Breast milk is the complete food for babies as it contains healthy nutrients required for the baby’s growth and development. It also improves breastfeeding mothers’ general well-being.
The low breast milk supply is a real issue. There may be a situation where moms find themselves unable to lactate or unable to produce enough breast milk for their baby.
This experience can be pretty challenging for nursing moms, and they may become frustrated if their milk supply is too low to satisfy their baby’s daily feeding requirements.
If you’re a new mom who just started nursing and are worried about whether or not your milk supply is enough for your baby, trust these Indian foods to increase breast milk.
Factors That May Influence Low Milk Supply
- Certain medications
- Certain illnesses
- Hormonal imbalance
- Sucking difficulties
- Supplementing with baby formula
Usually, first-time moms can boost their milk supply using simple home remedies. Unless there is a health issue wherein your body cannot produce enough milk or your doctor advises you to, you can try any of these Indian kitchen foods to increase your breast milk supply.
12 Indian Foods To Increase Breast Milk
1. Brown Rice
Brown rice is fiber-rich and more enriched than white rice and contains hormone stimulants that help to increase breast milk production in lactating women.
Also, the food can boost your mood, maintain your blood sugar levels and increase your appetite. To get all the benefits, replace brown rice with white rice.
2. Cumin Seeds
Since the olden days in India, there has been a common practice of consuming cumin seeds, also known as (jeera) panjiri, along with dry fruits and jaggery instead of sugar; this food is usually given to new moms after five to six days of delivery to boost milk production.
Just boil a liter of water with a tablespoon of cumin seeds for about 10-15 minutes. Then turn off the heat, filter, and drink it warm when needed.
Fenugreek is also known as Methi; the traditional ‘methi dana’ is grandma’s medicine for increasing breast milk production. Soak one table teaspoon of seeds in a cup of water overnight.
Then the next day, boil the water with the seeds in for about 5-7 minutes and drink all. This drink is not tasty but works wonders. Also, the traditional methi ladoos are quite effective in increasing breast milk.
This is a ubiquitous south Indian dish, full of nutrients and capable of boosting your breast milk supply.
It also helps your breast veins to open up and stimulates the mammary glands, thus leading to an increase in milk production. The approach to adding them to your meal is to have drumsticks, soup, and juice.
5. Holy Basil
This is a traditional herb used to increase milk supply in women since the olden days. This food is also known as tulsi, enriched with niacin, iron, thiamine, and carotene.
It plays an essential role in protecting both the mother and child from various diseases and infections. Just make a tulsi tea and drink it twice daily after childbirth.
6. Moringa Powder
Clinical research has shown that these leaves powders can increase breast milk supply. Research shows that moms who consume Moringa leave powder to produce more than 2x the amount of breast milk than those who didn’t.
We all know breast milk is the best food for a newborn, and this food can be beneficial in helping moms produce more breast milk for baby consumption.
Barley is another food enriched with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, known to increase lactation.
An excellent way to include barley (Barley Water) is to wash and soak 1/4 cup of barley throughout the night and pressure cook with 2 cups of water.
Then filter it and drink the water once it’s warm. If the solution is thick, you can add more water to it. You can also add barley water to your favorite soups.
8. Bottle Gourd
This food is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can add to your breastfeeding meal. Bottle Gourd has high water content and is rich in fiber. Thus, it can digest quickly.
It helps keep lactating mothers hydrated. You can consume this food as lunch or dinner to get all the benefits. You can also have a glass of fresh bottle of gourd juice for relaxing.
Fennel seeds (saunf), black sesame seeds, garlic, and cinnamon are good galactagogues foods. When combined with your daily nutrition can boost lactation.
- Fennels help in digestion in moms and help relieve colic in infants.
- Cinnamon is scientifically known to delay menstruation since it causes lactation. Both cinnamon and garlic offer a unique taste to breast milk that babies like.
- The black sesame seeds are a great source of calcium.
To get all the benefits, combine a pinch of powdered cinnamon with honey and warm milk twice daily for better results. Soak fennel seeds in a clean cup of hot water for about 30 minutes and drink twice daily.
Garlic can either be consumed raw or added to your daily meals. However, drinking 1-2 raw garlic pods right before feeding time can help boost milk production. You can also add roasted fennel to your meal.
Oatmeal is enriched with iron, and the fiber content makes it very easy to digest. It makes a complete breakfast and helps boost breast milk supply in women.
This lactogenic food is one of the easiest things you can find anywhere in Indian foods to increase breast milk.
You can consume oatmeal porridge or oats smoothie for breakfast to get all the benefits. Also, oats idli and oats poha are good breakfasts or snacks. You can also eat it as oats cookies.
This is an Ayurvedic herb that helps to increase the production of corticoids and prolactin hormone. These two hormones are responsible for improving the quality and quantity of breast milk.
12. Cracked Wheat/Broken Wheat (Dalia)
In North India, soft-cooked Dalia with moong dal is also offered to nursing mothers to boost their milk supply. Some recipes using Dalia include
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Practical Things You Can Do To Boost Your Milk Supply
1. Try Relaxing: Getting enough rest helps your body behave and respond well to situations and, in this case, boosts lactation.
Try as much as possible to avoid stress since it affects general productivity, especially for a nursing mom.
2. Drink Enough Liquid/Water: As a breastfeeding mom, try as much as you can to stay hydrated. Liquids like water, coconut water, milk, lemonade, and buttermilk can play a massive role in quenching your thirst thus, boost your milk supply.
3. Stay Nourished: Ensure you consume food rich in calcium and proteins. Add a good amount of leafy vegetables, spinach, lentils, beet leaves, carrots, apricots, and asparagus to your diet to help boost the quantity and quality of your breast milk.
4. Avoid Certain Foods: There are certain foods to avoid while breastfeeding potato, raw banana, and foods that cause heat like mango and papaya.
Also, avoid gassy and too spicy food. You should also avoid certain drinks such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and smoking.
5. Nurse Frequently: Feed your baby as much as they want. The more often and effectively your baby breastfeeds, the more breast milk you produce.
Just like supply and demand, the more you stimulate your breasts, the more breast milk your body will produce. Other women also suggest that pumping after each feed helps boost breast milk supply.
6. Apply Warm Compress: If you’re not providing enough milk and experience some pain, try compressing your breasts with warm water pads.
Do these in a circular motion, and then relax afterward. Practice this often; it could be due to your breasts being engorged.
Also, if your nipples are cracked, you can use clarified butter (Desi ghee) or breast milk to treat the problem, and also it is safer than ointments, even for the baby.
We hope this article has provided you with great ideas on Indian foods to increase breast milk.
If you have any other suggestions or home remedies that have worked for you in increasing breast milk, kindly share them with us.