After the delicate 9 months of pregnancy, delivery of the baby can be an overwhelming experience. The journey thereafter is a new one for both the mother and the child. While a mother makes every effort to keep her child healthy and happy, she may experience a few hindrances. One such hindrance is a poor breast milk supply.
Mother’s breastmilk is the most nourishing and essential thing a baby requires in the first few months of life. It is recommended that a newborn should not be fed anything except breastmilk for the first 6 months of life, not even water. This also means that the mother should have a healthy supply of breastmilk that fulfils the baby’s requirements. Here, we discuss about how to increase breastmilk production naturally and ensure that your baby is getting the required nutrition. For this it is important to know what causes a poor breastmilk supply.
Although there are several reasons that can contribute to a low breastmilk supply, here are a few common ones.
Outside feed: Production of breastmilk is directly proportional to its demand. If you give your baby formula feed, juice, or water, the baby will require that much lesser breastmilk. Eventually, your body will start producing less breastmilk.
Use of bottles and pacifiers: Correct latching is necessary for the baby to be able to draw milk from the breasts. Use of pacifiers affects the baby’s latch. For the baby, sucking milk from a bottle is easier. Thus, the baby can be reluctant to put in that extra effort while nursing, if too much of pacifiers and bottles are used, which in turn affects the milk supply.
Poor nutrition: Your diet during and after pregnancy plays a major role in the development of your baby as well as your milk supply. Women on a poor diet particularly those trying to shed their pregnancy weight can experience poor milk supply.
Health conditions: Uncontrolled anaemia or hypothyroidism, retained placenta, postpartum haemorrhage, previous breast surgery, hormonal imbalances, or additions like smoking can affect breastmilk supply.
It is seen that most women worry about their breastmilk supply without having an actual problem. Breastmilk is easily digested by the baby and thus requires frequent feeding as compared to a formula feed. Most women take frequent feeding as an indication of the child not being satisfied. The baby’s changing mood, or the size and shape of your breasts does not determine milk supply.
Utilizing the demand and supply equation is important when breastfeeding the baby. The body tends to produce milk as long as the baby requires it. The more you draw milk from your breast, the more milk your body will produce. If milk is not efficiently removed from the breasts, it eventually decreases milk supply. This is a common problem in the initial few days after childbirth when the baby sleeps continuously and later when the baby is started on outside food. In such cases, you can use a breast pump to draw milk, which can be stored in the fridge and utilized as and when needed.
Thus, nurse the baby frequently as it stimulates your body to produce more milk. Avoid giving your baby outside feed that will supplement its requirements for breastmilk.
Accurate latching of the baby to the breast is important to draw milk efficiently. Continuous use of bottles and pacifiers affects the baby’s habit to latch effectively. This also makes the baby irritated as he is unable to drink milk and eventually starts withdrawing from breastfeeding, which affects your milk supply.
Thus, keep your child away from bottles and pacifiers to improve his feeding habits and your milk supply naturally.
Diet and nutrition play an important role in improving and maintaining a healthy breastmilk supply. Here are top 5 foods to increase breastmilk production.
This is an ancient remedy and is being used since generations to improve breastmilk supply. Methi is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and is a good source of vitamins, iron, and calcium.
It is well known that nuts and dried fruits are high on calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, and a good source of essential nutrients. They can be had by themselves or added in several preparations.
Pulses, such as Tur daal and Masoor daal are believed to improve milk supply since ancient times. They are high in protein and contain good amounts of iron and fiber.
Spinach (paalak), mustard greens (sarson ka saag), and lamb’s quarter (bathua) are a few of the many green leafy vegetables that are rich in iron, calcium, folate, vitamin A and B12 which help to improve lactation.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: Quick Recipe Ideas For Lactating Moms
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