Every mother wants to ensure that her baby is well-nourished and healthy. Newborns should only consume breast milk for the first few months of life. This is the main reason why new mothers often wonder if they are producing enough breast milk for her baby/babies. If you are not producing enough breast milk, there is no need to panic. There are several natural ways to fix this - including foods to increase the milk supply.
The low supply of breast milk could be due to various reasons:
1. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature birth are all factors that can cause a low milk supply.
2. If you don’t breastfeed often and/or don’t use a pump to stimulate the flow, it could restrict the supply.
3. If you started breastfeeding late, this could also contribute to the low supply. You should start breastfeeding as soon as possible to ensure that you produce enough by the 3rd day postpartum.
4. Certain medications that you are taking or were taking during the pregnancy.
5. Any breast surgery you had before that is now restricting the milk supply.
Breastfeeding your baby has a number of benefits. It gives your baby the nourishment that s/he needs and will also help build the immunity. The breastfeeding mother gains a lot too - it helps reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer.
If you have a low milk supply, incorporate the following foods into your diet:
1. Fenugreek seeds
This is known to stimulate the milk-producing glands. All you need to do is boil a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water to prepare fenugreek tea. Drink it every morning till you see results - usually takes 10 days.
There are numerous benefits to this wonderful flavouring food. While cooking, add a whole garlic to the curries - don’t mash it. You can prepare a sort of garlic soup by boiling three grated garlic cloves in water and then boiling it again in milk. Add salt and pepper to taste and drink it hot! Have this soup once every morning.
According to Ayurveda, cinnamon can help increase the secretion of milk. As an added bonus, it delays the menstruation process. Mix a pinch of cinnamon powder and a teaspoon of honey into a cup of warm milk. Have it every night before you go to sleep.
4. Drumstick soup
Drumstick is rich in a number of nutrients and is known to stimulating the mammary glands to produce more breast milk. So consume either drumstick soup or juice every day. You can find the recipe to prepare drumstick soup here.
5. Drink plenty of water
Dehydration is a common cause for low breast milk supply. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The amount of water each breastfeeding mother needs may vary but on an average, a breastfeeding mother should consume at least 2.5 litres per day. Also, supplement yourself with the fluids mentioned above.
Apart from this, there are a couple of tips you can follow to increase the milk supply:
1. Place a warm compress or a warm towel on your breasts before your breastfeed.
2. Massage your breasts helps to stimulate the flow.
3. Use a pump between feedings to express milk as this will help stimulate the flow.
4. You can even opt to express milk using your hands. Store the milk for when your baby is hungry.
5. Don’t put a limit on nursing sessions - the more you nurse, the more you will produce.
6. Switch between your breasts while feeding to feed more.
7. Take a break to burp your baby while feeding and then feed again. This helps create room for more milk.
Happy breastfeeding! :)