If you’re planning to breastfeed your baby, here are some foods that can help to boost your milk supply.
WORDS CHERYLENE RENEE
If you’re a new mum, breastfeeding will be a brand new experience you will have to gradually ease into. It’s understandable for new mothers to be anxious about milk production, and you might have concerns about whether you are yielding enough volume for your little one. The quantity of milk produced varies from mum to mum (depending on a host of factors like nutrition, stress, and sufficient sleep, for example), but there are some foods you can consume that could help you increase your breast milk supply.
This tropical fruit has been used as a natural breast milk stimulant in traditional Southeast Asian cultures for centuries now. Don’t dismiss it as merely an old wives’ remedy though, as its benefits have been recently recognised in the realms of science as well. This humble fruit is now being studied for its lactation-promoting properties. You can eat it raw, or pair it with cereal or yoghurt for a healthy breakfast. You can also include it in soups, salads, and noodle dishes for that extra dose of sweetness!
Barley is lactogenic, which means that it contains a good amount of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide known to increase prolactin (the hormone which ramps up the production of breast milk).
This is one of the best foods to have in your diet while you’re breastfeeding.
Add whole barley to salads, soups, and stews, or even into homemade bread.
Plus, another benefit of barley is that it keeps you nicely hydrated.
Packed with energy and fibre, oats are brilliant when it comes to maintaining healthy digestion and regulating your blood pressure or cholesterol. Oats are also thought to be able to lower your chances of contracting diabetes after your pregnancy. Simply add cooked oats to your diet, topped with fruit, or even mixed into sweet treats like muffins or cookies.
4. Whole Grains
Other whole grains like whole wheat flour and brown rice are also rich sources of beta-glucan, and including them into your diet can greatly help augment your lactation. If possible, include whole wheat and brown rice in your meals. Brown rice, in particular, gives extra pops of energy that new mums definitely need!
We all know salmon is a prime source of Omega-3 and essential fatty acids (EFA), but did you know that these two components are highly beneficial for nursing mothers? One of these fatty acids, DHA, aids in the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. As you consume more DHA, its levels in your breast milk will also increase accordingly – and you will be feeding baby with brain food! Additionally, salmon will also give you a boost in your lactation levels. However, experts recommend that you consume no more than two to three servings of salmon per week due to the mercury content it possibly contains.
This spring vegetable is a must-have food item for lactating mums. Asparagus is not only high in fibre, folic acid, and vitamins but also contains phytoestrogens and tryptophan, which stimulate healthy breast milk production. Include this vegetable in your diet as a side, or in soups. Alternatively, boil some asparagus with milk, strain, and drink the milky liquid - this will also help you increase your lactation levels.