Even before I ever dreamt of being pregnant, one thing I knew for sure is once It happened I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby for at least the first couple of months – no formula, nothing but breast milk and I am proud to say six months in and we are still going strong. Guys! to me, this is an achievement! Even after introducing solids breast milk or formula is still the main source of nutrients for our babies (even the packaged introductory and follow on foods and milk say so) so I know I have to keep the supply up to demand even now that we have made 6 months.
I believe our bodies as women are capable of producing breast milk on their own, some producing more than others hence the latter needing a little boost to increase their production. I have been blessed an okay supply of breast milk, I have been pumping since the after birth – some for storage and breast feed sometimes with no worry of a dry spell and I will tell you this, I never thought I needed any boost as Ehan was feeding pretty well until a few months ago when I when noted a drastic increment in his intake and that’s when I knew I needed a little boost to be on the safe side – I like to be prepared for everything. During the normal chit chats with my aunt, I accidentally mentioned this and guess what? It was raining bushera (millet porridge) at my house in just a few hours – LOL I am sure some of you might relate.
In our society (Ugandan – not sure if it’s the same story with other African countries) a woman who has just had a baby popularly known as “Nakawere” is advised and almost forced to take the famous “bushera” (millet porridge) to help with lactation and I must admit this work wonders from the very few times (twice to be exact) I have tried it but you’ve got to be ready to pay the price of tremendous weight gain if consumed regularly which in most cases is. I know, you must be thinking you need to put the weight gain issues aside and focus on the baby, which sounds just about right but you as a mother I believe you need to take care of yourself as well in order to give your baby the best – Happy Mom, Happier Child. Postpartum depression is real guys and research has seen that women not feeling good about themselves after pregnancy due to the constant weight gain even after the baby is one of the main causes of mothers getting depressed after birth. It’s unfortunate that these are issues our society bluntly ignores and people act like they don’t exist.
For someone like myself who “Looks Good to Feel Good”, the way my body looks definitely has a huge impact on me so the “bushera, byenda” are not my cup of tea. However my son being the number one priority in life I needed to find foods to boast my lactation to meet his feeding demands while trying to shed the extra pounds I gained in order to fit in my jeans again. These are some of the foods that have worked for me and I have noted a significant increase in my breast milk supply, however before you get to these foods, try and have enough rest while generally being at peace ( this might be hard with a new born or infant but try to nap whenever you put the baby down – if you are lucky to have help from the start then this shouldn’t be hard).
Keep your intake of warm water constant throughout the day. Keep sipping on some tea if you must! I have heard people say warm milk tea is perfect for nursing mothers however I prefer the good ‘old plain warm water, I mean no calorie count necessary as I am still on my snap back journey.
• Oatmeal / Weetabix:
Is it just me but I feel like these two are sister breakfast foods although oatmeal is my ‘ol time favorite breakfast food. These are both very yummy, rich in fiber and filling at the same time. I sometimes try to stir away from diary products and use coconut milk instead- you could try that and see if it works for you.
You can bake some oatmeal cookies if you love to be in the kitchen or add uncooked oats to your smoothies – whichever way you like your oatmeal, this will do your supply some justice.
Does anybody else think fenugreek seeds look like tiny stones? I bought these while I was 7 months pregnant (I told you I like to be prepared) and until I asked around, I thought i must have been mistaken. Get a handful and swallow these with some water. You can look out for fenugreek tea or make your own with the seeds, however swallowing is my preference.
• Flax and Chia Seeds:
I still think these are some creepy looking seeds but with the number of health benefits, I might as well bare the sight. I always add a handful of chia or flax seeds to my yogurt, smoothie or breakfast oatmeal.
I don’t know if it’s just me but all the times I take passion fruit juice it’s like Boom! Here we go. This is not my go to juice, Nah – it was just one of those days when I needed some juice and I didn’t have that many options when I tried it and it did wonders so I keep some in the fridge if I need to keep things in check.
Make some juice (sieve out the seeds) and enjoy. If you are trying to watch your weight, supplement sugar with raw honey or mix some pineapple juice to taste.
Have some yogurt for breakfast or add some nuts and raisins for a mid morning or afternoon snack. With my on going snap back struggle, plain unsweetened yogurt is my preference – trying to keep the calorie count down.
I love to have these for breakfast. Throw in your favorite fruits (please avoid lemon and ginger), vegetables plus some of the foods mentioned above and you are good to go. I will be sharing with you a few lactation smoothie recipes that have been my go to soon.
The list of foods that boost lactation is a lengthy one and i have not included so many other boosters because i have not tried them, once i do i will let you. So please feel free to share what has worked for you while nursing.
Note: I have incorporated these foods into my diet and I consume them on a regular basis.
PS: I am not a Doctor or Lactation Specialist, these foods and tips worked for me but I might not be of help to you although I do hope they do you someone some lactation justice.
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