Lactation is the period within which vital nutrition for both baby and mother is very essential. During the first few months the baby delivers all the nutrition from the mother’s milk. Thus what a mother eats determines the energy, protein, nutrient and vitamin content of the breast milk as well.
Nutritional demands during lactation are high and can have a negative impact on both infant and the mother if they are not met.
Lactating mother requires larger quantities of body building foods I.e. Proteins, Protective foods i.e. vitamins and minerals and additional energy yielding foods i.e. carbohydrates and fats to facilitate the formation and secretion of breast milk.
Also some food items known as galactogogues stimulate an increase in milk production. Some of the galactogogues are:
- Fenugreek seeds ( Take in powdered form along with 1/2tsp milk/water thrice a day)
- Cumin seeds ( Take in powdered form along with 1/2tsp milk/water thrice a day or can also be added to curd )
- Fennel seeds (saunf) (Can be added to tea or Powdered fennel seeds can be taken with lukewarm water)
- Barely (jaun) (Barely flour can be mixed with normal flour in 50-50 ratio)
- Sago (Taken In form of sago khichdi, sago kheere ,sago tikki )
- Garlic (Can be added to tea or can have with lukewarm water)
- Oats (Oats flour can be added in normal flour in 50-50 ratio or one can have salted oats with lots of vegetables)
- Nuts like Almonds, dates, raisins, munacca (black currants) and pistachios are rich in protiens , fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, mustard leaves are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, vitamin C to support breastfeeding and encourage milk production.
- Wheat, rice, bajra and ragi are the best sources of energy for lactating mother. Especially bajra is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorous and ragi is very high in calcium, thus are good for lactating mother.
- 1 full egg is recommended for lactating mothers due to Vitamin D content present in it.
- Citrus fruits and Berries should be consumed as they are full of antioxidants and fiber which helps to regulate Mother’s and babies bowel movements post birth.
- Ample amount of fluids should be consumed as it is essential for quantity of milk production.
Apart from this it is advised for a lactating mother to avoid:
- Highly spiced and strongly flavored food as they impact to the flavor of breast milk which may be repulsive to the baby.
- Alcohol as it can pass to breast milk and then to the baby.
- Smoking as it affects the growth of the baby , also the Vitamin C content of milk decreases and also it harms the lungs of baby as well.
- Excess of Tea, Coffee and cold drinks as caffeine and tenants can pass into breast milk and can cause hyperactivity and sleeping problems in baby.
- Also check with the Medications intake with the doctor as they can also pass into the milk.
Over to You
Good nutrition is also very important after pregnancy and lactation period to ensure good health of you and your baby. Food preferences and eating habits are developed in early childhood and are often carried into adulthood. Thus it is important to be a good role model for your children and inculcate healthy habits within them for lifelong.