Motherhood is learning on the go! You could plan everything just right before the baby is out, the color of the nursery, cribs, clothes, even school but when that little Ms. Sunshine steps into this big bright world, the hardest thing to get used to is learning the fact that you are not in charge of your schedule or routine or even your groceries.
Here we attempt to compile a list of items that have shown to increase lactation and are readily available in most houses when there’s been little or no time between 2 am feeds and hourly diaper changes for a grocery run. Please note, that this is no substitute for a lactation counseling session and we are working on the assumption that the initial hurdles of nursing have been crossed.
1. More than a drop to drink!
There is no denying that there is plenty of water available in our kitchens! A minimum of 8 glasses each day is what the doctor prescribes for everyone but this is a must for nursing mothers. Staying hydrated not only keeps up the milk production but also helps avoid issues such as constipation, extreme fatigue due to dehydration, etc.
2. Go Greek!
Well, not really. But fenugreek herb or the seeds have been used for ages as a lactation booster by many middle eastern, Indian and North African cultures. Some claim as much as a 900% increase in breast milk! They do taste bitter though and can cause diarrhea and hypoglycemia in some. But there is no doubt that as a lactation increasing agent they are extremely effective. Soak them overnight and gulp them in the morning or just ask your doctor for the right dosage of fenugreek supplements for you.
3. Vampire mommies beware!
For all others, garlic is next on our list for aiding milk production. This, centuries old staple in most cuisines is flavorful and extremely beneficial for illnesses ranging from colds to digestive disorders. It is also eaten plentifully by new mothers of all cultures as advised by their mothers, who in turn were advised by their mothers and so on. But don’t forget to keep a breath mint handy though!
4. Quaker time!
No breakfast corner is complete without oats. They are heart healthy, full of fiber, naturally low on sugar and what we care about here, boost milk production! Steel cut, quick cooking, granola, pick your style. Add nuts which are natural milk production boosters as well. Have it for breakfast, or a snack, just oat it!
5. Above the lower plant it towers…
The Fennel with its yellow flowers;
The goblet of life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Aah! to be a fennel, so inconspicuous to look at, one amongst many in our spice rack yet such a powerhouse of benefits! Fennel seeds or even the herb itself help increase the quantity of milk produced, aid in reducing baby colic, and improve digestion. Word of caution for the non-adventurous: avoid if not a fan of black licorice or Anise.
6. Eh, what’s up doc!
That’s right folks, Bugs Bunny’s favorite is next on our list. Carrots are rich in vitamin A that is key to milk production. They are also a healthy source of carbohydrates and work great as snacks to keep the tummy full. We are fairly confident at the very least that there is a bag of baby carrots in the refrigerator of each kitchen just waiting to be gobbled.
7. Not Pea berry but…
Chickpeas y’all! While coffee might be what your sleep deprived brains craves as new moms, chickpeas are better for you. They are high in protein, fiber, calcium and vitamin B-complex, all things good for a nursing mother to produce more milk. They make great salad toppers or taste wonderful just boiled and salted and don’t forget, if nothing else, there is always hummus!
8. I am strong to the Finish…
Coz I eat me spinach,
I am Popeye, the sailor man!
Full of iron, calcium and folic acids these mighty greens are especially good for anemic new mothers to regain their strength and keep fatigue at bay. Helps strengthen baby and has detoxifying properties as well. So puree it, bake it, salad it, if it’s good enough for old Popeye, it’s more than okay for the rest of us!
9. Not brown sugar but…
Surely you know where we are going with this. While rice of any sort gets a bad rap for being so carb heavy, it certainly does not apply in the case of a new mom. There is considerable research that supports the fact that brown rice enhances milk production due to the presence of certain hormone stimulants. It is a source of instant energy for stressed out, tired mothers. It is easily available in even the corner drug store for less than a cup of Joe. Time for some risotto, Mama Mia!
10.Don’t go nuts, just eat’em!
Particularly we would like to suggest raw almonds which help increase milk production. The perfect snack in between meals and best of all, the glow remains post pregnancy too!
So forward this list to one and all to ensure post baby at least two of these items are available on any given day. Actually, make that five, we can vouch for the fact that water, carrots, garlic, almonds and of course dark beer are available always! Let the new mommy stay focused on the oldest and the most surest way to ensure consistent milk production: nurse, nurse and nurse some more.