Breast milk is very crucial for the newborn baby as it contains all the sufficient nutrients for the growth and development of the baby. It is very important for the development of the brain in a child. It's quite normal to worry about your milk supply when you start breastfeeding your baby. You’re not alone. Many mums worry about how much milk they are making and whether their baby is getting enough to meet his growing needs.
The best indication that you’re producing enough milk is that your baby is putting on weight and growing along his growth curve. It’s normal for a newborn to lose weight in the first few days, but then start to put on weight again three to five days after birth. Babies usually go back to their birth weight by the time they are 14 days old.
Here are other signs that your baby is getting enough milk:
- Breastfeeding feels comfortable and painless.
- Your newborn is feeding at least six to eight times a day and is content after a feed.
- Your breasts feel emptier and softer after feeds.
- You can see and hear your baby swallow while he is feeding.
- Your baby comes off your breast spontaneously when he\she's finished.
- Your baby passes urine at least seven times in 24 hours and when he passes stool, it is yellow with little lumps of what looks like curdled milk. An exclusively breastfed baby can poo several times a day or only once in five days; both situations are considered normal.
In most cases of suspected low milk supply, the real problem is not about how much milk you have, but how much milk your baby is able to get at. Make sure that your baby latches on well so that he is able to effectively extract the milk you have.
Breastfeeding your baby frequently and on demand is important in helping you establish and maintain good milk supply. If your newborn is very sleepy, you may need to wake him and gently encourage him to feed more often. This will stimulate your breasts to produce more milk.
Your body adapts milk production to the amount being demanded. So if you start supplementing your milk with formula or other supplements, your milk supply will go down. The more you feed your baby, the more milk your body will produce.
Warning Signs If Baby Is Not Getting Enough Breast-milk :
If you feel concerned and are not sure if your baby is drinking enough breast-milk, the below cues could be indicative:
- Continuous loss of weight
- You are changing less than 8 cloth diapers or 6 disposable ones
- The baby is passing dark urine
- Your breasts don’t feel softer and lighter after feeding the baby
- The baby takes a long time to feed and appears grumpy and fussy after feedings
- You may also feel that you cannot hear your baby swallowing enough, though many babies like to nurse by making less noise. You can check with your doctor in case you are not content or satisfied with either of the above points
Causes of breast milk supply to decrease :
- Less frequent feedings can decrease your milk supply. Your breast milk supply can also decrease if your baby is not emptying your breasts completely during feedings. Your baby may not empty your breasts if the feeding is too short, or he or she is not latched on correctly. Your breasts will make less milk if there is less demand.
- Medicines such as birth control, allergy, and pain medicines, can decrease your milk supply.
- Stress can decrease your milk supply. As a new mother, you may have increased stress, be very tired, or worry more. Stress may cause you to breastfeed less often or for shorter periods of time.
- Smoking and alcohol can also decrease your milk supply. Moderate to large amounts of alcohol can decrease your milk supply.
- Breast surgery can decrease your milk supply. This includes breast implant surgery, or surgery to decrease your breast size. Nerves, milk ducts, and milk glands can be damaged during these surgeries
How do you Improve Lactation ?
Someone once said “bottles fill its stomach, but breastfeeding fills its soul”. You may only realize this later but one of the most beautiful aspects of being a mother is to be able to breast feed your baby. Numerous studies prove just how beneficial breast feeding is for both the mother and child.
And if you want to make sure that you are able to give your baby enough nutrition and immunity through your breast milk then you need to look after your diet so that you can produce enough.
So if you make sure that your diet includes the following Ayurvedic recommendations, you won’t have to worry about lactation.
- During your pregnancy, Ayurveda strongly suggests a diet packed with milk, ghee, butter and sweet herbs. What this basically does is nourish the “rasa dhatu” from which breast milk is derived and thus increases the production of breast milk during the postpartum period.
- Freshly cooked, light and easily digestible food is recommended with a sufficient amount of garlic, ginger, jeera, fennel, fenugreek, pepper, ajwain, milk and ghee which will prevent the aggravation of Vata to improve digestion. Constipating foods like breads, burgers, pizzas and fries would be well avoided.
Ayurvedic Herbs used to improve Lactation are :
- Fenugreek seeds (methi)
- Fennel Seeds (saunf)
- Garlic (lehsun)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Cumin seeds (jeera)
- Sesame seeds (til)
- Holy basil (tulsi)
- Dill seeds (suwa)
- Gourd vegetables
- Pulses or lentils (dals)
- Nuts and dried fruits (meva)
- Oats and porridge (daliya)
Ayurvedic Medicines help improve lactation :
- Shatavari and Ashwagandha powders consumed in milk are potent remedies to boost the production of breast milk.
- Saubhagya Shunti Paka and Shatavari granules are very helpful to increase lactation.
- Shatavari Ghritam have properties that are very effective in treating PMS, menopause, PCOS, infertility and more. It tones and strengthens the body while restoring and relieving the body tissues which are disturbed due to hormonal imbalances. It is very helpful during pregnancy, reduces post partum bleeding, calms the mind and amazingly also improves lactation.
Home Remedies to enhance production of breast milk which can be easily practiced at home. Here’s what you need to do:
- Soak 10 almonds overnight, blend in a glass of milk with a pinch of cardamom and some sugar. Drink on an empty stomach twice a day for best results.
- Regularly consume 1 to 2 teaspoons of ghee with your main meals.
- Hydrate yourself with enough water, milk and lentil soups spiced with jeera, pepper and ginger.
- Use methi and fennel seeds as much as possible in your meals. You can also use them to make teas or consume their powder with a teaspoon of milk or honey every day.
For expert advise and your personalised treatment plan for all your lactation related problems, contact qualified doctors at Life Line Ayurvedic Herbal clinic.