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5 Natural Ways To Increase Breast Milk 

Every country has traditions, food habits, ways of celebrating life, and the arrival of a newborn. In India, we are heavy on celebrations and celebrate every occasion with decorations, sweets, loved ones around and lots and lots of gifts and music. Sometimes, the traditions become a way for the knowledge from previous generations to pass on to the next generation for their health and wellness. 

This knowledge transfer is reflected so well in the food prepared for and the traditions that a new mother follows in Indian families. There are so many things we can pick from these traditional practices that can help a new mom learn how to increase breast milk naturally at home in India, given our food habits and climate. This article will focus on how to increase breast milk naturally at home in India, as every country has its food habits, and climatic conditions and generic or global tips might not help you! 

What Affects Breast Milk Supply

Before we get to the topic of how to increase breastmilk supply, let us briefly try to understand what affects the breastmilk supply and why you might need to add or cut down to the diet or your daily habits to improve your breastmilk supply. Here are the top 6 reasons one might experience low breastmilk supply (1 )– 

  1. 1. Premature Birth – The hormone responsible for breast milk production – Prolactin kicks in when you deliver a child, and other pregnancy hormones reduce in the body. But suppose you end up delivering the baby earlier than expected. In that case, the hormone levels take a little extra time to balance; thus, you might initially experience a low milk supply. 
  2. 2. Hormonal & Endocrinological Disorders In The Mother – If the mother suffers from hormonal imbalance or endocrinological disorders such as diabetes, high cholesterol etc., she will likely experience a low milk supply. This situation can easily be controlled with proper diet, lifestyle and medication management. 
  3. 3. Birth Control Pills – Sometimes, even if you do not have a hormonal imbalance, being on a birth control pill can interfere with your hormonal levels. Most lactating mothers who are sexually active go on a birth control pill and thus experience low milk supply issues.
  4. 4. Insufficient Nutrition In Diet – A lactating mother's nutritional and dietary requirements differ from any other phase in life. Thus, eating right and taking the required supplements recommended by the doctor. However, if your body's nutritional needs are not met, your milk supply will sometimes be insufficient. To understand the dietary needs of a lactating mother, read our article about Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers: Top Superfoods For Lactating Mothers
  5. 5. Latch Issues – The more your baby suckles on your breast, the better the flow established. If your baby has a latch issue and is feeding irregularly or having pumped milk, you might have an 
  6. 6. Feeding Irregularity – If you are timing the feed or are not feeding at night time, your milk supply might be low or irregular. The baby should lead breastfeeding, and they should be fed on demand. But you also need to ensure that if they do not feed for a longer time in the night, you offer them the breast in their sleep to ensure their blood sugar levels do not drop. 

How To Increase Breast Milk Naturally At Home In India

If you feel that your breast milk supply is low, irregular or is dropping, a certified lactation consultant is the best person to consult and work on the root cause. But before you meet a lactation consultant, here are some quick 5 Indian specific ways how to increase breast milk naturally at home in India.

  1. 1. Proper Hydration – You will notice that you will feel drained out, dizzy and dehydrated every time you sit for a breastfeeding session in the initial days. If your body is not hydrated, you will not be able to produce enough milk. So, keep having healthy fluids like water, natural unpackaged coconut water, freshly squeezed unsweetened fruit juices etc. This is one of the easiest ways of establishing a proper milk flow. 
  2. 2. Feed More Frequently – As mentioned in the section above, if you feed frequently and at an interval not exceeding 3 – 4 hours, your milk supply will slowly regulate. If your baby is not feeding, pump or express breast milk and empty the breast for the body to take the cue and produce more milk. The human body is a beautiful machine that works on demand and supply. The more your baby feeds, the more milk it will produce. 
  3. 3. Take Care Of Your Nutrition – Eating right and taking care of your nutritional needs while breastfeeding is extremely important. If your doctor has recommended supplements, take them on time. Eat a balanced meal and avoid oily and sugary foods. In addition, while you are breastfeeding, keep your caffeine intake, smoking or alcohol use in check because they adversely affect your breast milk supply. 
  4. 4. The Breast Care – Follow some basic breast care rules – do not let your breast go without being empty for more than 5 hours, feed from both breasts alternatively for 20 minutes each, compress your breast a bit initially to establish a latch and flow, help your baby to the breast instead of taking the breast to your baby. Once these become routine and supply kicks in, this will become a habit for you and the baby. 
  5. 5. Intake Of Foods That Help In Breast Milk Supply – There are so many traditional ingredients given in Indian households to a new mother to help her establish a regular breastmilk supply. Fennel seeds, fenugreek, barley and barley malt, whole grains, dill and sesame seeds, papaya, apricots – you name it, and all those lactogenic foods are traditionally a part of a new mom's diet! Adding these to an Indian meal plan can help you answer the question of how to increase breast milk naturally at home in India.

If, after all this, you still feel there is a supply issue, as recommended earlier, it is best to visit a lactation consultant and understand the root cause of this issue and work out a solution that is best suited for your baby and you! Happy Parenting! 

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