After having guaranteed the baby’s well-being for nine months, the mother’s body is naturally “predisposed” to continue to feed it. Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure that your baby is getting the level of nutrition it needs to stay hale and hearty.
Nursing a newborn, however, might not always be as easy as it looks. One of the challenges that nursing mothers often experience is an insufficient supply of breast milk. Experts believe that mothers are blessed with the ability to increase breast milk supply on their own — all they need is a little guidance and encouragement to kick start the process of production.
It is now a proven fact that breastfeeding is highly beneficial for the infant as well as the mother. Therefore, we recommend you to try out these 10 natural ways to increase milk supply before resorting to over-the-counter supplements to increase milk supply.
- Hydrate Sufficiently
Breastfeeding requires more intense hydration than usual, up to two to three liters of water a day. Listen carefully to your body and drink as soon as you feel the need. To facilitate this hydration, you can, for example, drink a glass of water at each feeding. But do not overdo it by forcing yourself to drink too much. This could disrupt your lactation.
- Rest Well
Limit the sources of stress around you to help you in your daily life while you are breastfeeding, especially in the weeks following delivery. Indeed, fatigue and stress can disrupt the production of breastfeeding hormones, oxytocin, and prolactin. Remember to make time for yourself every day, and take advantage of the baby’s naps!
The goal is to stimulate the production of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the secretion of milk. A back and breast massage generate a state of relaxation which favors the production of breast milk and, in the event of a mammary obstruction, it facilitates the descent of the milk before the feeding.
- Correct Diet
If you follow a rich and balanced diet during breastfeeding, you will find all the essential nutrients and vitamins in the foods you consume. Always prefer seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are full of vitamins. Other allies of your breastfeeding include dates, almonds, lentils, or cashews. During breastfeeding, the mother needs about 500 to 800 more calories per day. Eating larger portions instead of small meals is helpful at this stage.
- Fennel Seeds
Fennel is renowned for its food galactagogue properties, i.e. which promotes milk production. You can consume it raw, steamed, braised, in soups, or herbal teas.
Fenugreek stimulates milk production par excellence. Consumed in sufficient portions, it can increase lactation in just 48 hours! In addition to this, it also helps to combat exhaustion and to rebuild the mass in case of undernutrition and fatigue.
- Herbal Teas
There is a wide range of herbal teas to choose from in the market. Nettle helps in restoring the energy needed by breastfeeding moms. Besides, it contains a multitude of nutrients including proteins, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin K, and many others. Another economical option is home-made breastfeeding tea. The recipe is very simple: mix fennel, caraway, and star anise in hot water. Let infuse and it’s ready! Drink at least 2 cups a day.
Ginger not only adds additional flavor to foods and is also capable of treating a number of health issues. It is often used for motion sickness or digestive problems. Some mothers also consume ginger to increase their supply of breast milk.
Garlic has many health benefits and is considered a safe and healthy supplement to your breastfeeding diet. It would increase the breast milk supply, but it can also change the flavor of your breast milk.
Check that the contraceptive you have been prescribed is not incompatible with breastfeeding. In particular, oral contraception should not be taken until the sixth week after delivery. Afterward, if you are prescribed oral contraception, it should be based only on progestins.
A low lactation can be distressing but do not overstress yourself over it. Just give your body some time to respond to the benefits that the above-mentioned ways to increase milk supply can bring in. You will surely be back in form in no time!