Breastfeeding is an important phase as it not only ensures emotional bonding between the mother and baby but also the right nourishment for the child.
A lactating mom needs to consume more amounts of nutrition and energy giving foods compared to a pregnant lady. Good supply of mother’s milk is ensured only if there is healthy and timely intake of the right milk building foods.
Based on research a few ingredients have been identified that help in milk creation in mothers. Some are listed below with possible recipe ideas using them.
1. Pulses - Pulses are a very good source of protein for a lactating lady as her energy requirement during that period increases. While dals are a daily item on the menu some different dishes using them will help break the boredom. Try making nutritious Dal ki Rotis using mashed moong dal, chopped onions, green chillies kneaded along with whole wheat flour. They make a very healthy breakfast and in-between meals snack.
Pulses can also be sprouted and tossed as a stir fry with international sauces to give a change to the palate. Halwa made using Moong dal and Channa Dal is also a good way of protein intake paired with dairy goodness.
2. Liquids - Consuming liquids, lots of it, is the no. one rule you should follow when lactating. Liquids in all forms water, juices, milk, soups, etc can be consumed. If it’s Summer try consuming coconut water or freshly squeezed fruit juices. Whipping up milkshakes or smoothies using fruits is a good way of bringing versatility to your menu. Try an Avocado Smoothie, by blending chopped avocado with milk or yoghurt OR an Indulgent Chocolate Milkshake.
Mocktails as a way of taking in liquids is also a good idea. However, avoid using any carbonated beverages to create mocktails.
For Winter’s, soups can be a very good way of consuming liquids. They are flavourful and nutritious at the same time. You could make a nice Barley Coconut Soup, sauté chopped vegetables of your choice, add in soaked barley and simmer in stock. Lastly stir in some coconut milk and season the soup.
3. Seeds and Nuts - Fenugreek (methi) seeds, Sesame (til) seeds, Almonds, Fennel (saunf) seeds, Subja seeds is what you should include in your diet on an everyday basis. A good way to include most of them in one dish is to prepare a post meal digestive mix or Mukhwas; mix chopped roasted almonds with roasted fennel seeds and sesame seeds, sweeten it with powdered mint sweet like Polo. Have a spoonful of this post every meal on a daily basis.
Fenugreek seeds are widely suggested by doctors and experienced family members to improve milk production and quality. If possible have a spoonful of overnight soaked methi seeds first thing in the morning or, else try making these delicious Steamed Methi Muthias; add lots of finely chopped fresh methi leaves to a mixture of gram flour (besan) and whole wheat flour (atta). Add dry spices like red chilli powder, turmeric, jeera powder, etc of your choice and season with salt, knead to make dough. Make cylinders of the dough and steam them. Once steamed cut the muthias and lightly fry them in a tempering of oil and sesame seeds before serving.
Add a spoonful of soaked Subja seeds to all the drinks you consume, even water. They are an excellent source of iron.
4. Vegetables - Of all the recommended vegetables Carrots, Garlic, Ginger and Leafy vegetables are a must to increase milk production. Try Carrot Juice or add carrots to khichdi, pulao, breakfast preparations, etc. A simple grated Carrot Salad dressed with minced garlic vinaigrette is an ideal way to consume both these super milk building foods in a very quick way. Leafy vegetables can be added to salad or a subzi can be prepared using them. You could even try making fibre rich Spinach and Carrot juice.
Freshly chopped ginger and garlic tempering for buttermilk is recommended. Stir fries can also be tempered using them.
5. Dairy & Meat - Mother’s milk is rich in calcium to ensure baby’s bone development. If the Calcium intake of mother is not good then it is drawn from her bones which can result in bones related problems for the mother in the future. Thus, always have a Calcium rich diet by consuming dairy products on a daily basis. The least you could do is have a glass of milk or a bowl of curd, everyday. Yoghurt based Smoothies will also ensure a good supply of calcium.
Meat and meat products are recommended for supply of Vit B12 which is a very essential for milk production. Try including boiled chicken in a salad or make a Quick Chicken Wrap by placing boiled, diced chicken on a bed of lettuce which is in turn kept on a chapatti. Dress with sauces of your choice, add more vegetables if required. Wrap to make a roll and bake or lightly roast on a tawa. The wrap can be made more indulgent by adding cheese or paneer cubes to it.
Omega 3 boosts lactating hormones and can be found in fishes like mackerel (bangda) and salmon (rawas). A simple Fish fry or Baked Fish can be consumed once in a while. Try Patra ni Machi, place a marinated fish fillet on banana leaf, smear green chutey over it, wrap to make a parcel. Steam the fish till cooked and serve hot.
If you are a vegetarian, soya products ensure a good supply of Vit B12 and Omega 3 supplements can be found easily. Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements during lactation.
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