One of the greatest concerns for breastfeeding mothers is whether they’re producing enough to sustain their babies and what to do about it. As a solution to tackle this problem, pumping of breast milk was introduced, and it caught on among mothers. However, the breast pump can only do so much, it can only express what is contained within the breasts and if there isn’t much, then pumping wouldn’t optimize output. This brings us to nutrition; things mothers can eat and has been proven to help increase milk letdown. Here are ten must-eat foods which can increase milk supply:
Must-eat foods to pump up milk supply
These are great nutritional choices; they are healthy and are rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin E. This helps to reduce and eradicate the itchiness due to stretch marks, post-pregnancy, and delivery. It also contains Omega-3 which has been proven to boost the estrogen and other hormones to induce milk production.
2) Dark green veggies
Already an excellent choice in our daily diet, green vegetables have been proven to help improve milk supply. They contain phytoestrogen which links up with the estrogen in the body and enhances more milk production. These vegetables include; alfalfa, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and the dill leaves. Dill leaves are useful because it contains fiber and vitamin K which helps to replace blood loss during delivery. Asparagus is also a great choice, they contain high fiber and are rich in vitamin A and K and therefore helps in replacing blood lost during delivery.
Other great choices that can be used in soups are; cloves, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes. However, garlic should be used with caution as it may cause gas in your baby. If this happens, stop using garlic and continue with the other vegetables.
This is rich in fiber and healthy carbohydrates. It has been proven to contain a substantial amount of beta-glucan, which is a polysaccharide that increases prolactin also called the breastfeeding hormone which then increases milk supply and letdown. Barley is also very wonderful because it is easy to combine in your soup, cakes, and stews.
4) Seeds and nuts
You could also go nuts! Nuts are a healthy and delicious choice in diet. Since they’re mostly legumes, they serve as a healthy alternative to still get all essential nutrients. These include; aniseed, sesame seed, coriander seeds, cashew nuts, tiger nuts, they contain essential vitamins and minerals that help ensure an increase in supply.
Peas are leguminous proteins rich in their regenerative properties, which indicates their ability to increase milk supply. Peas are delicious, healthy and diverse; they come in various textures, colors, and tastes. Peas have been in use for a long time during the classical times and the ancient Egyptian era. They are especially useful for their high content of phytoestrogen or plant estrogens which are used in the body to induce milk production.
6) Herbal tea
Tea has been used in various communities for a long time. Women will be given a herbal concoction which contains various handpicked herbs that helps the body heal quickly from the rigors of childbirth and improve milk production. Therefore, sometimes all you may need to get a good letdown is a good hot cup of tea with the right kinds of herbs in it. Particularly, Basil leaves are exceedingly wonderful in their antioxidant action which helps in replacing lost ions. It also helps to boost immunity which could ensure that your baby doesn’t fall ill.
7) A good bowl of fruit salad
Fruits have been proven to be a large warehouse of an extraordinary array of goodies. They are an excellent alternative to heavy feeding and can help turn things around for the body. Fruits like papaya, apricot, banana, and grapefruit with others are an excellent choice to boost milk production.
8) Oats and wheat
Just like barley, oats and wheat have a considerable amount of beta-glucan which increases the secretion of prolactin and hence increases milk supply. It is also infused with healthy carbs and vitamins and minerals to keep up the immune system and help keep the body in great condition while you breastfeed. Brewer’s yeast has also been shown to have the same effect in the body as oats, barley, and wheat. It has been proven to contain high concentrations of Vitamin B, healthy protein, selenium and iron. Wheat flour and Brewer’s yeast can be used in pancakes, bread, muffins, and bagels.
Usually, fennel is used in combination with fenugreek. Both these herbs are exceedingly rich in vitamins and minerals and are very healthy choices. They contain phytoestrogen which acts as a stimulant for increased milk production. Fennel smell great and can be used in combination with other vegetables and various food recipes and soups.
These are also considered to have similar properties as some legumes such as peas. It serves as a good source of protein and minerals like potassium and magnesium, which help improve bone density. Potatoes also contain vitamin B and C and work as a relaxant, which helps to reduce fatigue. This is especially useful because stress has been shown to affect general body functions and milk production in lactating mothers. Potatoes help to relax the body and reduce that stress which results in the body then performing optimally in all ramifications including milk production and increase in milk letdown.
Above are 10 must-eat foods to pump up milk supply. An increase in milk production is something you may need throughout your baby’s breastfeeding years. It may be something you only need to do during the early weeks after delivery or when the baby is going through a growth spurt and requires more milk. It can be affected by various factors like stress, the removal of which peaks your breast milk supply. Although these 10 must-eat foods to pump up milk supply suggestions are your backup plans for when your supply is low, you must also do your part. Any unhealthy choices like alcohol or ‘cheat days’ could affect milk supply adversely.