Breastfeeding is a boon to mothers and breast milk is the first gift a mother gives to babies. It’s coming from me, a mom who has seen ups and downs while breastfeeding. My baby is 9 months old and I am struggling with it. Nine months has been a constant push for me to increase the supply and not quit.
Benefits of breast milk are numerous and to list a few:
- It is the liquid gold packed with all required nutrients for the development of baby’s physical and mental health.
- It is packed with DHA which supports the brain and IQ development.
- While teething it is the best medicine you can offer to babies as they tend to lose appetite.
- A sick baby doesn’t need any medication as breast milk has the power to heal everything.
- There is nothing like a 13-month limit to breastfeeding. You can go as long as 2.5 years. Don’t hesitate. Its only food that baby is demanding. Don’t wean off forcefully.
Now understanding how breastfeeding works. It is a simple demand and supply mechanism. The more you feed, the more you produce. Our body is capable of understanding a baby’s requirement and produces exactly what is required by the baby to heal or grow. For example, when the baby is sick, it automatically increases the fat content for faster healing.
New moms are advised by doctors/nurses to feed every two hours. Now the most important thing to understand here is that two hour is an ideal interval. Nut it does not mean that baby is going to clock the feed timings. A baby as small as few days or weeks can demand after every 15-20 minutes. And that does not mean you are not producing enough. This is the main reason we moms tend to fall in formula or cow’s milk trap. Trust your body. Keep on feeding round the clock. Don’t count hours or minutes. Just feed whenever the baby demands. It is hard in initial days. But nothing worth comes easy you know.
I assure it will get easy in coming days. I was totally unaware of the feeding mechanism. As the baby was fed with cow’s milk by a nurse every 2 hours and not fed, so I have no milk supply till 3 days. I had to fight a long battle to establish a flow and feed my baby.
Few useful tips to enhance your milk supply are:
- Stay relaxed and don’t worry. Stress is one of the major factors that reduce the breast milk supply. The hormones produced due to stress inhibit the hormones producing breast milk. So don’t pressurize yourself. Listen to your favorite music, have a good conversation with friends or family and trust your body.
- Don’t measure the milk supply on basis of expressed milk. If you are hand expressing and are not able to see enough milk, it does not mean less supply. Sometimes milk is produced only when baby latches. So stop measuring and judging.
Drink plenty of water. It is an age-old myth that water must not be consumed. The more you remain hydrated, the more you produce milk. Drink properly boiled water. You may add carom seeds too.
- Eat a balanced diet. Include all vegetables and fruits for fast healing and happy mind.
- Take a lot of rest, sleep whenever possible. A relaxed mom is able to produce more breast milk.
Apart from these foods to increase breast milk are:
- Drink fennel seeds water. Soak fennel seeds in water for an hour or two. Boil the water, sieve it and drink it.
- Drink milk twice a day. It keeps up the calcium in body and breast milk.
- Sua and saunf are an excellent supplements.
- Spinach is great for fast production of breast milk.
- Fenugreek seeds are a good option too.
- Cumin seeds help greatly to boost supply. Add them in all the vegetables you eat. You may gulp them with water or milk also. They work fast.
- Daliya is one of the major lactation boosters. It should be taken once in a day. Add cumin seeds for better results.
- Buttermilk with cumin powder.
- Oatmeal is a rich source of iron. It increases the RBCs and hence increasing milk supply.
- Asparagus works wonders for lactating mothers. It is high in fiber and stimulates milk-producing hormone.
- Raw papaya increases oxytocin which is a milk-producing hormone.
- Garlic is one of the best milk enhancing food. It also prevents colic in babies.
- Bottle gourd is a vegetable, consuming which can help the nursing mother retain water and stay hydrated as water is essential for lactation.
- Brown rice has a stimulant which boosts lactation.
- Dry fruits and nuts are super foods that give nutrition to mother and also are lactation friendly.
- Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants. Basil leaves have a calming effect which is important while lactating. It boosts your little one’s immunity levels.
- Drumstick has high iron and calcium content. It is good for lactation. It boosts immunity and enhances the nervous system.
- Fish especially salmon boosts the milk supply very effectively. It has DHA and omega-3.
Foods to avoid during breastfeeding:
- Gram flour
- Red chilly
If you are having some distress and need medication, then always consult a doctor and get breastfeeding friendly medicines prescribed.
Also, one of the most important thing while breastfeeding is to check the latch of the baby . If the baby is not able to latch properly, consult a latching expert doctor. Check for tongue ties in the baby. You may also have inverted nipples, so get your breast checked beforehand (during pregnancy) as it is treatable once diagnosed.
It will definitely take some time to get accustomed to breastfeeding. But don’t worry. Have a positive attitude towards it. Don’t shy away and consult a doctor if you have any queries or problems. Avoid bottles and pacifiers as they do no good for babies and end up affecting their throat.