25 Best Foods To Increase Breast Milk

20. Almonds:

Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E.

  • Vitamin E helps heal itching caused by post pregnancy stretch marks.
  • Omega-3 helps lactation boosting hormones to help produce more milk.
  • Have crushed almonds with milk for greater effect.
  • Add almonds to your bowl of oat meal.

21. Chickpea:

Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing mommies.

  • It is a rich source of calcium, B-complex vitamins and fibre.
  • Soak chickpeas overnight and boil in the morning. Mash a handful or two into any vegetable salad.
  • Snack on a chickpea mash simply garnished with garlic and lemon juice.

22. Drumstick:

Drumstick has high iron and calcium content.

  • It is good for lactation.
  • It boosts immunity and enhances your nervous system.
  • Have it steamed with flavouring if you want.
  • Drumstick leaves also can be used along with vegetable fillings.

23. Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus):

It is very important for nursing mothers to relax completely during lactation. Poppy seeds have sedative properties that help you relax and calm down.

  • Take caution to include it in a minimum quantity in your diet.
  • Poppy seeds help relax your mind and body while nursing.
  • Roast poppy seeds and add to puddings and porridges.

24. Cow Milk:

Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk.

Add at least two to three glasses of cow milk in your diet.

25. Oils And Fats:

It is recommended to keep fats and oils in your diet to a minimum, post pregnancy.

  • Do not avoid fat and oil in your post-delivery diet.
  • These are an essential part of lactation. They assist in absorption of vitamins and minerals present in other foods you eat.
  • They also aid in easy bowel movement.
  • Opt for olive oil, rice bran oil or any heart healthy oil.
  • These help in balancing the supply of healthy fat to your baby.

All the above foods have been traditionally used to improve milk flow in new moms. However, while some have scientific backing the others don’t. Consume the foods in limited quantities, and note the side-effects, if any. Also, go for organic products as the pesticide residue in the foods and herbs can increase the lead content in your milk.

Now you know what to eat during lactation, but there are also foods that you should not eat around this time.

Things To Avoid:

Avoid gas-generating foods such as potato, pulses, raw mango and raw banana.

If you are a vegan, take nutrient supplements to make sure that you and your baby are not falling short of the essential vitamins and minerals.

Tips To Increase Breast Milk Supply

Many times, mothers assume that the milk supply is low, when it is not. The best way to confirm that the baby is nursing well and you are producing enough milk is by keeping a constant check on the baby’s weight. If you suspect decrease in milk supply and want to increase it, follow these tips.

  1. Nurse frequently and efficiently: Milk production is a demand and supply process. The more the baby drinks, the higher is the production. Nurse once every two hours. Position the baby properly while nursing so that he latches on well.
  2. Express milk: If the baby is unable to empty your breasts, express the milk after nursing to maintain the milk supply.
  3. Nursing vacation:Spend time just nursing your baby for two to three days and do nothing else. Of course, you have to feed yourself and be relaxed.
  4. Switch sides: Make your baby drink from both the breasts. Switch sides twice or thrice every time you feed. But let the little one finish one breast and then switch to the other. This technique gives fatty ‘hindmilk’ to the baby. Using breast compression helps the baby feed longer.
  5. Avoid pacifiers and nipple shields: Avoid using pacifiers and nipple shields. Avoid supplements, unless it is medically needed.
  6. Avoid solids: If the baby is younger than six months, avoid feeding her solids, water, and formula.
  7. Rest well: Besides eating well, rest well. Consume well-balanced diet and more liquids.
  8. Stay away from alcohol and nicotine: No surprises here, right? Alcohol and nicotine consumption are harmful not only during but also after pregnancy when you are nursing your little one. Nicotine and alcohol restrict the breast milk supply. These substances can pass into your baby’s body through breast milk and trigger developmental problems.
  9. Check your medication: If you are taking medicines, find out from your doctor if they are interfering with your milk production. Avoid using hormonal contraceptives right after your delivery.
  10. Stay calm and relaxed: Believe it or not, stress does play a major role in reducing the milk production. Well, handling a baby can be a tough job, and you may not get enough rest. Seek help from your family so that they babysit while you relax. The key is to stay relaxed by practicing healthy, stress reduction techniques like breathing exercises. These would help ensure a good supply of milk.
  11. Use the right bra: Wearing a tight bra that compresses your chest region or one that is rigid around the band can affect milk flow. The wrong bra can lead to clogged ducts, blocking milk production.
  12. Breast massage: Massaging your breast will help open blocked ducts, besides loosening hardened areas or lumps. It does not increase milk production but allows easy flow of milk. It may even lessen the risk of mastitis. Massage gently on the breasts and do it yourself as you can judge the pressure applied:
  • When both you and your baby are comfortable and relaxed, give a gentle massage on the chest region, ending towards the nipple.
  • Now let your baby suckle. Then massage another breast. Be gentle as vigorous strokes could damage the ducts.
  1. Nurse skin-to-skin: 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. The technique promotes bonding and helps in releasing more milk-producing hormones.
  2. Add pumping sessions: Add pumping sessions in between or after nursing sessions to maintain the milk supply. Pump for at least two to five minutes every time.

The key to speed up milk production is to remove more milk from the breasts, frequently, so that lesser milk accumulates in between the feeds. Here are some tips to increase milk production through pumping.

  • Use an automated hospital grade electric pump and pump both the breasts simultaneously.
  • Shorten the intervals between pumping, rather than increasing the pumping duration. For instance, pump thrice every 15 to 20 minutes than thrice every half an hour, in case you are away for 8 to 10 hours.
  • Follow the ‘massage-stroke-shake’ (M-S-S) pumping technique developed by Chele Marmet, co-director of the Lactation Institute in Encino, California:
  1. Double pump the breasts for five to seven minutes and stop.
  2. Simultaneously massage both the breasts in a circular motion (as if self-examining).
  3. Use your fingertips to apply gentle strokes in a line from the chest wall till the nipple.
  4. Using your hand, cup each breast and lean forward. Now shake your breasts gently.
  5. Repeat pumping for another five to seven minutes.

The M-S-S technique stimulates prolactin levels, thereby increasing the milk production in a short time.

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