The first week of August is celebrated as the World Breastfeeding Week. This is an initiative to create awareness about breastfeeding, its benefits, and challenges. Thus helping in promoting healthy breastfeeding. Each year is dedicated to a different theme around breastfeeding and the theme this year is “Sustaining breastfeeding together”. More details about the World breastfeeding week, its aim, objectives, and practices here.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months and continued breast feeding thereafter for as long as possible.
“Sustained breastfeeding together” stresses that breastfeeding is not an activity to be done by the mother alone.
Breastfeeding needs the help of a caring and supportive spouse, experience and motivation from the elders, support from colleagues at workplaces and some fun and masti added by friends.
All this along with a well balanced and nutritional diet go a long way in helping in smooth and enjoyable breastfeeding. Here are some superfoods if included in the diet helps to promote lactation as well as provides the required nutrients for the mom and child
Well, technically not a food, but staying hydrated is one the most important aspects of having smooth lactation. Most mothers who breastfeed, feel much more thirsty than normal, especially in the initial days. They will notice a tremendous increase in their water consumption. So make sure you are well hydrated and take a few sips of water just before you start feeding. This will prevent an urge to get up and sip on water while you are feeding as well.
Methi or fenugreek seeds
Methi is known to be used for centuries across the world to help in improving milk production. You can soak a few seeds of methi overnight and drink the water in the morning. Another way to consume this is boiling 10-15 seeds in a cup of water till it is ½ the qty and drink.
My mother-in-law makes these really wonderful methi laddoos which were low in calories and really yummy to taste. And as a bonus helped with lactation as well as an energy booster.
Saunf/fennel seeds and Jeera/cumin seeds
Fennel seeds and cumin seeds too, just like fenugreek, have been used over years to help with breastfeeding. Added benefit of these is that they are good digestives. They help prevent gas, reduce bloating and prevent constipation. It is believed that a good digestive system of the mom prevents colic in their babies
I would boil 1 lit of water with fenugreek, fennel seeds, cumin seeds along with some tulsi leaves. Filled this in a thermos and would enjoy this warm water intermittently during the day. I loved the fragrance, as well as the warm water, was quite soothing.
Til or sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are rich in calcium. Calcium is very important for lactating mothers as well as for the baby’s development.
Dates and other dry fruits
Dates provide energy and prevent anemia during and post pregnancy. Consumption of dates also helps for lactating mothers post delivery. 7 dates every morning was a routine for me while breastfeeding.
Dry fruits too, especially almonds and cashews help during lactation. They are high in calories, vitamins, and minerals and provide energy.
I used to have a bottle of chopped dried fruits mixed with jaggery and sesame seeds. A spoonful of this at least twice a day while I was breastfeeding was very good and nutritious snack.
Along with this, a balanced diet with sufficient greens, pulses, and fruits is essential for lactating mothers. They provide necessary nutrient to the mom as well as are passed on to the child. Which effectively helps in proper development of the baby.