less breastfeed peers – thus encouraged prolonged breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding babies for longer time is not an issue for most mothers. This is because women are equipped naturally to produce sufficient breast milk for their babies. However, a small percentage of women struggle during breastfeeding to produce enough breast milk for their babies. As a result, some of them quit breastfeeding before they wanted to. And as you know, less breastfed babies can easily pick health issues that may cause frequent hospitalization.
So if you are a breastfeeding mom and for some or no reason, your breast stopped or not producing enough milk, here are some simple foods that can help increase your breast milk supply.
1. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds have been proved over the years across the world to be a galactagogue. This means that consuming these seeds will lead to stimulation of the lactation glands in women, thereby increasing milk supply. Fenugreek seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are important for your baby’s brain development. Fenugreek leaves can be used as well as they are rich in nutrients like beta-carotene, Vitamin B, calcium, and iron. Fenugreek seeds can be added to tea while brewing it or can be used in the preparation of savoury dishes. The seeds are also added to roti and puri. Since it is easy to consume and can be eaten in multiple forms, fenugreek seeds have been a blessing for new moms struggling with milk supply.
Apricots are great to help stabilize hormonal imbalances and should be consumed both before and after delivery. It helps with lactation and is also rich in calcium and fiber. Add apricots to your breakfast for a nutritious start to the day.
3. Green Papaya
Not only does green or unripe papaya boost milk production, but also works as a natural sedative which will help you relax. You can ingest unripe papaya by grating it into salads or get it in tablet form. Unripe papaya is considered to be a great galactagogue across different Asian countries.
Carrots provide a great boost to lactation and are rich in Vitamin A which also improves the quality of milk production. Carrots are also a healthy source of carbohydrates and will boost your potassium, too. Snacking on carrots is also a great way to help you lose some of that stubborn baby weight. Eat raw carrots in the form of salads. You can as well juice it and have a cup in the morning along with your breakfast. Carrots are available anywhere around the world and are one of the best foods to improve lactation.
Nursing mothers can get more vitamins, minerals, and proteins from moringa than most vegetables. Moringa amazingly contains 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants.
It has essential amino acids, carotenoids, and high contents of calcium and potassium. It has been scientifically proved that moringa powder increases the supply of the mother’s milk.
Therefore, adding moringa powder to your tea, smoothies, juice, yogurt or sprinkle some on your food can help ensure that you’re lactating sufficiently.
Note that excess heat destroys some of the vitamins and enzymes. So if you are adding it to soups and stews, it’s better to add it after cooking or before eating.
Milk is naturally filled with folic acid, calcium, and healthy fats, which not only helps with milk production but ensures that the milk is nutritionally balanced for your baby. Ensure that you drink a glass of milk twice a day to guarantee an increase in breast milk production.
Almond is a superfood rich in Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. The vitamin E in Almond helps to heal itching caused by post-pregnancy stretch marks while omega -3 helps lactation boosting hormones to help produce more milk. Having crushed almonds with oatmeal or milk works great! You can eat almonds raw or buy almond supplements to increase your breast milk supply.
Oatmeal according to Nutritionists is a healthy addition to the diet for mothers who wish to increase their milk production. It is rich in fiber, which has a positive effect on your digestive system. Eating a bowl of oatmeal with milk for breakfast each morning is one of the simplest ways to increase breast milk supply. Oatmeal is also great for controlling diabetes post-delivery and source of energy.
Pap, ( fluid made from maize, millet or guinea corn) especially with milk, is a natural breast milk booster for lactating mothers. It helps to stimulate breast milk production and it works best when taken early morning and late at night. Many mothers, especially in Nigeria take this food during breastfeeding to increase their breast milk supply. Pap in Nigeria is also called, Ogi Or Akamu.
10. Fennel Seeds
Apart from being used to increase milk supply, fennel seeds are also digestives and help control gas and baby-colic. It is assumed that these benefits of the seeds will pass on to the baby through the breast milk. You can soak a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a glass of water overnight and drink it in the morning or brew it in your tea. Another way you can have it is to boil a few seeds with milk and drink or pop in few seeds after a meal as a mouth refresher
Kunu is another Nigerian food that increases breast milk production. It is made from grains guinea corn, millet, tiger nuts, and little sweet potatoes. The drink also contains sugar and some ginger. Kunu is a nutritional drink that breastfeeding mothers can take at any time of their choice.
Water, as you know, is somehow not a food, but an essential body requirement to increase your breast milk supply. You need to stay adequately hydrated to be able to produce more breast milk for your baby. Take at least 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water a day. In the early stages of your breastfeeding journey make it a must to have a bottle of water next to where you are going to nurse. Although you might not be thirsty when you sit down, it is only normal that you will get thirsty after a few minutes.
It’s easier to know exactly how many ounces your baby is drinking when you are bottle feeding. Unlike breastfeeding, you can hardly tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk while feeding. It’s true you can’t see exactly how much milk your baby is drinking, but you can tell if your baby is not getting enough breast milk with the following signs:
- You baby is not gaining a healthy weight
- Your baby’s cheeks look empty while feeding
- Your baby looks dehydrated
- Your baby doesn’t make gulping noises and swallows while nursing
- Your baby is not calm after feeding and still holding on to your breast
- Your breasts feel hard after nursing
If you notice any of the signs mentioned, try the recommended foods here to increase your breast milk supply.