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Mothers' milk is vital to newborn babies as it provides ideal nutrition for them. Breast milk has the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat that a newborn baby needs to grow. It also contains antibodies that help build natural immunity to viruses and bacteria. A new mother has to have a nutritious diet, including certain foods that help increase milk production.
"A lactating mother requires an additional intake of 550 calories as her body requires to produce 2 to 3 litres of milk per day," said Dr. Poornima Ramakrishna, MBBS, MS (Obs& Gyn) MRCOG(UK), Apollo Cradle & Children's Hospital, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Bengaluru Koramangala. She has shared a list of Indian foods that lactating mother can include in their diet to increase their breast milk production. Read on to find out -
Fenugreek: In the Indian kitchen, methi or fenugreek is a herb used to enhance the flavor of the food and comes with medicinal properties. It is also considered an effective home remedy for lactating mothers. Fenugreek may be consumed as herbal tea, over-the-counter capsules, or powder added to daily meals.
Almond: Almond is a rich source of fatty acids, protein, zinc and magnesium and it is having emollients and helps in increased secretion of breast milk.
Fennel: Fennel helps to stimulate and increase the production of milk for breast feeding. Fennel may increase levels of prolactin, the main hormone responsible for stimulating milk production.
Oats meal: Beta-glucan is found in oats. Beta-glucan is a type of fiber that's thought to raise the levels of the breast feeding hormone prolactin. Higher prolactin levels can have a positive effect on breast milk production.
Ajwain: A common complaint by nursing women is regarding gas and acidity. Ajwain is the best solution for this. Add one tablespoon of ajwain to a glass of water, boil this combination and mix it with regular water. Now, sip this mix throughout the day. It is also known to be lactogenic.
Shatavari: It is an ayurvedic herb that helps produce corticoids and prolactin. Shatavari is also a well-known galactagogue, meaning it can increase breast milk production. This ancient herb is commonly used in India and China to support lactation.
Beetroot and carrot: The beta carotene in these red and orange vegetable is important to the production of breast milk. Beetroot, carrot have the added benefit of supplying iron and minerals.
Chickpeas and lentils: Legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, have long been touted for their milk boosting properties.
Eggs: Protein is essential for breast milk production, and it passes from the woman to the baby to nourish and support growth. One egg has about 75 calories and 7 grams of high-quality protein, which may help produce breast milk.
Paneer: Cheese and paneer help to increase breast milk. For vegetarians, consumption of a minimum of 100 grams of cottage cheese or paneer is advised. Both are rich sources of protein and are beneficial for a nursing mother.
Garlic: It increases breast milk production as it is galactagogue in nature. It has been used for many years as a herbal treatment to stimulate milk production and increase supply.
Papaya: Raw or green papaya increases the production of oxytocin. Green papaya fortifies breast milk with its inherent vitamins and minerals.
Drumsticks: Rich in many nutrients, drumsticks help stimulate mammary glands to produce more milk. Drumstick juice also improves blood circulation.
Brown rice: Usually suggested as part of a nursing mother's postpartum diet, brown rice is believed to stimulate the hormones responsible for milk production. It also helps the new mom feel more energized in taking care of the little one's needs.
Fluids: New mothers need to be hydrated all the time as a well-hydrated body works better towards milk production. While water is the best remedy to ensure this, fresh fruit juices especially rich in vitamin C can be excellent aids too.
Dark, leafy green vegetables: They are a wonderful source of important enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Example are kale, spinach, dil leaves. These greens also supply the compound phytoestrogen, which may support lactation.
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