Breast milk has so many health benefits for both babies and mothers. It’s highly nutritious for babies, with an optimal balance of fat, sugar, water and protein.
Breastfeeding also reduces a baby’s risk of developing asthma or allergies, respiratory illnesses and frequent ear infections. Here are certain lactogenic foods, which helps increase the supply of breast milk.
Oatmeal can also help nursing mothers increase the quantity as well as quality of their breast milk. It stimulates the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps with the birthing process, bonding with the baby and milk production.
A warm bowl of oatmeal also serves as a comfort food for many women who suffer from stress and depression after childbirth.
Almonds are super healthy for nursing mothers. Almonds are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are important for the overall health of the mother as well as her newborn baby.
They are also a good non-dairy source of calcium. In addition, the monounsaturated fats in almonds increase the richness of breast milk. They even make a healthy snack to help you stay satisfied between meals.
Note: Do not eat almonds if you have a history of nut allergies.
3. Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is considered healthy for both pregnant and nursing mothers. It contains essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids that aid the production of hormones responsible for breast milk production.
In fact, these essential fatty acids help in producing fattier and more nutritious breast milk. Plus, coconut oil has immune-boosting properties and can provide the new mother the much needed energy required to take care of the baby.
Oranges are packed with nutrients, such as vitamins A, B and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. The vitamin C content of oranges is important for breast milk supply.
A 2002 study published in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin notes that the vitamin C content of breast milk is significantly correlated with the mother’s intake of vitamin C.
Note: Avoid drinking too much orange juice, as the citric acid can make your baby fussy or gassy.
Fish, especially salmon, should be included in the diet of pregnant as well as nursing mothers. Salmon is an excellent source of protein and DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is important to the development of a baby’s nervous system. Salmon also contains vitamin D, of which many women are deficient.
According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, consumption of salmon during pregnancy results in significantly improved quality of breast milk during early lactation.
Eating 2 portions of salmon per week during pregnancy improves the supply of important fatty acids to newborns.
Every pregnant or breasfeeding women should reach for vitamin A-rich foods like carrots. Vitamin A aids in the healthy development of the fetus and the newborn, with lung development and maturation being particularly important.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition notes that supplementing lactating women with puréed papaya and grated carrots helps improve vitamin A level. Carrots contain alpha- and beta-carotene, which are believed to promote breast tissue health and lactation.
Eggs are rich in protein, lutein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, folate and choline.
A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry notes that increasing intake of choline during pregnancy and breastfeeding may protect infants from future illness by promoting normal brain development.
Egg yolks are one of the few foods rich in vitamin D, which is important for newborn babies. The good quality protein in eggs has a perfect balance of all the essential eight amino acids.
Include a couple of eggs in your diet daily. You can prepare them in a variety of ways, including scrambled, hard boiled or in an omelet or egg salad.