Are you worried that you’re not producing enough milk for your baby? While most experts advise nursing mothers to simply allow their baby to feed more often to increase their supply of breast milk, many moms worry that their body will be unable to keep up with the demand.
There’s some research that indicates that some mothers are right to be concerned about their supply of breast milk. One study suggests that health concerns such as anemia, which can be caused by not getting enough iron in the diet, or blood loss during giving birth, can affect the amount of milk that the body is able to produce to feed baby.
If you are concerned about your body’s ability to produce enough milk for your baby, there are some foods that you can eat that have been shown to naturally increase your supply of breast milk. Try some of the following foods to improve your nutrition and increase your production of breast milk.
Eat Lettuce, Spinach and Other Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are great for providing your body the boost of iron that it needs to produce breast milk, while also raising your energy levels. Lettuce and spinach are two popular choices because they can be enjoyed raw in fresh salads along with other vegetables. Cooked green leafy vegetables, such as mustard, turnip and beet greens are also good choices to build your iron supply and increase breast milk production.
Enjoy a Bowl of Oatmeal Each Day!
The oat bran found in a bowl of oatmeal is also another good source of iron. Plus, according to a 2002 study, oatmeal and similar whole grains can dramatically reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, which likely helps to increase your supply of breast milk.
Add More Nuts and Seeds to Your Diet
Many nuts and seeds are excellent sources of important trace minerals, as well as iron and other nutrients. In India and China, almonds, cashews, as well as seeds from the fenugreek, fennel, cumin, sesame, and dill plants are all believed to increase a mother’s supply of breast milk. They each are also great sources of protein in addition to minerals and vitamins.
Increase Your Intake of Water
While breastfeeding your baby, make certain that you are drinking enough water each day. A slight thirst or dehydration can affect your milk supply as well as lower your total blood volume, which can lead to headaches and tension. It can also make you more susceptible to stress, which can also decrease your supply of milk.
Make Certain You Are Eating a Balanced, Nutritious Diet
In addition to “special” foods that are thought to naturally increase your supply of breast milk, it’s important to ensure that your overall diet is healthy, balanced and nutritious. Make a point to eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean meats unless you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet. If you don’t consume meat, you will want to talk to your doctor about a good daily supplement to take to ensure that you are getting enough iron and other vital nutrients.
Additional Tips to Help You Increase Breast Milk Production
In addition to a healthy diet, taking steps to get more rest, reduce your stress levels, and relax will also increase your supply of breast milk. Recruit others to help you with household chores, take a short walk during the day, and share your feelings with a close friend are all ways to enable you to get more rest and reduce stress.
Taking a warm shower or applying warm compresses to the breast before you breastfeed can also stimulate your breasts to produce more milk. You can also try leaning forward and allow gravity to stimulate the breast glands and ducts to form and release more milk.
There are also some herbal preparations that are available over-the-counter that promise to boost breast milk production, but their safety and effectiveness have not been clinically tested. Before trying any herbal remedy or supplement, check with your doctor first to make certain that it is safe for you and your baby.