Foods To Encourage Milk Flow

Diet of course plays a huge role in defining the volume of milk produced. Stress of course should be brought under control for the more you stress about the lack of milk the worse off both mother and baby will be.  Ensuring good hydration also vital. The more the baby suckles, the more the breast is stimulated. 

Foods that can help which she can make sure to include are: 

1. Oatmeal: 

To stabilise her own blood sugars and to give mom energy.

 2. Fennel Seeds:

Fennel seeds boost the quantity of your breast milk. They are digestives and help control baby-colic. Fennel seeds can be added along with seasonings to vegetable fillings. Add them to your tea or boil a few seeds with milk and drink up.  Chew on a few seeds after a meal as a mouth refresher.

  • Add one tablespoon of fennel seeds to one cup of hot water.
  • Cover the cup, let it steep for 30 minutes, and then strain the solution.
  • Drink the tea twice daily for a month.
  • Alternatively, mix together one-half cup each of fennel seeds, cumin seeds and rock candy (mishri) in a bowl. Grind the ingredients to make a fine powder. Have one teaspoon of it with one cup of milk three times a day for one or two weeks.
  • Also try to include fennel seeds in your cooking.

Note: Mishri can be made from the sap of the Palmyra palm, the date palm or from date palm sugar.  It is a form of unrefined sugar that has medicinal purposes.  It has its origin in India and Persia and is made from crystallised palm sugar.  Palmyra Palm Sugar which is found in the form of Tal mishri, is very rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. An important vitamin- Vitamin B12, which is mostly found in non-vegetarian diet, is found in this rare plant of Palmyra palm. Known for its 24 natural nutrients, Palm sugar is an essential part of many Ayurvedic medicines and traditional remedies. It is good to treat many health problems naturally such as- kidney ailment, high blood pressure, cold cough, breathing problem, anemia, asthma etc. Palm sugar helps to strengthen teeth, bones and heart, therefore good for arthritis, respiratory diseases, diabetes and other problems. DO NOT USE ordinary refined white sugar – it is NOT the same.

3. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply.  Chew on the sprouted seeds – It enhances the milk quantity.  

  • Soak one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in one cup of water overnight.
  • In the morning, boil this water along with the fenugreek seeds for several minutes.
  • Strain the solution, and drink this tea every morning until you get positive results.

4. Unripe Papayas

Unripe Papayas are part of the South Asian cuisine. Papaya has been used as a natural sedative, which may help you to relax and feed baby better.  Try it as a South Asian salad or toss it with flat noodles made from rice flour.

5. Spinach And Beet Leaves

Spinach and beet leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid.  These are essential for recouping anemic mothers. These will help in making the baby strong.  BUT- eat spinach in moderation as too much could cause diarrhea in the baby.

6. Garlic

Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk, as it is well-known for boosting lactation in nursing mothers.

  • Finely grate three garlic cloves.
  • Boil the grated garlic in one cup of water until the quantity is reduced to about one quarter.
  • Add a cup of non-dairy milk to the mixture and bring it to a boil again.
  • Remove from heat, mix in one-half teaspoon of honey and strain it.
  • Drink it once daily, in the morning, during the breastfeeding period. 

7. Black Sesame Seeds

Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and believed to increase milk supply.  Sprinkle them over salads.

8. Carrots and beets

A glass of carrot juice with breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation.  Like spinach, carrots too have lactation promoting qualities. It contains Vitamin A which complements lactation and boosts the quality of your milk.  You can have carrots as raw, steamed or even pureed to a soup.

  • Put two carrots and two beetroots in a juicer to make fresh juice. Add salt or honey as per taste. Drink it twice daily for several weeks.
  • Alternatively, you can make a healthy salad or soup of carrots and beetroots and eat them daily to increase the supply of breast milk.

9. Water And Juices

Drinking water and juices is supposed to boost lactation. It increases the total milk volume per feed. It prevents you from dehydration and replaces fluid lost during lactation. Have a glass of water when you are thirsty or even before you begin to nurse your baby.

10. Barley

Like oats and other whole grains, barley may help to increase your milk supply. Barley is the basis of a number of lactogenic beverages; however, you can also eat it as a hot grain or porridge. You can make barley water at home to improve your milk supply and help you stay hydrated.

  • Simply boil barley in water, then pass through a sieve.
  • Drink the cooking water warm throughout the day, adding fennel seed or fenugreek if desired, 

11. Asparagus

Asparagus is considered a must-have food for nursing mothers.  It is a high fibre food. It is also high in Vitamin A and K. It helps stimulate the hormones in nursing mothers that are essential for lactation.

  • Wash and chop asparagus.
  • Boil with some coconut or almond milk.
  • Strain and drink for better milk production.

12. Brown Rice

Brown rice enhances breast milk production. It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation.  Brown rice offers a lot of healthy nutrients such as vitamin B, potassium, copper and magnesium.  A lot of mothers avoid carbs but including brown rice as part of a healthy balanced diet will also provide phosphorus and zinc which will provide you with energy and help maintain the quality of your milk supply.

  • Soak brown rice for half an hour and pressure cook it.
  • Eat it with vegetables.

13. Legumes

Ensuring that you have sufficient protein in your diet is important.  Be sure to include these delicious lentils, beans and peas to ensure beneficial nutrients such as protein, fibre, magnesium, iron and potassium.

14. Apricots

During and post pregnancy, there are hormonal imbalance that takes place in your body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in your body.  Apricots are rich in calcium and fibre and help boost lactation.

  • Include apricots and walnuts in your oatmeal diet.
  • Try to find sulphuric-free organic apricots 

15. Nuts

As nuts are full of fibre and proteins as well as healthy fats and vitamin E – they are great for boosting breast milk production.  The high percentage of amino acids and magnesium are building blocks for serotonin, which can work as a neurotransmitter to increase lactation.

  • eat as a healthy snack
  • add to your morning bowl of oats

16. Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are important enough to deserve their own section. Flax in any form contains a lot of healthy nutrients like fibre, lignans (a type of phytochemicals) and omega-3 fatty acids. The research suggests that a diet containing enough omega-3 acids can help in battling depression and stimulate brain activity. As recommended by The Institute of Medicine, just ONE tablespoon of flaxseed — is a sufficient daily amount. Try sprinkling ground flaxseed in oatmeal  or a smoothie and you’ll have a great and nutrient-sufficient meal, especially when combined with other foods to increase lactation.

17. Cumin

Cumin seeds boost milk supply. Make sure you have them in moderation though.  These are appetizers and fat-burners.  They help avoid digestive irritants like acidity.

  • Mix one teaspoon of cumin power with one teaspoon of raw honey.
  • Have this mixture with a glass of warm almond milk daily before going to bed for a few weeks. 
  • Alternatively, add two teaspoons of cumin seeds to one-half cup of water and boil it.
  • Strain the solution and add one-half cup of almond or coconut milk and one teaspoon of honey.
  • Mix well and drink once daily for several weeks. 

18. Basil Leaves

Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants and have a calming effect which is important while lactating and it boosts your little one’s immunity levels.

  • In a pan, combine one cup of water and six to eight finely chopped basil leaves.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for one to two minutes.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and let it steep for about five minutes.
  • Remove from heat and strain the mixture.
  • Add a little honey for taste.
  • Drink this twice daily for a few months after childbirth. 

19. Dill Leaves

Dill leaves are believed to boost milk supply.  It is a galactogogue (which means it is a substance that promotos lactation in humans and other animals)

  • use two teaspoons of raw dill seed on your lunch and dinner
  • or use it to brew a tea

20. Cinnamon
According to Ayurveda, cinnamon will also help to increase secretion of breast milk. When nursing mothers eat cinnamon, it helps improve the flavor of breast milk that many babies seem to like. Plus, it helps delay the occurrence of menstruation after childbirth and prevents early conception.

  • Mix a pinch of cinnamon powder and one-half teaspoon of honey.
  • Have it along with a cup of warm milk.
  • Repeat daily before going to bed for one or two months.

21. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrate which is needed to fight the fatigue.  It also contains Vitamin C and B-complex and a muscle relaxant mineral that is magnesium.

  • Have it with a healthy balanced diet.
  • Make a smoothie of an apple and baked sweet potato.
  • Or, just eat it roasted in the oven with some delicious herbs

22. Almonds

Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E.  Omega-3 helps lactation boosting hormones to help produce more milk.  

  • Have crushed almonds with your almond milk for greater effect.
  • Add almonds to your bowl of oat meal.

23. Chickpeas

Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing moms.  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.
  • Or make a delicious home-made hummus and snack on it with some fresh vegetable crudites

24. 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 salads and porridges.

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 coconut oil.  These help in balancing the supply of healthy fat to your baby. 

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.

Things To Avoid:

  • Avoid gas-generating foods such as potato, pulses, raw mango and raw banana.
  • Other foods such as thyme, parsley, peppermint and cabbage leaves are also said to affect your milk production adversely.