Store cupboard staples to help with breast milk production
For anyone intending to breastfeed, it's worth knowing that there are things you can consume to help establish your milk supply, keep your energy levels up and help yours and your baby's digestion.
These are some great products to stock your cupboards with before your baby comes along. They are not expensive and they are things that have helped me and many of the mums I know.
● Fenugreek seeds contain phytoestrogens and diosgenin that can increase milk supply. Scientists do not know for sure how this happens. But seemingly, it does.
● You need to take 1-2 capsules around 3 times a day and should see an increase in your milk supply within 24 to 72 hours. I can certainly testify to this!
● I was recommended Fenugreek tablets by a lactation specialist in the early days with my son Joseph. I was cynical, but within a couple of days I could feel and see the difference. After discovering their magic, I was a convert! So I took them as soon as Iris was born. I also dosed up when I had a bad cold and was finding my milk supply waning (Iris was about 3 months old by then).
● They do make your wee and sweat smell a bit funny but I was definitely beyond caring and no-one recoiled in horror when standing near me, so I don't think it was too bad.
● Voted Best Breastfeeding Tea in 2012, 2013 and 2014 - I drank this a LOT!
● This tea combines powerful galactagogues herbs (meaning they promote or increase the flow of a mother's milk) such as fenugreek seeds and fennel. The natural sweetness from aniseed and caraway means it tastes good too and is nice to drink after a meal.
● You need to stay hydrated when breastfeeding, so drinking tea is a good way break from the tedium of endless glasses of water or the lure of squash.
● Weleda Nursing Tea is a blend of 100% organic herbs that supports lactation and soothes digestion. I didn't drink it (it's more expensive than Neuner's tea and not quite so easy to find) but it comes very highly recommended by a Hypnobirthing Place mum. Her own mum used to drink something very similar (if not the same) in Germany.
● Organic fenugreek seed, used traditionally to increase milk supply, is mixed with organic anise seed, organic fennel seed and other organic herbs to help ease digestion, for both mother and baby.
● Oatmeal contains iron. Iron deficiency contributes to exhaustion and is associated with low milk supply. Eat oats to stay strong - Smoothies, porridge, muffins, bread, chuck them in!
● Saponins — which oats are full of — are antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, supporting the immune system. But they also impact the milk-making hormones produced by the pituitary gland.
● For another good use of oats, beyond porridge, check out this lactation cookie recipe
● Used by breastfeeding mothers for years to increase their milk supply. It's unclear whether this is because it has a physiological effect or just that the baby likes the taste so breastfeeds more.
● You can always have garlic pills if you don't like the taste (my granny swore by them for cold-fighting properties too!)
● Ginger is known to increase the let-down reflex.
● The elements or the ketones present in ginger boosts the immune system and reduce conditions of inflammation.
● Ginger also helps with digestion - good for you and baby too
● Nuts contain amino acids. These boost seratonin which in turn boosts lactation. Most nuts are good for energy and almonds are best for improving milk production.