What are the challenges faced during Breastfeeding
Importance of diet in breastfeeding
How can you increase breast milk supply with Healthy food?
Ayurvedic diet and herbs during breast-feeding
Healthy Natural Diet for breastfeeding Moms
Motherhood is a vast change in women's lives. There are thousands of emotions that flow within you and it is an astounding experience. From a painful experience of delivery to a charismatic feeling of watching your newborn for the first time can be a roller coaster ride.
For a new or a first time mother this gets more tricky with learning to handle a newborn, facing challenges with latching or lactation while breastfeeding and sleepless nights.
Breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience and creates an emotional connection between the infant and mom. However this experience can become strenuous due to certain situations where the mother does not get enough supply of breast milk or due to overflow and imbalanced milk supply one can get an engorged breast.
Breast engorgement occurs at initial days of breastfeeding, generally between 5th day to 12th day. Engorgement means swelling, tightness, and an increase in size of the breasts. It results in hard, full, tense, warm and tender breasts with throbbing and aching pain. It makes it difficult for the kid to latch onto the mother's breast.
Low Supply of milk production can be very stressful. Insufficient glandular tissues, low prolactin, birth control pills, thyroid disorder, stress, dehydration and infrequency in feeding are some reasons for low supply for milk.
Diet plays an important role as the quality and quantity of breast milk gets affected by what a mother eats. A nutritious diet helps a new mother recover and regain her strength. It is also important for her mental health and wellbeing.
1. Hydration: Breast milk is fluid; therefore consumption of fluid is very important. A breast-feeding mother should drink 10-12 glasses of water in a day.
2. Omega 3 rich food: Omega 3 rich food like dry fruits, nuts and seeds should be added. For example walnuts, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. Fish like salmon and Mackerel are good sources of omega 3. Omega 3 rich food helps in brain development of the baby and also helps new moms to reduce brain fogginess.
3. Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folic acid: A mother can lose blood during C-section. Heavy bleeding can also continue post normal delivery. Therefore a new mother should be given food that can help her increase hemoglobin levels. Yogurt, buttermilk, egg, liver, chicken, fish, nutritional yeast flakes are rich in Vitamin b12 and folic acid. Dark leafy green, Jaggery, figs, date, raisins, carrot, beetroot are all good sources of iron.
4. Calcium rich food: Dairy products, almonds, chickpeas, spinach, eggs and sesame seeds are all rich in calcium and important for mom and baby’s bone health and growth.
5. Fiber rich food: Daily intake of fruits and vegetables is crucial during breast-feeding. Green vegetables and fruits are good sources of prebiotics, which helps in building gut microbiomes. Our gut flora gets affected post delivery and it is important to add probiotics and prebiotics in our diet. Fiber rich food is also important to keep constipation problems at bay.
6. Protein rich food: Consuming an adequate amount of protein while breast-feeding maintains lean tissue and ensures your milk supply provides protein for your baby’s growing tissues. During lactation, your body uses protein to produce breast milk and to sustain your growing baby. Legumes, lentils, soy, tofu, chicken, egg, fish should be added regularly.
7. Vitamin D: Postpartum depression is common and low Vitamin D can increase this problem. Adequate amount of sunlight and if required supplement should be taken regularly to avoid depression and it will also keep mother and child bone health intact.
Ayurveda agrees that breast milk is complete and wholesome food for the baby, and it is considered Elixir. Thus it is mentioned in Ayurveda, Pibet Stanyam- newborn should have only breast milk. Few healthy food items to be included as per Ayurveda are:
1. Herb Shatavari should be taken with milk. It helps in regulating hormones and increases milk supply.
2. Garden Cress seed powder should be eaten in dishes like Aliv kheer or Alive coconut ladoo.
3. Water chestnut flour and Jaggery porridge
4. Poppy seeds should be added in meals regularly.
5. Ghee should be consumed regularly.
6. Herbal Spices like dry ginger powder, Long pepper and Hirda powder should be taken with ghee and jaggery.
7. Spices like cumin, Bishop Weed, turmeric, asafoetida, sprouted fenugreek should be taken.
8. Kulthi legume soup should be taken , it maintains the quality of breast milk.
Regular massage of the body is very important during the postnatal period to reduce Vata dosha.