Holding a newborn in hand is world’s most beautiful moment a mother can cherish. Breastfeeding is mother’s gift to herself and her baby. When you are breastfeeding your child, you are giving him/her the best nutrition that will promote his/her rapid growth, development and overall health. Mothers are also quite anxious as to which foods are best for themselves for healing and better lactation. They have loads of questions running through their minds as which foods are good to take during lactation phase. Here are few galactagogues, foods that promote lactation in mothers. These listed foods are full of vitamin, mineral and chemical properties that may aid in better milk production.
Fenugreek seeds or “methi dana” have been used widely in India for centuries. It is the most common item used for increasing the milk supply. These seeds are the rich source of fiber, iron, calcium, omega 3, beta carotene and potassium.“Methi dana” can be taken in form of Ladoo; mixed in some vegetable, by sprouting them, making a powdered chutney or adding it to stuffing in roti or paratha.
Fennel seeds or “saunf” is a very popular ingredient in Indian culture for its benefits in digestion problems and menstrual issues. It is also widely used by lactating mothers to stimulate and increase breast milk production. Add fennel seeds in tea, vegetables curries or gravies, or as after mint.
“Jeera” stimulates milk supply in mothers. Cumin seeds are found to improve digestion and helps in treating constipation, acidity and bloating. Cumin seeds are an integral part of many Indian dishes and are a source of calcium and vitamin B2. Add jeera in porridge, buttermilk, stuffed roti, salads and curds daily.
“Til” (white and black) is a very rich source of plant calcium. It is a great source of omega 3 and magnesium as well. Both white and black sesame seed is believed to increase milk production. Use til in form of ladoo, tahini sauce, gravies, after mint, desserts or as sprinklers.
Commonly known as “ajwain”, these seeds are known for their benefits in digestion, stomach ache, gas problems and constipation. Post-delivery, it helps increase milk production.“Thymol” present in carom seeds have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also a rich source of fiber, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and phosphorus.
Popularly known as “suwa”, it helps in improving milk flow, treat colic and enhances fiber in the diet. Dill seeds contain essential oil rich in carvone and limonene, in addition to phenolics, such as trans-anethole, and flavonoids. You can use dill seeds as whole or pounded in pickles, gravies, ladoo and aftermint.
Aliv/ Halim/ Garden cress seeds
Aliv or “halu ke beej” are tiny reddish-brown seeds. Garden cress seeds are good sources of macro (protein and fat) as well as micro (iron, calcium and phosphorous) nutrients. It helps increase milk production and supplies a good amount of iron to mothers when soaked overnight and cooked in morning as porridge with jaggery and whole grain.
The leaves of the Moringa tree/ drumstick tree are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B vitamin C and other minerals. The leaves are also an outstanding source of calcium, protein, potassium and iron. The content of amino acids such as methionine and cystine is also high. Powder of the leaves can be given to mothers to increase milk supply and immunity.
Gondh or edible gum is widely used post-delivery for nursing mothers. Gondh is widely used in Ayurvedic preparations and is great for boosting immunity, stamina and health. Gondh along with dry fruits in form of ladoo gives those extra calories, protein and minerals required for nursing. It also lubricates bones and joints and helps in menstrual cycle post-delivery.
Dry ginger powder
“Saunth” or dehydrated ginger is widely used in postpartum women’s diet. It increases immunity, has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and helps control uterine bleeding. It also helps in reducing bloating and is a potent blood cleanser. Dry powder is used in ladoo, in gravies, as a spice mix.
Healthy nutritious balanced meals
Along with above mentioned galactagogues, following foods should also be taken
- Whole grains like wheat porridge, steel cut oats, brown rice, jowar, bajra, ragi can help mothers feel full for a longer time and provide sufficient energy for feeding. They are also a rich source of B complex vitamins and fiber.
- Sufficient proteins in form of pulses, legumes, milk and milk products, meat and meat products, eggs, nuts and oil seeds will help a mother get better milk
- Green leafy vegetables and fruits provide antioxidants, fiber and lots of vitamins and mineral to the body to support good lactation
- Water- a very important component in the diet should not be neglected. For good supply of milk, a mother must consume the good quantity of water to prevent herself from dehydration and low milk supply.
- Fat- Nursing mother should avoid trans fats and hydrogenated fat. Ghee, oil and oilseeds should be consumed for better functioning of the body.
It is very important for the mother to feed her child frequently for good milk supply. Be healthy, be stress-free, hydrate often and enjoy lactation.
All the above foods mentioned should be taken in prescribed amount under the guidance of a Medical Practitioner or Nutritionist.