Whether you have delivered through a cesarean section or had a normal delivery,
Whether you are an anxious new mom or a veteran, all mommies young and old have the same problem in the back of their minds “I have low milk supply” “my baby isn’t getting enough milk”
There are many reasons one might think like this.
Breast milk gets digested much faster compared to formula milk.
Bottle feeding enables you to measure the amount of formula/breast milk given, while breastfeeding is a blind fold game.
Breastfed babies gain weight slowly as compared to formula fed babies.
So let’s begin with deciphering whether you actually suffer from low milk supply or its your sleep
deprived mind overthinking.
1. Your baby is content after each feed and falls asleep immediately.
2. Your breasts feel full before and softer after each feed
3. Your baby has min 6 wet diapers a day
4. Your baby is gaining approx 6 to 8 oz (170-220 gm) of weight each week (for first 6 months)
If your still here then lets give you what you came for. There is a bunch of resources on the internet about natural ways to increase your breast milk supply, but here I have compiled a list of things that actually work, so try these things and you will notice a gross difference in your supply.
1. Increased calorie intake .
2. Maintain proper hydration by drinking minimum 3litres of water per day.
3. Panjiri (traditional homemade protein bar with recipe)
4. Relax while feeding, have happy thoughts, (that’s how oxytocin works-you milk releasing hormone)
5. Increase your night time feeds
6. Galactogogues- oatmeal
9. Fennel seeds, cumin seeds
10. Lactation cookies, lactation tea.
Read further for tips and tricks on how to include these items in your diet and end your nightmare of low milk supply.
So there are two things our body needs to make milk
Remember how you had an insatiable appetite when you were pregnant. That’s the most common mistakes mothers make, they start taking less calories due to loss of appetite, depression, sleep deprivation, and milk production falls.
I always tell my patients remember the dictum ‘eat for two people when pregnant and for three when breastfeeding”
If you do not take upto 2000 to 2500 calories per day then your production will suffer.
So the basic, most correctable causes for low milk supply can be treated by eating more and eating right.
2- Hydration: Breast milk is made up of 90% water. You need to consume a minimum of 3 liters of water every single day to ensure adequate production of milk.
Keep a bottle handy. Make it a habit to drink after every feed, that way you can be sure to have consumed the required amount.
Here are a few tried and tested high caloric value recipes to try.
3- Panjiri– This is a traditional Indian recipe native to India, used for postpartum healing and as a lactation stimulant. It’s like a health bar except in powder form so you can consume it in whatever form you like, mould it into balls or bars or powder form.
2/3 cup (110 grams) almonds
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts
1/2 cup (50 grams) cashews
1/2 cup (50 grams )pistachios
100 grams 3.5 oz edible gum (goond)
2/3 cup 100 grams golden raisins
1 1/3 cup (20 grams) phool makhana (fox nuts)
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 tbsp flame of forest (kamarkas)
3/4 cup fine semolina (sooji)
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour (atta)
Ghee (for roasting)
1.In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp ghee over medium-high heat and add the almonds.
2.Roast for a few minutes until they are lightly golden. Remove the almonds
3.Repeat the same procedure for all the dry fruits. And do not over roast the nuts to avoid a bitter taste.
4. Heat another tablespoon of ghee, add raisins. Roast the raisins for 2-3 minutes until they puff up and begin to change color. Remove and place them in a large bowl.
5. Add 2 tbsp of ghee, and add the edible gum crystals (goond). Roast on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the edible gum crystals have about doubled in size and fully ‘cooked’. Set these aside along with the nuts.
Edible gum (gondh) – check on amazon
6. Add 2 tbsp of ghee, and add the phool makhana (fox nuts), Roast for 4-5 minutes and remove onto the bowl with the nuts.
7. Reduce the heat to low-medium and add the flax,chia seeds and roast in the remaining ghee for about a minute.
Chia seeds – check on amazon
8. Add the coconut flakes and lightly toast them for 1-2 minutes until they start to become lightly golden. Remove the flax, chia seeds and coconut and add them to the large bowl.
9. Raise the heat back up to medium and add flame of forest (kamarkas) to the pan and toast for a 2-3 minutes, adding ghee if needed. Remove and add them to the large bowl.
10. Add 2 tbsp of ghee and add semolina. Stir the semolina continuously until it roasts evenly and turns golden in color, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl and allow to cool. Clean off the semolina and ghee from the pan.
11. Lower the a little less than medium and add the whole wheat (atta) to the pan. Stir the atta, frequently at first and more continuously toward the end of roasting so that it roasts evenly.
12. Dry-roast for at 15-17 minutes, or until the atta turns lightly golden, completely ‘cooked’, and starts to release a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
13. Meanwhile, grind the nuts and edible gum crystals in a food processor until crushed. You want it to be grainy 14. Add this ground mixture into the large bowl.
15. Add the cooled atta to the large bowl along with powdered jaggery (or sugar) and mix everything very well. Taste and adjust sweetness, as desired.
16. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Consume 2 to 3 tablespoon along with a glass of warm milk on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, for maximum benefit, followed by a second breakfast.
1. Two hormones are involved in the release of breast milk, first is oxytocin that causes an initial stimulation required for the muscles of the breast to contract and cause release of milk aka ‘the let down reflex’.
For this one to work properly the mother has to have a peaceful mind while feeding n try to relax, do not be anxious, because this causes a negative feedback on the oxytocin levels and makes let down delayed. Let down reflex is the initial feeling of tightness felt in the breast ,as soon as baby starts suckling.
2. The other most important hormone is prolactin, which is responsible for maintaining the supply of breast milk after the initial boost provided by oxytocin.
To cause increased stimulation of prolactin, increase your night time feeds, even if it means waking your baby from his sleep. The reason being prolactin is released at its peak at 3 to 5 am in the morning.
Galactogogues are substances that promote lactation.
Here I am going to mention some excellent herbal galactogogues that have helped tonnes of women with their supply and will surely help you too.
1. Oatmeal – my no. 1 advised item on the list. Most palatable, high in caloric value, natural galactagogue, works wonders, consume one bowl mixed with dry fruits and freshly chopped fruits daily first thing in the morning.
2. Shatavari (asparagus racemosus) available as a tablet under various labels, when taken twice to thrice a day, promotes lactation within 48 hrs !
3. Fenugreek (trigonella foenumgraecum) this one has been used since centuries in Indian households. It is also available as a tablet but if you can’t get your hands on one, then here is a home recipe that works just fine-
🔺 just visit your local grocery store and get fenugreek seeds,
🔺take a tablespoon of them,
🔺soak them in 1 liter of water and next day consume that water over a period of 24 hours. (add sugar if u like)
4. Fennel seeds (foeniculum vulgare)- available as a combination along with other herbal galactogogues, refer recipe of panjiri for its home use.
5. Cumin seeds (jeera)- this is a very common ingredient found in every home.
How to include cumin in your diet to improve breast milk production
1. Mix a teaspoon of sugar and cumin powder and consume it with warm milk every day before going to bed.
2. Roast and grind cumin seeds and add them as a seasoning to your dals, curries or other vegetable preparations.
3. You can also add them to raitas, chaat and buttermilk.
4. you can soak some cumin seeds in a glass of water and drink it early in the morning to improve lactation.
Can be made at home or can be bought from outside. Best part is they are a great snack between meals.
Breast milk boosting tea.
Many moms have found a ton of success with drinking Mother’s Milk tea that naturally increases your breast milk. It’s an herbal tea that has many of the most popular ingredients that are known to help support and increase a mother’s breast milk.
There are lot many herbal substances which have claims of promoting lactation without any evidence. Try using one way at a time for week and see he difference. The best ones to start with, in combination are- panjiri /oatmeal for breakfast, followed by cumin soaked water, throughout the day. The ones mentioned above are from personal experience and rest assured, your problem of low milk supply will be solved within a few days if you follow the above recommendations.
Disclaimer- This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment.