Breastfeeding is a sensitive subject for new moms. Soon after giving birth, the struggle of breastfeeding begins. Many women get lucky to nourish and feed their babies right away, whereas some might have to strive for more days actually to get the right amount of flow.
Breastfeeding is all about demand and supply. More latching leads to more milk supply. A lot of moms feel so stressed about having less feed, which makes it even worse. Stress about anything would actually lessen the supply. Every woman’s body is different, hence, the response is not the same in every case.
Either you have cesarean or vaginal delivery; on average, it takes about 3 to 5 days for milk supply to settle in. However, some might have enough milk supply the very next day after delivery, if not all, while some have to struggle for over a week to establish sufficient milk supply.
Babies’ first food is called Colostrum. It is the first form of milk babies get and it has way too many health benefits. Colostrum is sufficient to feed a newborn in the first couple of days of his life. Ideally, with every latch, your milk supply has to increase and your baby should feel full.
However, sometimes this does not happen and moms might have to consider supplementing to meet babies’ nutritional requirements. Once the supply settles in, you can exclusively breastfeed your baby.
Breastmilk is by far the best you can give to your baby. There are options that might help to increase milk supply to fill those tiny tummies with lots of nutritional value food.
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Healthy Food that improves milk supply for breastfeeding moms
Following is the list of food items for new moms, struggling with breastfeeding and milk supply.
1. Oatmeal improves milk supply
Oatmeal is a fiber-rich food for breastfeeding moms. It is a high source of proteins and antioxidants. Amazing source of iron as if you are low on iron you might have to struggle with milk supply.
A bowl of oatmeal in the morning works great for milk supply. Oatmeal also helps you reduce weight and lower cholesterol levels.
As a new mom, you might not be having enough time to wait for oatmeal to be ready. Once you become a mom, it’s all about quick meals.
Boil oatmeal in water and add a little bit of salt and pepper. You can also add milk if you want it with honey or brown sugar, whatever you may find healthy.
You can add any type of fruit or nuts you want: Berries, apples, bananas, raisins, almond, walnuts etc.
Once things settle down in a couple of weeks after delivery, you may want to start Steel-cut oats. Although it takes a while to cook it is healthier and tastier than regular oats.
Moreover, oatmeal helps significantly with post-delivery chronic constipation as well.
2. Boiled eggs
Eggs have allergens for some people. If you are not allergic to eggs and your baby has not shown any signs of allergies then you should take eggs in any form you like.
Eating boiled eggs is a healthier option rather than eating in fried form. You can cook eggs fresh every day while your coffee or tea is getting ready, or you can boil them in advance and refrigerate. Enjoy eggs with avocados and whole wheat bread as you prefer.
3. Bone broth
Bone broth is a highly nutritious food for breastfeeding moms. You can make bone broth using any type of meat in a slow cooker or in a regular pot. Bone Broth is a nutritious food to promote milk production for breastfeeding moms and it is highly recommended by Indian women during postpartum.
How to make Bone Broth for nursing moms to increase milk supply.
You need to use bone-in meat of your choice, beef, lamb, mutton, or chicken (organic chicken is a much better and healthier option).
Add a few of garlic cloves, onions slices, salt, black pepper(optional), and cumin seeds. Add water as needed. Make sure meat is dipped in just right amount of water. Cook for at least couple of hours or more for extra nutrition.
Now, the bone broth is ready, meat is deliciously tender. You can adjust the spices as you like.
Bone Broth is a super hydrating, and protein-rich, nutritious meal. It is a healthy meal for c section moms for better and quick internal and external healing of the surgical wounds.
You can prepare bone broth in advance and freeze it before your due date. Just warm it up in a microwave, and your meal is ready.
Read more: Postpartum diet for C-section moms.
Milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. Your baby has extracted a lot from your body while you were pregnant. Now she is going to take nutrients from you through breastfeeding, so you need to amp up your calcium and vitamin D intake.
Staying hydrated while you breastfeed is very important. You need plenty of liquid in any form. Be it juice or flavored water or Gatorade, although plain water works the best. Also, it will significantly help with milk flow.
Ideally, you should drink two glasses of milk (2% or whole milk, as per your choice) every day at least for the duration you choose to breastfeed.
Read more about postpartum essentials for moms.
Dates are natural energy boosters. A high source of natural sugar gives you energy right away. Dates significantly promote milk supply for breastfeeding moms.
Eating dates with a glass of milk every night is an excellent milk booster for nursing moms.
7. Banana with milk at night
Banana and milk combination at night works amazingly. A glass of cold milk with one banana at night would surprisingly increase the milk flow. In addition to that, b
8. Prenatal vitamins
You should never skip your prenatal vitamins while you are breastfeeding. You need them every day just like you were taking while you were pregnant. Skipping them will make you cranky, stressed, depressed, sad, and you would not realize that it is because of nutritional deficiencies.
9. Supplements to increase milk supply
Moreover, new moms can use organic supplements to improve breast milk supply, if they are struggling big time with lower milk supply.
Read more about how you can improve postpartum health with the right nutrition.
10. Milk tea
If you are really struggling with milk supply and nothing seems to be working with natural ingredients then you should consider taking milk tea. They are made with herbs that are helpful in increasing milk supply.
11. Green leafy veggie
Spinach is a rich source of iron. You must include green leafy veggies in your diet
12. Cumin seeds
Most of the Indian women add cumin seeds in their diet for an immediate increase in milk supply. It is a highly recommended, and super effective natural way to promote milk supply for breastfeeding moms.
Chew on a teaspoon of cumin seed every day is beneficial for good milk supply, or you can bake cumin seeds in bread or cookies for an extra flavor.
You can also sprinkle a teaspoon of cumin seeds on your salad bowl. These seeds are very aromatic and chances are, you are going to love it.
13. Fenugreek seeds
14. Poppy seeds
White poppy seeds are also known to increase milk supply and may help mom and baby to stay relatively calm. Due to the sedation properties, poppy seeds may improve sleep habits for babies.
15. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds are great for digestion, and also known to increase milk supply, as well as help moms and babies with gas or colic issues.
You can drink fennel seeds water after delivery. It will immensely help with bloating and weight loss. All you have to do – boil water with a tsp of fennel seeds.
Semolina is also a milk supply booster. It is consumed in the form of dessert.
Sauté a few tbsp of semolina in organic ghee. Soon after, it starts changing color, add water, and let it cook and simmer for some time. You can add almonds, cashews, raisins any sort of dry fruit of your choice. Add sugar as per your taste.
Semolina pudding is an amazing source to increase milk supply and keeps moms energized.
17. Brewers yeast Powder
A lot of moms find brewers yeast powder as an effective ingredient to increase milk supply. You may use these in cookies, shakes, or anything you can make at home to improve milk supply.
There are vegan and non-vegan options available for brewers yeast, you can choose any you prefer.
18. Lactation Cookies
Breastfeeding moms may want to produce more milk since they are exclusively breastfeeding or pumping for freezer stash. Lactation cookies mix may significantly improve milk supply. You can either prepare cookies from scratch but as a new mom, you are just too busy to do that. A ready-made lactation cookie mix is a win-win.
Other foods that are also known to help increase milk supply for nursing moms
Quinoa is another gluten-free and a very healthy option if you like it already then it’s a win-win.
Avocado is considered a very healthy food for pregnant women as well.
Try this recipe of guacamole with chips, you are going to love it.
Flax seeds have omega 3 fatty acids (good fats) that you need just in the right amount. Sprinkle some seeds on your salad bowl, or chew on roasted ones Flax seeds are what fed to chickens to produce eggs with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
Garlic: Some researches conclude that using garlic in your diet would help increase milk supply.
Breastfeeding Class to increase milk Supply
If you are a first-time mom and struggling with breastfeeding, I would encourage you to get a Breastfeeding class online. It would help you know the basic techniques of breastfeeding that no one tells you other than Lactation consultants.
Stacey is a Certified LactationEducator at Milkology and helps new moms get the hang of breastfeeding.
What might negatively affect your milk supply
- Excessive consumption of Green tea or weight loss products might affect your milk supply.
- Stress whether emotional, physical or mental, it is going to affect milk supply.
- A lot of IVs and medications before delivery, especially before C-section, might be a cause of delay in milk let down.
- Smoking would also have a negative impact on milk supply.
- Parsley, peppermint, sage, oregano cabbage if consumed in excessive amounts would adversely affect milk supply.
- Do not stretch time in between feedings for the first several weeks when it is time to establish milk supply. The more frequently you are going to feed your baby the better will be the flow.
If you are taking extra supplements or medications while breastfeeding, it never hurts to discuss it with your doctor.
However, if you think you are not meeting the nutritional requirement of your baby, and your baby seems hungry all the time, you definitely want to consider supplementing with formula after having a consultation with your pediatrician.
Moreover, there are health concerns when moms cannot feed their babies, they can supplement formula or breastmilk from milk banks. You should never hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.
Eating a healthy diet and plenty of fluids would definitely help with the increase in milk supply for breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding is known to reduce postpartum depression, however, if you still feel that you are not emotionally and mentally connected to your baby, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.