Nursing mothers, especially first-time mothers, often worry about whether their supply of breast milk is adequate. Most mothers produce enough breast milk for their child. However, at times some mothers are unable to produce adequate quantities.
Low breast milk supply can be due to certain illnesses, consumption of birth-control pills, certain hormonal changes in the body, nutritional deficiencies, improper latching position of the baby and infrequent breastfeeding due to cracked nipples.
Inadequate breast milk can put your baby at a high risk of malnutrition, a weak immune system, poor memory and many other health problems.
As breast milk is a very important nutritional source for newborn babies and infants, it is important to take steps to increase its supply. Your doctor can prescribe medications. But you may also be able to increase breast milk production yourself by practicing some easy and simple home remedies.
Here are the top 10 ways to increase breast milk production.
1. Warm Compress
In some cases, low blood circulation in the breasts is the main reason behind inadequate breast milk supply. If this is the reason, you can use a warm compress on your breast before feeding sessions to increase the blood supply.
- Massage your breasts gently for five minutes prior to nursing.
- Dip a clean cloth in warm water and wring out the excess water.
- Use the warm cloth to gently massage the area around the nipples, pressing the breast against the chest.
- After massaging for five to 10 minutes, lean forward and breast feed your baby.
You can also try this as a relaxation technique if you notice your breasts have become heavy, but you are not able to feed your baby. It can help facilitate the flow of milk.
Fenugreek is considered a good remedy for stimulating the milk-producing glands. Fenugreek contains phytoestrogens that help increase breast milk production. It is believed that it stimulates sweat gland activity; mammary glands are modified sweat glands.
- Soak one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in one cup of water overnight. In the morning, boil this water along with the fenugreek seeds for several minutes. Strain the solution, and drink this tea every morning until you get positive results.
- You can opt instead to take three fenugreek capsules, three times a day for the first 10 days. Then take two capsules, three times daily for the next 10 days. Finally take one capsule, three times daily for another 10 days.
Note: Diabetic and asthmatic women must not use fenugreek remedies.
3. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds also help increase breast milk production. This herb acts as a galactogogue, a substance that helps the body produce more breast milk. Plus, fennel seeds aid digestion and help prevent colic pain in small babies.
- Add one tablespoon of fennel seeds to one cup of hot water. Cover the cup, let it steep for 30 minutes, and then strain the solution. Drink the tea twice daily for a month.
- Alternatively, mix together one-half cup each of fennel seeds, cumin seeds and rock candy (misri) in a bowl. Grind the ingredients to make a fine powder. Have one teaspoon of it with one cup of milk three times a day for one or two weeks.
- Also try to include fennel seeds in your cooking.
4. Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds are also believed to stimulate milk production. Plus, cumin seeds improve digestion and provide relief from constipation, acidity and bloating. They are also a source of iron that provides strength to new mothers after childbirth.
- Mix one teaspoon of cumin power with one teaspoon of sugar. Have this mixture with a glass of warm milk daily before going to bed for a few weeks.
- Alternatively, add two teaspoons of cumin seeds to one-half cup of water and boil it. Strain the solution and add one-half cup of milk and one teaspoon of honey. Mix well and drink once daily for several weeks.
According to Ayurveda, cinnamon will also help to increase secretion of breast milk. When nursing mothers eat cinnamon, it helps improve the flavor of breast milk that many babies seem to like. Plus, it helps delay the occurrence of menstruation after childbirth and prevents early conception.
- Mix a pinch of cinnamon powder and one-half teaspoon of honey.
- Have it along with a cup of warm milk.
- Repeat daily before going to bed for one or two months.
Being an excellent galactagogue, garlic stimulates lactation. It has been found that nursing mothers who eat garlic tend to feed for a longer time, and babies even like the flavor of the milk.
- Finely grate three garlic cloves.
- Boil the grated garlic in one cup of water until the quantity is reduced to about one quarter.
- Add a cup of milk to the mixture and bring it to a boil again.
- Remove from heat, mix in one-half teaspoon of honey and strain it.
- Drink it once daily, in the morning, during the breastfeeding period.