6 natural ways to produce breast milk
Nia Bennett | Apr, 5 2020
If you are a first-time mother, the thought of producing breast milk is something that can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.
The media, our mothers, family members, even the World Health Organisation says ‘breast milk’ is the best. It says that infants need to be fed on demand and that mothers must exclusively breastfeed until their baby is six months. Post that along with solids you must give your baby breast milk till the age of two.
This type of information is great if you are a woman who starts leaking milk and produces enough breast milk to store them in freezers, but those of us who’ve struggled or struggle to produce breast milk, this can be terrifying.
Women who’ve undergone a caesarian section often struggle to produce full quantities of breast milk late. Some women take up to two weeks or later. Either way, giving birth, nursing a newborn, dealing with the recovery of your body and constantly feeding the baby is physically and emotionally draining. To top that, no woman needs the added stress of being guilt-tripped about exclusive breastfeeding. Although if you are dealing with low supply, there are some natural methods to help you with the process.
I know getting some sleep sounds like an oxymoron especially in the early days of the pregnancy when your baby needs frequent feeds. I noticed when I was tired, my milk supply went down, which made me feel low and rubbish about myself. This extra pressure reduced my breast milk supply. At several points, I had to remind myself to take it easy and get enough sleep, at least eight hours of solid sleep or frequent naps in the day will help. Trust me, I’ve been there and if you want to breastfeed, you need to rest. You might not see a dramatic increase but persevere and you will see an improvement within a week.
If you aren’t a fan of porridge then this won’t be good news but try to make oatmeal your staple breakfast. Not only does it help with breast milk supply but it’s also great for naturally losing weight. In my experience eating oats every day is the best method to help you stimulate breast milk, along with keeping you full for longer as it contains soluble fibre and it’s also the most convenient way to have at least two of your five a day. You can mix and match by adding two new fruits every day to experiment with new flavours.
Even though I mentioned oats help in losing weight, thinking about going on diets or calorie counting while breastfeeding will have a bad impact and reduce your breast milk supply.
Fenugreek seeds are a god-send!
You don’t need to buy expensive lactation cookies or drinks, just buy a large packet of fenugreek seeds. They are an extremely powerful and very reliable method to induce and increase breast milk supply in women. Add a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds to a cup of water, let it boil for two minutes and then drink the water. I strain the seeds, drink the water and then eat the seeds. Do this till you get a steady supply of milk and then you can stop. But don’t forget that apart from an increasing supply of breast milk, fenugreek seeds are great for losing fat and it’s a great way to keep cholesterol in control.
You might have heard an old wive’s tale about Guinness increasing breast milk. Even though this might sound tempting, this is not true. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can dramatically decrease your breast milk supply, but let’s get back to Guinness. The reason why people suggest drinking Guinness is that one of its key ingredients is barley, which is a lactogen. So adding barley to your diet by adding it to soups, having barley bread or salads is a brilliant way to eat healthily and increase your milk supply.
5. Fennel seeds
Herbal teas are a great way to reduce caffeine intake while breastfeeding but having a combination of fennel and fenugreek tea is an excellent method to stay relaxed.
When you are relaxed and combine them with natural lactogenic foods, this works wonders in producing oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that will help in increasing breast milk supply. Plus eating fennel is a great way to keep your breath fresh.
6. Brewers yeast
Brewers yeast is often found in lactation teas and cookies. The reason for this is because it’s not advisable to have this as a sole ingredient like the other ingredients mentioned on this list. I find brewer's yeast bitter to have on its own. Another thing to remember is that brewer's yeast helps to increase already established milk supply, not stimulate, unlike the others. I prefer to include brewers yeast by adding it in some homemade cookies, oats pancakes, juices, smoothies or by taking a pill.