7 Easy-to-Find Super Foods to Boost Your Milk Supply
They’re in your kitchen? That’s right – you don’t even have to step out of the house to find these foods!
Some mothers exclusively breastfeed, some mothers choose not to, while the rest have no choice but to switch nursing using other tools than the breast. Regardless of their choice, most of the time, nursing mothers eventually have to stop breastfeeding earlier than they originally intend to.
While it is indeed common for moms to feel like their milk supply is gradually decreasing, there are still ways you can maintain a high supply. In fact, it is not even difficult! All it takes is a bit of tweak to your existing diet. Disclaimer: No, you do not have to cut down anything.
Before we dive into it, let’s start over. How can you tell if you are overproducing or not producing enough breast milk? There is a way to find out. If your breast feels firm before feeding and soft afterwards, you are possibly producing enough.
Of course, your baby will ‘let you know’ as well. If they are 1) constantly suckling and swallowing during the feeding, 2) seem satisfied after every feed, and 3) are not fussy, they are most possibly well-fed. The steady increase in your baby’s weight is, of course, a good indicator of them being fed well too.
What about if you are not producing enough breast milk? If you are not a first-time mother (neither it is your first time nursing), you can probably tell if your breast milk is not enough for your little one. If this is your first time breastfeeding, it can be hard to be certain that you have low milk supply. For that, simply keep a lookout for these signs:
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“How do I know if my baby is not getting enough milk?
Your baby does not secrete a lot. You are supposed to change your baby’s diapers many times per day. If the amount of diapers produced by your baby decreases significantly, then you may have something to be concerned about. There can be many factors to it, but the number of times your baby goes ‘number 1’ or ‘number 2’ throughout the day normally indicates whether or not they are getting enough milk.
The next sign is that your baby is dehydrated. This is not hard to tell for there are various symptoms of dehydration in newborns such as dark-coloured urine, a dry mouth, and lethargy. They might also develop jaundice. There are typical causes for dehydration such as fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, and overheating. If your newborn experiences any of these, there is a high possibility that they would be dehydrated afterwards.
Another sign that your baby is not fed well or enough is that their weight gain is poor. Their weight will fluctuate during the first few days or weeks, but they should start regaining a healthy weight after a few weeks and continue to weigh healthily. If your baby has not started gaining week by day five or six, do seek medical advice from your doctor..
“Why is my milk supply low?”
First, it is important that you try to understand what causes low milk supply and related breastfeeding difficulties. Is it engorgement? Mastitis? Do you have any conditions that require other treatment first before resorting to planning up your diet? If you do not seem to experience severe pain or discomforts, what could be your way out?
“How can I increase my low milk supply?”
As mentioned several times above, modifying your diet could help. The following foods are some of the superfoods favoured by new moms. They act as a natural lactation aid!
Who wouldn’t love to see this sweet grain first on the list? Aside from its yummy taste, barley is simply one of the best superfoods out there for the abundance of health benefits it carries. It is an excellent source of fibre that keeps your digestive system healthy, can lower your blood sugar levels, and lowers cholesterol. Of course, the fact that it is on this list means it can aid your milk production! The best part is? It is so versatile that you can either cook it as a main staple in your dish or turn it into a soup or a drink!
You have been told to eat greens by your parent or guardian since you were small, and now this exact same advice is also coming from us. Eat your greens. If you are not sure where to start, we’d say spinach makes a pretty decent start. Being a great source of iron, spinach can help improve your overall health (like most greens do) and increase your milk supply. Spinach contains compounds that mimic the hormones responsible for producing your milk, so we’re sure you can connect the dots as to why this works. Just like some of the other foods listed here, spinach is also a pretty versatile item in the sense that there are hundreds of ways to cook it.
Garlic is probably one of the most common ingredients associated with the term ‘lactogenic effects’. Indeed, garlic possesses certain elements to it that can increase the production of breast milk and also boost your immunity. In some cultures, drinking garlic milk in the morning has become apart of their confinement care practice for the new mothers. The good thing about garlic is the fact that it has such a strong flavour that adds amazing flavour to any dish. While there have been claims saying babies may refuse breast milk due to the strong odour caused by garlic, there is little to no evidence supporting that notion. Not to mention, the situation could be the other way around in which the babies would be more attracted to breastfeed due to the flavour brought by the garlic.
If you have been lurking around forums where mothers gather to discuss motherhood issues and share their recommendations, you have probably seen quinoa being mentioned here and there. Many moms would swear by this food! Indeed, quinoa would greatly aid your breastfeeding experience as it contains magnesium which can help your body absorb calcium. While often mistaken for staple food, quinoa is actually a type of vegetable! Still, many would include it in their meal as a substitute for rice. The good thing is, quinoa carries twice the protein and more fibre than rice!
You may know ginger as a heaty ingredient and that their purpose revolves around giving meals that heaty properties. However, there are more to ginger than that. Ginger is believed to be a galactagogue that stimulates the production of breast milk! Sure, at this point this information is pretty anti-climatic considering you already know what this list of food is for. Regardless, the benefits of ginger do not end there. In fact, they extend to the point ginger is said to promote healing after childbirth! If you love adding ginger into your dishes and regularly do, it may work to keep away negative moods and boost your immune function. Do whatever you want with it! Drop several cubes in tea, add into cooking, or you can even top a dish with its shreds.
Thanks to their high vitamin and mineral content, seeds have made it to this list as one of the foods that help many breastfeeding mothers! Seeds are high in protein and various important nutrients like iron and calcium. Some of the best ones you’d want to grab are sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and even fennel seeds. If you are not familiar with these seeds as an addition to your dishes, this could be your starting point. You can sprinkle them over salads, use them in smoothies, or enjoy them as a snack.
This one certainly needs no introduction! Green papayas are becoming increasingly popular among new mothers as a lactation-boosting superfood. What makes it so good for new moms like yourself? They are rich in enzymes that support breast health and boost milk supply! Aside from that particular crucial benefit, it also promotes good digestive health which is important no matter who you are. Containing certain sedative effects that can provide relaxation, green papayas are often prepared as an aromatic and savoury soup as a side for your main dish.
In addition to incorporating these foods into your diet, here are other ways you can practise to increase milk supply:
- Try to exclusively breastfeed first
- Switch sides when breastfeeding
- Consider pumping
- Set a nursing schedule
- Rest when your baby does
Breastfeeding is not easy for many, but to increase breast milk food can be one effective way out of your problem. Try to include these foods in your daily meals and you may be pleasantly surprised by what they can do for you!