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.
- Cumin: Thymol present in cumin is believed to increase secretion of milk in lactating women. It is a rich source of calcium and iron.
- Fenugreek: To increase milk supply within 3-4 days.
- Fennel (saunf): Believed to increase lactation and aid digestion and prevent colic.
- Dill (suwa): Dill is believed to increase lactation and appetite. It may also reduce gas and colic. It is a mild diuretic.
- Carom seeds (Ajwain): They are believed to help in cleansing the stomach and uterus.
- Dried Ginger (Saunth)
- Basil (Tulsi): It is believed to stimulate milk flow.
- 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 Group||Quantity||Servings per day|
|Milk and milk products||150 ml||2|
|Cereals & Grains||60 grams||6|
|Pulses & Beans*||30 grams||4-5|
|Vegetables including leafy vegetables||100 grams||4-5|
* 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.