- Written by Super User
Breast milk is essential or newborns it supplies them with nutrients and acts as a vaccine against disease, in some cases however its production can slow down, which can be a cause of concern for mothers but there are some ways to boost it such as increasing calorie intake and change of diet.
Having a low milk supply causes many challenges to a baby, such as low birth weight and susceptibility to infections. Nutritionists recommend mothers consume at least 1,800 calories per day to maintain a full milk supply for their growing baby, at most, 2,500 to 2,700 calories.
Such a diet would include foods rich in vitamin B and includes fruits like bananas, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are known as Galactagogues, aa food, herb, or supplement that aids breast milk supply and also include kombucha tea, brewer's yeast and molasses, which help lactating mums.
Garlic is also a galactagogue. It contains chemical compounds which help in lactation including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Studies have shown that babies nursed more often and took more milk when mothers took a garlic supplement before nursing. And, since an increase in breastfeeding can lead to an increase in the breast milk supply, this is one of the reasons why garlic is associated with making more breast milk.
Vegetables such as potatoes, spinach and beet leaves (contain iron, calcium, folic acid and detoxifying agents), carrots (contains Vitamin A which complements lactation and boosts the quality of your milk) and which help produce hormones in the female human body that help lactation among other vegetables.
Grains such as oats (are beneficial due to their high iron levels), barley, millet, brown rice, lentils and beans (black beans- commonly referred to as Njahi, kidney and soy beans) are among the recommended ones.
A bowl of whole grain oatmeal in the morning is reported to increase supply as it contains fiber and is a good source of iron, according to lactation consultants.
Diets can be complimented by nuts which are high in proteins and essential fatty acids. The amino acids in nuts are building blocks for serotonin, which is a necessary neurotransmitter for lactation.
Other foods include Salmon which is a great source of Essential Fatty acids (EFA) and Omega-3, Sweet potato which is an energy producing carbohydrate, a major source of potassium and contains Vitamin C and B-complex and a muscle relaxant mineral that is magnesium.
Another way of increasing milk production is by compressing or massaging the breasts to assist with milk flow and drainage, experts say.
According to Faith Gitahi, a lactation manager at Kenyatta National Hospital, the time breastfeeding is initiated also matters; and it is recommended that this be done within thirty minutes or within the first hour after delivery. If delayed, this could lead to low milk production.
Low breast milk production supply can be caused by stress, return of menses, medication, birth control pills and even some foods such as mint, sage, wintergreen herbs, say nutritionists.