Am I producing enough milk for my baby? Is he getting enough nutrition? Why is it that he cries inconsolably after feeding for half an hour? Has my supply reduced? Every mother goes through the same dilemmas and they all wrack their brains trying to figure out the best way to keep up their supply of breastmilk. If you are dealing with this uncertainty, stress and self doubt (which is absolutely normal by the way), then you should consult a lactation expert to know if your milk supply is indeed low. The lactation expert will offer you constructive solutions and you would be less worried about what to eat and what not to eat.
The prescribed medications to boost your milk supply may be herbal but it’s better if you add some foods to your diet which can improve both quality and quantity of the breastmilk your body makes.
Oatmeal and other whole grain foods are rich in fiber which is an essential for lactating mothers. It fulfills their nutritional needs and gives their breastmilk supply a boost. One bowl of oatmeal for breakfast can help a lactating mother keep full for longer and it might even help increase the amount of colostrum (first milk) released by the milk making glands. New moms are also very much susceptible to Anemia or iron deficiency. Whole grains are great to tide over this deficiency as they are rich sources of this essential mineral. Along with oats, you can have oat meal cookies for snacking between meals.
Barley and Barley Malt
The lactogenic properties of Barley make it a super food for breatfeeding moms. Studies show that Barley is the richest dietary source of beta-glucan; which helps in maintaining good levels of Prolactin (breastmilk making hormone) in women. You can add whole barley to your soup, salads, or you can eat barley flakes for breakfast. Barley malt syrup can also be a valuable addition to your diet as it is produced by germinating the grain and it contains high quantities of lactogenic beta-glucan. 100% pure barley malt is available in the market and that should be your pick. Keep an eye on the label for additional fructose or corn syrup.
Fenugreek seeds are reported to be an excellent galactagogue and are all around the world by lactating mothers to improve their milk supply. It alters the levels of Prolactin in women and hence leads to a better breastmilk supply. Dosages of fenugreek less than 3500 mg per day have been reported to produce no effect in many women. Some women see a change in their milk supple just after 48-72 hours while there is a possibility that this herb has no effect on some women.
This herb can be taken raw, almost 1/2 or 1 table spoon along with water, juice or some honey three times in a day.While taking fenugreek as your rescue to make more breastmilk, you have to be sure that you take the minimum required quantity to see the difference.
Along with fenugreek you can also consume the parent herb fennel seeds. They have anti colic properties which will help your baby and they have the same galactagogue in them to boost the milk supply.
While you are lactating, you should skip the white rice and the white flour to opt for brown options. Whole wheat and brown rice are also rich in beta-glucan which can boost your milk supply. In your regular cooking of bread, pancakes, or other dietary staples, just replace the whites with their brown substitutes.
Apricots contain several essential nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. They have also been known to release prolactin in the mother’s body. This hormone essentially signals the breast cells to release milk. Just opt for the fresh and raw apricots, instead of going for the canned ones. The nutritional value of the fresh fruits is far higher than the packaged ones. Also, the canned variety might have processed sugars and corn syrup which are not a great dietary addition for you or the baby.