Breast milk and breastfeeding is the best choice for both mother and infant. It provides nutrients and antibodies that aren’t found in milk formula and promotes mother and child bonding. However, most mothers, especially first-time moms, experience difficulty in producing their own milk. Mothers who have other children may also experience this, especially when they lack breast tissue. But this is no cause for alarm as there are ways to improve milk production.
One way is to eat lactogenic foods or galactagogues. Galactagogues are foods that help in the milk production and also add more nutrients to the breast milk. Are you wondering what the 5 best galactagogues are? Here is a rundown of these nutritious meals, which you should start including in your diet.
Oatmeal has long been recommended to nursing mothers and for good reason. Aside from lowering cholesterol levels and reducing chances of high blood pressure, oatmeal helps the mother relax and is considered one of the best comfort foods for pregnant and post-pregnancy women. Relaxation in turn helps with the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone released to stimulate milk production and increase milk supply.
Studies have shown that green leafy vegetables are one of the best galactagogues and spinach is the most lactogenic vegetable among the group. Rich in calcium, folate and iron, spinach also contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens, as studies have shown, can aid in the formation of breast tissue and lactation. The chemicals are found in many plant-based foods, especially soy, which copies the hormone estrogen.
3. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans are part of the legume group and are great sources of protein. Protein is used in the body for tissue building and supports the lactation process. One way to eat this is as hummus. It makes for an excellent snack spread and contains another galactagogue, garlic.
Garlic has been considered as another milk-producing food and is also healthy for the mother in general. It has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels as well as the chances of high blood pressure. Garlic also provides nutrients that is used in milk production and will greatly improve your output during breastfeeding.
5. Sweet potatoes
A sweet potato is a great galactagogue. Along with other orange and red foods such as carrots, it is rich in beta-carotene which increases milk supply. This also contains high amounts of Vitamin A, which will be needed by the mother before, during and after pregnancy.
There are still so many foods that will help in milk production and actions can help, too. Taking in plenty of fluid is considered to increase milk supply and constant breastfeeding stimulates oxytocin to let more milk out. Eating healthily along with these galactagogues will promote good functioning of the body. It is also important to give yourself plenty of rest and comfort as stress can negatively affect milk production.
Most of all, enjoy breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a time for the child and the mother to form a unique bond. It is a very intimate moment and studies have shown that bonding between mother and infant will help the child gain a sense of security, which will be used later on in his life. Enjoying breastfeeding will also make you far more comfortable with the activity. In short, dedication to breastfeeding in habits, behavior, and mindset are all important aspects to giving what your infant needs.