Breastfeeding is pure ecstasy. A wonderful delight. The cuddling, the warmth, the nestling and that pure food – there’s no bliss for a new-born like breastfeeding. But for the mothers though, though our hearts leap with joy to see our babies well fed and content, there are numerous challenges on the way to breastfeeding. ‘Not enough milk’ is one of them. Here we reveal some tips for new mothers to increase their milk supply.
Starting the Supply
Right after childbirth, when we feed our babies for the first time, their lips will be dry and they will cry. If you had a caesarean, it would only make things worse. There is only one way to start your milk supply – you have to let your baby suckle as often and as long as they want. Though your little one appears meek and tiny, they are the best suckers in the world. With the right latch, they will initiate breast milk secretion in a few hours.
The rookie mistake new moms do here is to supplement their baby. It takes lots of resources to make breast milk and our bodies are very smart – our brain will keep checking the baby’s intake very regularly and adjust the supply accordingly to prevent waste of our energy. When you begin to supplement your little ones with formula or cow’s milk, they won’t be very hungry when they come to you. They will not suckle as often too, causing your milk supply to dwindle down.
The key you establishing your milk supply is to keep feeding your baby on demand at least for the first two months, without supplements.
Scarcity of Resources
Making milk for your little one is an expensive affair. It needs a good amount of your energy and resources. If the sources are not replenished, the milk supply might get affected. Breastfeeding moms should never skip their meals – you also need to keep sipping fluids throughout the day at regular intervals. Eating a balanced, healthy diet including greens (like spinach) and proteins (like fish) is very important to establish a quality milk supply. There’s a lucky catch here – your breast milk will taste like whatever you eat, so your baby will get accustomed to eating healthy food too!
Not Supplementing the Baby
If you are keen on establishing exclusive breastfeeding, supplementing your baby early on is a big mistake. The first few weeks are crucial for the body to monitor the needs of your baby and adjust accordingly; supplementing during this period might lead to a misunderstanding between your body and your little one’s needs. Since your baby won’t be so hungry, he will only take less, and your body will start decreasing your supply accordingly. Watch out for the number of wet nappies your baby is making every day – lesser nappies denote that your little one is not getting enough nourishment. In that case, consult your paediatrician to work out a good solution. Otherwise, if your baby is gaining weight normally, supplementing is usually unnecessary and hinders the supply of breast milk.
Many mothers begin producing abundant breast milk. But due to the latching issues of the baby, the babies will end up taking in less milk and this will eventually decrease the milk supply of the mother. Breast feeding should feel comfortable and pleasing. If you are feeling pain, the baby isn’t latched on correctly. Also, the baby’s mouth should cover most of the areola or the dark area of the nipple. This might not be possible in new-born infants, but a month old baby will easily take in the whole nipple. If the baby is sucking only on the end tip of your breast, the latch is wrong. If you are engorged, your breasts will not be soft enough for your baby to make a seal. So pump off a little milk before you begin. Right after birth, check with a nurse in the hospital if the way you are feeding is correct. Ask them to have a look at the latch and note if your baby is sucking rhythmically. When there is no proper latch, even if the milk is abundant, your little one will not be able to have it properly, deteriorating the precious supply.
If for some reason, you are separated from your little one, pumping can help. Working mothers and mothers of preemies are usually away from their precious little ones several times a week. In such conditions, the mother’s milk supply might take a hit. Such mothers should resort to regular pumping. There are several brands of manual and electric pumps available. While at work, you could pump your milk and have it delivered to your baby for his joyous nourishment. You could also safely freeze your milk in batches for thawing at night when you partner can feed your little one while you take a nap. Even if you are supplementing your baby for the time when you are away, pump and donate your milk needy babies to maintain your milk supply.
Nursing vacations are a relatively new concept to help increase the breast milk supply in new mummies. In this vacation, the rules are simple. You should devote minimum three days at least for the activity. All you have to do is cancel all appointments, eat, drink, cuddle and nest with your little one and feed her all day. You can watch movies if you are bored or knit or read, but stay close to the baby and feed her often and don’t cook or work. Imagine that she’s going through a growth spurt and is increasingly hungry. So make it a point to feed her as often as you wish for as long as she wants. This vacation will simulate the hormones in both you and your little one and will help you boost up your breast milk supply. Since you will be resting a lot and relaxing during this time, it will help you bond better with the little bundle of joy. Stay well hydrated and eat healthy during this period.
How do you know if your breast milk is enough for your little one?
- Breast feeding should be painless and comfortable for you. Breast feeding secretes hormones which are relaxing for both the mother and baby. If you are feeling the opposite, check with your health care consultant.
- Your fussy baby should look content after a feeding session. There should be no more fussing or crying or repeatedly putting hands into their mouth (although the last symptom can be hard to distinguish from play for new mothers).
- Your breasts should feel emptier after feeds. You won’t be able to notice this early on, but after 4 or 5 weeks, your breasts will begin to feel softer after feeds. If you skip a feed, your breasts will engorge and become hard.
- If you have enough breast milk, your baby will suck and swallow in a rhythm. When he is feeding, he will actively suck, pause to swallow and resume sucking like a musical rhythm. If you hear clicking sounds, or if your baby pushes your breast away, or if he seems bored very often, then something might be wrong. Try removing all distractions, don’t talk to anybody while feeding, check if you are spraying milk very forcedly or check if your baby has a tongue tie.
- Your baby should produce at least seven wet nappies each day. The poop will likely be yellow with lumps that resemble curdled milk. If you are exclusively breast feeding your little one, then he/she might pass stools several times a day or not pass stools for even five days – both are perfectly normal for exclusively breast fed babies.
Give all these tips a try to boost up your breast milk supply. Share with us here what worked for you, so we can all benefit from your wisdom!
Here, is the list of ingredients for you to include in moderate amounts in your diet for increased lactation.
One of the most effective remedies for increased lactation is Cumin seeds. Cumin seeds contain cumin aldehyde and other aldehydes and also contain many flavonoids and terpenes.
These should be added to dal, veggies and even roti’s. Roasted cumin powder can be added to buttermilk or lemon water and can be consumed.
Sesame is one of the most important ingredients containing high amounts of Calcium. Calcium is needed in very high amounts in lactating mothers and the breast milk contains mainly calcium. Sesame seeds could be added into the food or could be had in the form of sweets made of sesame.
Basil or Tulsi Leaves
It is known for its various benefits that it gives. These leaves should be had in moderation only else it will produce heat in the body.
You must be having as tulsi chai but now consume it daily once either directly or as tulsi tea or by adding them to food. Tulsi leaves are known to have no direct effect on lactation but it calms the body, smoothens the bowel movement by overcoming constipation and gives immunity.
Digestion and lactation are both interrelated. The food eaten needs to be digested well in order to become a part of the breast milk. So, this is how tulsi leaves help the lactating mother.
Dill seeds are a rich source of Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. These seeds are believed to improve the lactation, digestion and also help in ensuring proper sleep. It is a mild diuretic and hence should be consumed is small amounts. In some places, Dill tea is used as a popular post-natal drink for new mothers.
These gourd vegetables form an ideal food for the mothers to consume after delivery. There are highly fibrous and are rich in Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Zinc, Thiamin, iron and magnesium. These also contain insulin which is present in the form of peptides and alkaloids that keep a check on the blood sugars.
Gourd veggies are very easy to digest and hence make a wonderful food for new mothers. It is one of the best category of vegetables that are gifted to us by nature. Since generations together, mothers are fed Gourd vegetables post-delivery.
All pulses except chana and tur are believed to be good for new mothers. The lentils are a great source of high-quality protein for mothers. Breast milk production also required a good amount of milk protein and hence it really helps in lactation when you eat the right food.
Red lentils or masoor is believed to improve lactation in mothers. These are rich in protein, iron and fibre and hence it is recommended by the elderlies to be fed to new mothers.
Dried fruits like cashews, raisins, almonds are extremely high in required calories, minerals, vitamins, proteins and provide a good amount of energy to breast feeding mothers. These could be consumed in the mornings and evenings as snacks with tea or could be added to sweets like halwa or ladoos. These could also be blended with milk to make badam milk or shakes.
Oats make an excellent breakfast for new breast feeding moms. These are rich in calcium, iron, fibre and Vitamins B. These provide the much-needed nutrients for the body and hence are recommended by all the doctors to include in the daily diet of breastfeeding mothers. Oats should be consumed twice in a day to suffice the body requirements of a lactating mother.
Porridge is again a very high source of protein and is extremely nutritious as well. Porridge can be made with nuts, milk, spices etc. to improve its nutrition further.
Calcium, Iron and Multivitamin supplements
Your doctor will advise you to take these pills for at least a couple of months’ post-partum. These pills will be helpful in meeting all your body requirements and will also ensure that all the required nutrients are well supplied which goes into the breast milk.
Lotus seeds or Makhane
Roasted Makhane serve as an excellent snack in the evening. These are a rich source of flavonoids or anti-oxidants and helps in eliminating the free radicals from the body. Lotus seeds could also be had in the form of kheer or other sweets.
Homemade pure ghee made from cow’s milk is supposedly the best ingredient in making food. Pure ghee contains a lot of calories along with some vital ingredients like Vitamin A and Vitamin E. It is also very rich in anti-oxidants and possess anti-viral properties but only if its extracted from the milk of cows that are grass fed.
The recent researches have shown that massaging the body really helps in relaxing the muscles, toning them down and helping in getting rid of excess fat. Breast massage however often gets neglected by the mothers as they don’t realize how much they are losing on by not doing it.
Breast massage helps in opening up the ducts and also help to boost the milk production further. It helps to ease out the pain and helps in loosening lumps and hardened areas around the breast.
However, only gently strokes should be given as otherwise it may drain the milk contained in the ducts.
Sleep deprived mother will have less of milk production and there will also be a constant puffiness and swelling all over the face and the body. Ample sleep will ensure the release of supporting hormones which boost up the milk production and vice versa.
Hence, it is always advised to the new mothers to catch up sleep while the baby is fast asleep to remove any stress that may come due to sleep deprivation.
These are some of the ways in which you could boost up your lactation naturally. It is best to seek natural remedies rather than depending on the artificial ones. The tips for all the new mothers here is that by breast feeding you lose 4 kgs weight per month. Breast feed is the best food for your little lolo and also serves as the best immunity provider. And, apart from this, breast feeding has been recommended by the women’s health society as it is believed to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.