Diet for breastfeeding mothers
Breastfeeding moms will more often than not fail to remember that they need to really focus on themselves as well as the child. However, it is crucial to take care of the new mother as she should be both physically and mentally strong in order to take proper care of the newborn.
Although it is well known that nursing is important for a baby's health, it also has advantages for the mother. Breastfeeding is encouraged by Ayurveda for the mother's postpartum wellness. It speeds up the process of losing pregnancy weight, burns calories, and also causes the release of the hormone oxytocin, which aids in shrinking the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size. A few simple Ayurvedic dietary recommendations can help mothers have a healthier and more comfortable nursing period.
In Ayurvedic texts, Acharyas describe various treatment formulations in cases of stanyakshya (low breast milk) as cereals, meat, cow’s milk, sugar, curd, and the use of desired things to cure stanyakshya.
- Use of stanyajanan dravya (milk-inducing drugs) as a decoction of the roots of Viran, Shalli, Shshthika, Ekshuvalika (Saccharum officinarum), Darbha (Imperata cylindrical), Kusha (Desmostachya bipinnata), Kasha (Saccharum spontaneum), Gundra, Itkata, Katrina, Pesto tila (Sesamum indicum), Lashuna (Allium sativum), Fish, Sringataka (Trapa natans), Vidarikanda (Pueraria tuberose), Madhuka (also used for stanyajanan), Satavari (Asparagus racemosus)
- Fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds: Both seeds are excellent for boosting the level of estrogen, a hormone that aids in milk production, which is a terrific strategy to improve milk production in nursing mothers. Fennel seeds can be infused in hot water (if needed) to prepare a tea that can be sweetened with honey. You can drink this tea several times each day. Mothers can also eat a teaspoon of seeds a few times per day as an alternative. Another option is to soak fenugreek seeds in water and consume them two to three times a day.
- Shatavari: This Ayurvedic herb regulates and maintains the body's hormonal balance, making it especially beneficial in overcoming decreased milk supply in nursing mothers. It can be ingested by combining it with water.
- Cinnamon: The aromatic herb cinnamon, also called "Dalchini" in Hindi, not only improves the flavor of numerous foods but also nourishes new mothers with a plethora of advantages. It is thought that this spice's intense galactagogue activity not only encourages milk supply but also somehow improves the flavor of milk. A teaspoon of cinnamon powder mixed with warm milk or water and a small amount of honey should be consumed twice daily to promote lactation.
- Kalonji: The black seed, which is a common item in Indian households, has a number of advantages. Rich in calcium, minerals, and vitamins A, D, and E, it enhances the health of the hair and also lessens pain and inflammation.
During breastfeeding, the following food items must be consumed with caution:
- Fruits: Fruits have an extremely high nutritional value. A breastfeeding mother must include at least 2 cups of fruit in her daily diet. Don’t focus on one particular fruit, but rather include a variety of fruits.
The following fruits are recommended by the USDA for breastfeeding mothers-
Bananas, Apricots, Mangoes, and Grapefruit.
Fruits to avoid-
There are certain fruits that must be avoided, such as Cherries and Citrus fruits. They are directly harmful to the mother but can have adverse effects on the baby.
- Protein-rich foods: A mother requires an additional 25 gm of protein per day while breastfeeding to ensure the proper development of the baby. Doctors advise including protein-rich foods such as beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. Some experts recommend eating fish as it is a very good source of protein and omega-3-fatty acids. But slight precautions must be taken while eating fish. Some fish are very high in "mercury," which can be very toxic to infants and kids. Chronic exposure to this metal can permanently hamper the growth of the nervous system of a kid.
- Caffeine: The most common sources of caffeine are tea, chocolate, soda, and coffee. When eaten on a daily basis, some parts of caffeine may get mixed with breast milk, which can be troublesome for the kids as they have difficulty processing caffeine at this young age. Due to this, in some cases, caffeine may get deposited in their systems, creating sleeping problems and irritability. As per clinicians, a breastfeeding mother is not allowed to consume more than 300mg (2–3 cups of coffee) of caffeine per day.
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- A new mother must consume warm, substantial meals that are simple to digest and offer all the vitamins and nutrients required to enhance nursing. Moong dal and vegetable soups that have been heated up and had ginger, black pepper, and jeera added enhance the quality and amount of milk while also easing discomfort and inflammation.
- Rice or wheat porridge with almonds and dry dates is also beneficial.
- Hydration: Breastfeeding can dehydrate a woman, so she should drink milk and water to stay hydrated. Avoid drinking chilly water and extremely cold juices. Drinking water with jeera two times a day aids in digestion, detoxification, and hormone balance, which improves milk supply.
- Ghee: A new mother must consume enough ghee every day to boost her immune system, heal her reproductive organs, and get the good fats she needs for her own and her child's wellbeing. Make sure to include ghee in every meal.
- Proper sleep, reducing stress, all assist lactation. Pranayama exercises and tranquil music can also help with lactation.