Lactation Foods For Breastfeeding Mothers

Often breast feeding women are worried and think how they can increase brest milk. Know the details on foods that are good for breastfeeding and lactation. What foods are good for lactation and increasing milk formation?

Drink at least 10 glasses of water along with plenty of juices, soups, buttermilk, dals, etc. throughout the day. Water is a major constituent of breast milk. This will help in maintaining your milk production.

In every culture there are some special foods for new mothers to provide them the nutrients needed for milk production. In West, however, there is no such special food and they insist only on a balanced diet. In India a variety of foods are recommended for increasing lactation.

You should ensure that your baby is nursing frequently and efficiently. Do not give baby bottle unless there is a problem in breast feeding.



Following are a few traditional foods that are believed to help increase lactation in breastfeeding women.

Herbs such as fenugreek, methi, cumin, fennel, dill (suwa), barley, etc. have been used for centuries in India to increase production of milk in lactating women. Besides these herbs, gond (gaund, edible gum) and almonds are also believed to help increase the milk.

  1. Cumin: Thymol present in cumin is believed to increase secretion of milk in lactating women. It is a rich source of calcium and iron.
  2. Fenugreek: To increase milk supply within 3-4 days.
  3. Fennel (saunf): Believed to increase lactation and aid digestion and prevent colic.
  4. Dill (suwa): Dill is believed to increase lactation and appetite. It may also reduce gas and colic. It is a mild diuretic.
  5. Carom seeds (Ajwain): They are believed to help in cleansing the stomach and uterus.
  6. Dried Ginger (Saunth)
  7. Basil (Tulsi): It is believed to stimulate milk flow.
  8. Garlic: Studies have shown that the infants of mothers who eat garlic tend to feed for a longer time because many infants seem to prefer a variety of flavor in breast milk.

These herbs are boiled in water and this water is given to lactating mothers daily. In Rajasthan laddoos (laddus) are made with these ingredients and a small ajwain laddo, gond-badam laddoo or saunth laddoo is given daily to the mother in the morning and evening. Badam ka seera (almond halwa) is also given. These laddoos and seera are, however, rich in ghee (saturated fat) and calofries. Eat them in moderation.
In Gujrat, the special foods given to mothers during lactation are wheat rab, bajra rab, moong khichdi, bajra roti, battisa ladu, kotta, ajiwain kada, gond ka soont, bydku, ajmoo, pipramoor and methi bhaji.

Meal Plan for Lactation

The table below shows a recommended average meal plan for a lactating Indian woman who does moderate work during the day.

Food GroupQuantityServings per day
Milk and milk products 150 ml 2
Cereals & Grains60 grams6
Pulses & Beans*30 grams4-5
Vegetables including leafy vegetables100 grams4-5
Fruits 50 grams4

* Non-vegetarians substitute 1 or occasionally 2 servings of pulses and beans with fish/meat/eggs.

Note: Cook the above food groups in moderate quantities of oil/butter/ghee to get the required supply of oils and fats to the diet.


Foods that may cause Colic/Discomfort

Foods to Avoid

There is no food that a breastfeeding (nursing) women should not eat. In fact you can eat whatever you like and whenever you like, unless you notice a reaction in your baby to a particular food.

Some foods can cause mild reaction to your baby, depending on your own body and the sensitivity of your baby.

Your child may experience colic, intestinal pain, abdominal bloating and gas due to something in your diet that is passing to the child through the breast milk. In addition to the symptoms of colic, the infant can show the symptoms of diarrhea (loose motion remedy), vomiting, runny noses, bronchitis or eczema and skin rashes.

Foods that may cause colic or discomfort to child are

  1. Dairy products, partricularly cow milk and other milk products.
  2. Caffeine foods such as coffee, tea and soda. Too much can interfere with your baby's sleep.
  3. Citrus fruits such as lemon, oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit can cause your baby to get a nappy rash.
  4. Meat and poultry products. Beef, Chicken, Eggs. Remove fatty portions before eating.
  5. Shellfish. Avoid freshwater fish from contaminated water.
  6. Nuts such as Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soy products
  9. Chocolate
  10. Corn
  11. Juice, particularly pineapple juice
  12. Some Vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Chilli, Cucumber, Onions, Garlic, Green peppers, Tomatoes.
  13. Some food dyes


Other Diet Topics

Diet Topics | Diet for Infants, 0 - 6 months old | Diet for 6 - 12 months old | 1 year old baby food chart | Diet for Sick People | Diet for Seniors | Low Cholesterol Diet | Diet for high blood pressureAnti-aging Diet | Pregnancy diet recipes | Foods to avoid in pregnancy | Foods to increase breast milk | Post Pregnancy Diet | Fertility Diet | Foods for Jains | Vegetarian diet for weight loss | Weight loss diet | Foods for weight gain | Diabetes diet | Gout causing foods





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