Breast feeding is a natural phenomenon which has numerous benefits. Ayurveda has always maintained that breast feeding is the best method to bond and share love. A baby’s natural instinct toward its mother is through the smell of breast milk. Having a steady flow of breast milk is crucial if you are opting to breast feed your baby.
The diet for new mothers should be based on the body constitution (prakruti); sometimes, pregnancy may alter one’s specific predominant dosha. A well-versed practitioner will guide you to make suggested modifications and bring balance among all doshas.
Traditional Foods That Aid In Increasing Breast Milk Production
What foods should a mother eat while breast-feeding? Some of the best and healthy food for feeding mothers are listed below.
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Breast feeding moms should consume adequate amounts of ghee in order to improve digestion and ensure smooth bowel movements. Ghee nourishes tissues (dhatus) and reduces vata dosha, which is prominent in the postpartum stage. Ghee (unlike other oils) is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid. Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acidand use that for intestinal wall support.
Ghee stimulates the secretion of gastric acid, thus aiding in better digestion, which is very important in breast feeding mothers. It also increases vitamin absorbency and helps in weight loss. The fats in ghee aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals from other foods, strengthening the immune system.
Ghee does not contain harmful hydrogenated oils, artificial additives, preservatives, or trans-fats. Ayurvedic physicians have been using ghee enemas for centuries to decrease inflammation. Ghee is considered one of the most sattvic foods because it promotes positivity, growth, and expansion of consciousness.
Oatmeal Or Dalia (Broken Wheat)
This is a good option for increasing quantity of breast milk. In North India, dalia is cooked until tender and eaten to increase milk production. In other countries, eating a bowl of good old traditional oatmeal also increases breast milk. You can cook oatmeal or dalia in almond milk (recipe: soak 10-15 almonds in water overnight, peel, and grind with milk or water), or add it to fresh-cooked oatmeal; then top it off with a spoonful of raw honey, cardamom, and saffron. Choosing nuts as a healthy protein source can provide needed protein and calories for nursing mothers.
For women with kapha dosha and pitta dosha, adding pomegranate juice helps increase the production of breast milk. However, pomegranate is not advised for women who have vata as their predominant dosha. Pomegranate is a nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich fruit that has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility, and eternal life. It also is a great blood purifier.
Ginger is the postpartum woman’s best friend. It increases immunity; has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties; and has a warming quality that warms energy channels and stops uterine bleeding. New mothers are served plenty of ginger in their meals during the first month after giving birth. Ginger is great for dispelling stomach gas and reducing bloating. Its flavor is aromatic and spicy, and its pungent quality clears microcirculatory channels to facilitate better absorption of nutrients, also helping in elimination of waste. Ginger has the effect of supporting the free flow of energy and promoting both blood circulation and mild sweating. It also functions as a blood cleanser; therefore, if you have mild gastroenteritis (mild intestinal inflammation), a ginger, honey, and lemon tea concoction serves the best.
Is one of the best herb to increase your milk supply. Garlic has many natural properties and uses for the postpartum woman; it is wise to use it generously. It maintains heat in the body, supports digestion and lactation, is grounding and helps increase immunity, and is healing for joints and other vata doshas. Cooked, garlic helps detoxify the body after birth. Add it to rice dishes, stews, soups, and bread, or better still, have it raw, first thing in the morning. Some new mothers boil about 6 to 7 garlic cloves in 1 cup milk and drink it for instant relief from gas for both mother and baby.
Astringent and tonic, raspberry leaf strengthens, tones, and relaxes the uterus and entire pelvic area. The leaves contain fragarine, an alkaloid that gives strength to uterine muscles, toning and nourishing the whole body. It is the famous herb of pregnancy and great to use before, during, and after birth. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, and B complex and easily assimilated calcium and iron, as well as phosphorus and potassium, among other minerals.
Fenugreek Or Methi
Fenugreek is the oldest herbal remedy for increasing breast milk. A regular kitchen herb, the seeds and leaves both are used generously in a nursing mother’s diet. It is an excellent galactagogue (herb that improves breast milk secretion). Fenugreek also has several medicinal qualities and is used to treat fever, joint pains, and intestinal and respiratory ailments. In India, lactating mothers compulsorily consume fenugreek seeds and leaves, adding them to savory dishes to stimulate their milk supply. Fenugreek helps to alleviate common digestive troubles like flatulence and can be dried, powdered, and added to tea or soups.
Asparagus Racemosus Or Shatavari Kalp
This wonder herb for lactating mothers helps to improve the quantity and quality of breast milk. It is rich in B complex vitamins, zinc, and calcium, all of which work wonderfully to provide strength to the new mother. A couple of tablespoons of this powder should be added to hot milk and had twice a day.
Most importantly, an optimum dose of good sleep and a calm state of mind shall surely ensure that new motherhood becomes a joyful journey to embark upon.