Boosting Your Breast Milk Supply with Nutrition
Some Women Have a Harder Time Maintaining A Milk Supply. A recent study of mothers seeking help for breastfeeding problems found that a 2 out 3 had inadequate milk supply 11-13 days after birth (defined as less than 440 mL per day), and 1 out 3 continued to have inadequate supply by the end of the first month.
Fortunately, there are some safe and effective herbal remedies that can increase both the quantity and quality of breast milk. Herbs also have the added benefit of being highly nutritious, providing a natural source of vitamins and minerals for both mother and child.
Substances that boost breast milk production are termed galactogogues and they work in one of three ways. Some have a direct hormonal action on the pituitary gland in the brain that is responsible for the secretion of prolactin, the hormone that initiates and maintains the flow of breast milk during lactation. Other herbs work directly on the breast tissue, stimulating the glands of the breast. The third mode of action is via the nervous system.
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1. Fenugreek is probably the most popular and strongest herbs of the galactagogue family. This herb native to India has been helping mommies all over the world feed their babies. Another reason why fenugreek is great for nursing moms is it helps regulate blood sugar levels, thus improving energy production and reducing carbohydrate cravings!
2. Nettle not only helps boost milk supply but enriches it with iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, K, and several B vitamins.
3. Fennel Seed and Anise help sustain healthy milk flow, may provide relief for gassy babies and supports digestion
3. Coriander is packed with vitamins and minerals to help get your milk pumping.
4. Ginger has been used for centuries as a remedy to various ailments. It relieves symptoms related to the cold and flu, poor digestion, and nausea. If you used this for morning sickness during pregnancy, use it again to boost your milk production.
5. Milk Thistle promotes breastmilk production, aids digestion and can elevate mood.
6. (Lemon) Verbena Leaf has historically been used to promote healthy milk flow. It’s also a soothing relaxant, and helps to make breastfeeding a more harmonious experience. It has a multitude of other health benefits including its ability to protect muscles, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, calm the stomach, reduce fevers and clear up congestion.
7. Cardamom is often referred to as the Queen of Spices because of its many health benefits. It has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for generations to help with breast milk creation and healthy lactation. In addition, it is well known for aiding in the regulation of the digestive system and reducing the uncomfortable bloating and gas, helping to keep blood pressure down, regulating blood sugar levels and much more.
8. Raspberry Leaf not only helps to increase breastmilk production, but it also will help the uterus recover after birth, as it is a uterine toner. Red Raspberry Leaf is incredibly high in vitamins and minerals, including Niacin (a B vitamin)
9. Alfalfa a great herb for increasing breastmilk production while providing the body with lots of good vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is very high in Vitamin K in particular, which helps to stop bleeding. Many midwives encourage their clients to take Alfalfa for at least six weeks before birth, and for several months after, to help avoid hemorrhage at the birth, and to help the body recover and make plentiful breastmilk postpartum.
10. Oats promote mom’s milk supply as a known galactagogue, may help increase energy, elevate mood and ward off “new-mom exhaustion”. They also support immune health.
11. Almonds and cashews help enrich breastmilk production and quality, can help increase calorie intake to optimal levels for mom’s health and milk production, and aid in baby’s brain health and nervous system development.
12. Dates support a healthy supply of milk and may provide a natural energy boost.
13. Sunflower Seeds have been used for centuries to aid in lactation. They also support baby’s brain development.
14. Flaxseed contains compounds that can influence breastmilk production and supports baby’s overall development.