What Are the Ayurvedic Remedies that Boost Breastmilk Supply?
Breast Milk is the first food that a baby ingests right after birth. It is a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals for a child. Breast Milk has the potential to develop the baby’s immune system and gut microbiota (group of gut bacteria that supports a healthy gut). Feeding breastmilk to newborn babies might also reduce their risk of developing allergies (1,2).
But many-a-times nursing mothers struggle with lower breast milk production. This can be due to obesity, preterm delivery, stress, anxiety, or any such factors. Can such a condition be treated to ensure optimum breastmilk production for the baby? Yes, Ayurveda might help you increase breastmilk production as long as your baby depends on breastfeeding. Let’s know more about how to increase breastmilk production with ayurvedic remedies?
Top Ayurvedic Medicines For Breastfeeding Mothers
Natural herbs and ayurvedic remedies have been used traditionally to increase breast milk production in lactating women.
Fennel And Fenugreek Seeds
Fennel seeds contain compounds that have estrogenic (resembling the women hormone estrogen) properties. Thus, it might increase the estrogen levels that in turn may increase breastmilk production (3). Fenugreek seeds also contain potential galactagogue compounds that might increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers (4).
You can infuse a tablespoon of fennel seeds or fenugreek seeds in a glass of boiling water. Add a teaspoon or two of honey to sweeten the water. Consume this water once or twice a day for better results. Alternatively, breastfeeding mothers can also consume a tablespoon of raw fennel seeds twice or thrice a day to increase milk production.
Shatavari is an ayurvedic herb used since ages for reproductive health and improving breast milk production among breastfeeding women. It increases blood prolactin (a hormone that contributes to breast milk production) levels and contributes to the development of mammary glands (the glands responsible for breastmilk production and secretion. This in turn might increase the milk production among breastfeeding mothers and enhance the quality of breastmilk (5).
You can consume 1 tablespoon of Shatavari powder with a glass of warm milk before going to bed. This quantity can be increased as per your doctor’s advice.
Cumin seeds, found in almost every kitchen are known to have galactagogue properties They might help breastfeeding mothers increase breastmilk production as long as the child depends on the same. Some studies also show that cumin seeds might help to increase the quality of milk among nursing mothers (6).
Mix a teaspoon of cumin seeds (jeera) with some sugar. You can have it with warm milk before going to bed.
Garlic and ginger
Both ginger and garlic are used as spices to enhance the taste and aroma of the food. But they are also known to help nursing mothers increase their breast milk production. Garlic has been used as a galactagogue in traditional ayurvedic medicine. According to research conducted in 2016, ginger supplementation can increase the breast milk volume in women postpartum (7). Thus, ginger and garlic might help you deal with the issue of lower breast milk production.
Grate half an inch of ginger in 1 glass of water. Boil the water for 2-3 minutes. Strain it and you can enjoy this ginger tea with honey and lemon (optional) once or twice a day. Or ginger and garlic can be simply added to the daily diet. If you don’t like the taste or aroma of garlic, you can also go for garlic pills available in the market.
Almonds contain linoleic acid that is known to be one of the components of breastmilk (8). Further, almonds and almond milk are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that might help you regulate hormones involved in breastmilk production.
A glass or two of flavoured or unflavored almond milk can be consumed throughout the day for increasing breastmilk production, and quality.
What Are the Causes of Low Production of Breast Milk in Mothers?
There are several factors that might hamper your breastmilk production. Some of the common ones are:
- History of breast surgery
- Medications like birth control pills, some anti-histamines, or fertility medications like clomiphene
- Having a pre-term or premature baby
- Postpartum stress, anxiety, or depression
- Health conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, etc
- Later initiation of breastfeeding or irregular breastfeeding i.e. not feeding the baby with breastmilk on a daily basis
Lifestyle Changes That Boost Breastmilk Supply
Apart from the ayurvedic remedies for increasing the breast milk supply, some lifestyle changes also contribute to increasing breastmilk production in nursing mothers.
Physical activities like yoga can help the mothers attain peace of mind which in turn might play a role in the secretion of hormones like prolactin and oxytocin that enhance breast milk production (9). Thus, performing yoga for 30-40 minutes every day might help you increase breastmilk production. You can also perform aerobic exercises, and some low to moderate-intensity workouts. It is advisable to consult an expert if you wish to go for higher intensity workouts.
Breastmilk is made up of 90% water. Hence, lactating mothers need to take special care of their hydration routine. It is recommended to consume at least 10-12 glasses of water per day.
Things to Be Kept in Mind While Trying These Ayurvedic Remedies
Although ayurvedic herbs mentioned above are safe to use, they should be used with care. Here are some precautions that you need to keep in mind while using these remedies:
- Consult a healthcare professional or lactation expert before consuming these herbs.
- It is advisable to purchase herbal supplements from well-known brands to ensure purity and quality.
- The number of herbal supplements should not exceed the ones that have been mentioned by your lactation/ healthcare expert.
- Check if you are allergic to any of these herbs before consuming them.
About The Author
Disha Doshi is an expert nutritionist with a post-graduation degree specializing in nutrigenomics along with nutrition and dietetics. She has worked with multiple organizations in her career and has a diverse background in life sciences and healthcare. With an additional flair for writing, Ms Disha comprises a perfect mix for an ideal healthcare marketing professional. While having worked on weight loss, endocrine disorders, cardiac disorders, and other lifestyle issues, she also has steady experience in biochemistry and molecular biology disciplines. Apart from that, she has also worked on balancing the human gut microbiome with diet, nutrigenomic dietary practices, and corporate nutrition. With a keen interest in Ayurveda, she is also engaged in linking the age-old Ayurvedic practices with modern dietary practices.