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Best Foods to Eat When Breastfeeding

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Best Foods to Eat When Breastfeeding

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The lactation period is very important for the mother and so is the diet during this period. Read the article to learn more about it.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Anuthanyaa. R

Published At December 18, 2018
Reviewed AtAugust 8, 2023

Many women are concerned about their weight post pregnancy and decide to shed off some kilos immediately. Some women think that post-pregnancy, they can immediately follow a fad diet like fruit diet, salad diet and lose weight and achieve the pre-pregnancy weight back. These crash diets lack all the nutrients essential for the mom’s body as well as the infant’s body. It is very important for mothers to be aware that what they actually consume during this stage is extremely beneficial for proper supply of milk production for their baby. In fact, a proper maternal lactation diet is extremely essential for having a good composition of breast milk which is essential for the baby's growth and development, both emotionally and physically. Following are some of the lactation diet tips to be followed by every mom.

Consumption Of Galactagogues

Galactagogues are amazing lactation herbs which enhance and improve maternal milk production which is very much required for the infant. It helps increase hormones like prolactin and oxytocin which are essential for the emotional bonding between the mother and the infant.

Galactagogues are present in garlic, spinach, carrots, fenugreek seeds, and flax seeds. Garlic can be incorporated in the diet by adding it in dals. Palak dal is an amazing dietary option for lactating mothers. It is rich in protein, iron, phytoestrogens, antioxidants, vitamin K, and vitamin A which enhance milk production. Do not forget to add carrots too to the dal which is a very good source of vitamin A. Do consume it with brown rice which is a very good source of B complex vitamins and fiber necessary for boosting the infant’s brain health.

Another question which comes to the mind is “How to consume flaxseeds?”

Well, flaxseeds are a perfect source of iron and fiber. It can be incorporated in your diet mixed in yogurt with cut slices of apple in it. Flaxseeds can also be roasted and powdered and added to smoothies and consumed.

Consumption of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Thiamine

Omega 3 fatty acids are indeed very beneficial both for the mother and infant and must be consumed by the mother from sources like salmon, tuna, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and flaxseeds. They contain good fats which help boost the mental development in infants as well as to promote healthy heart health in mother as well as infant.

According to many studies, it has been observed that thiamine-deficient mothers with low levels of thiamine in breastmilk, reported cases of infants developing severe mental retardation in the near future and developing a disease called as “beri-beri”. Symptoms of beri-beri include mental confusion, involuntary eye movements, difficulty in walking, heart dysfunction and poor muscle function.

Consumption of Calcium-Rich Foods

Sesame seeds are a perfect source of calcium. It can be given to lactating mothers as the daily requirement of calcium for lactating mothers is far more than the normal dietary calcium allowance that is around 1300 mg per day. Sesame seeds can be incorporated in the diet in the form of the ladoos commonly consumed by the locals.

It is thus very essential to follow a healthy lactation diet so that your infant grows healthy. I hope to see you incorporate these tips to follow a healthy lactation diet.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Foods Help Increase Breast Milk?

Foods that can increase breast milk are as follows:
- Calcium-rich foods such as seesame seeds.
- Foods rich in galactagogues, such as flax seeds, carrots, spinach, and garlic.
- Omega-3 fatty acids enriched food such as almonds, salmon, walnuts, tuna, etc.


How Can Feeding Mother Increase Their Breast Milk Naturally?

Feeding mothers can increase their breast milk naturally by breastfeeding after every two hours or more often, pumping breasts between each feeds, and feeding babies from both breasts.


Can Drinking Plenty of Water Increase Breast Milk?

Quenching the thirst and staying hydrated during breastfeeds is essential, but drinking excess water is unnecessary. No evidence supports or proves that increased water consumption can help improve the breast milk supply.


How Can We Increase Our Milk Supply Quickly?

Milk supply can be increased quickly in the following ways:
- Breastfeeding more often.
 - Using the accurate latching technique.
 - Massaging the breast gently during the feeds.
- Avoid using bottled or formula milk in the initial days of feeding.
- Breastfeed the baby from both sides during each feeding.
- Pumping your breast during each feed can also help increase the milk supply.


What Drinks Can Increase Breast Milk?

Fenugreek seeds contain plant estrogen, and drinking fenugreek tea can help increase breast milk. In addition, breastfeeding tea such as milk thistle, blessed thistle, and fennel are also beneficial.


Which Fruit Is Good for Increasing Breast Milk Production?

Fruits rich in calcium can increase breast milk production. These fruits include apricots, figs, and dates.


How Long Does It Take for Milk Supply To Increase?

Milk supply usually increases within three to five days after a woman starts breastfeeding. After that, the milk supply keeps can be increased by feeding more often and pumping.


What Should You Not Eat When Breastfeeding?

A woman should not eat the following food when breastfeeding:
  - Alcohol.
- Processed foods.
- Caffeine.
- Fish that have high mercury content.


Can Tight Bra Affects Milk Supply?

Tight-fitting bras compress the breast tissues and thus affect milk production and supply. Therefore, tightly fitted bras can clog the milk ducts and constrict them, thus decreasing the milk supply.


Why Does the Milk Supply Decrease?

- Milk supply can decrease due to the following reasons:
- Delayed breastfeeding.
- Using other feeding supplements.
- Use of medications.
- Ineffective or wrong latch technique.
- Breastfeeding less often.
- Smoking or alcohol consumption.


How Much Time Breasts Take To Refill?

There is no specific amount of time breasts take to refill as they are never empty. The breasts usually refill as soon as the baby empties them. Breast milk is produced during breastfeeding and even before and after feeding.


Does Pumping Breasts Every Two Hours Increase Milk Supply?

Pumping the breasts every two hours can stimulate the breasts and, thus, increase the milk supply. Feeding mothers should pump the breasts for at least 10 to 15 minutes daily to increase milk production. But pumping should not be done for more than 30 minutes as it can damage the breast tissues.


At What Time of the Day Breast Milk Production Is at Its Peak?

Milk production varies throughout the day, and the amount differs each time. For example, the milk supply is usually highest in the morning because prolactin is at its peak, and the supply gradually decreases in the afternoon and early evening.


How Do We Know When the Breast Is Empty?

There is no specific way of ensuring empty breasts, as they are never open. Milk is produced in the breast before, after, and even during each feed. However, if we shake our breasts softly and they do not feel heavy due to the presence of milk, they are probably empty.


How Can Breast Milk Be Thickened?

Breast milk can be thickened with a hypoallergenic, Gelmix, which is also an organic breast milk and formula thickener. In addition, breast milk can also be thickened with a protein diet and healthy fats.
Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina
Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina


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