Although lactation is a natural process, many women may not be able to produce breast milk for their newborns. Do you find yourself in a similar situation? If so, then do not worry. Here are some Ayurvedic herbs and tips to promote lactation and boost your as well as your newborn’s health.
However, before we find out these tips, let’s see why lactation is so important.
An Ayurvedic View on Breast Milk and Lactation
According to Ayurveda, breast milk is one of the healthiest forms of milk and should be continued until the newborn is at least 18 months old.
Rich in several nutrients, like protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, iron and calcium, breast milk offers numerous benefits to both the mothers and babies. For babies, it helps build immunity, boost brain activities, enhance memory and aid in their overall growth. For mothers, it helps fight postpartum depression and reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Therefore, Ayurveda talks so much about healthy lactation and recommends herbs and lifestyle changes to increase breast milk production.
What Exactly Affects the Production of Breast Milk?
Stress is one of the leading reasons for the low production of breast milk. However, many other factors can also affect lactation, such as breast surgery, medications, premature childbirth, late initiation of breastfeeding, postpartum depression, irregular breastfeeding, etc.
Health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, hypothyroidism and diabetes can also affect breast milk production in lactating mothers.
How to Support Healthy Lactation in Mothers?
Ayurveda recommends many herbs to induce lactation and boost the production of breast milk in women. Some of these herbs are:
Also known as the queen of herbs, Shatavari is a powerful galactagogue that helps to boost the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and induce lactation. It also helps enhance the quality of breast milk, balance hormones and improve the health of the uterus after delivery. You can take one tablespoon of Shatavari powder, or as recommended by the doctor, with a glass of warm milk every night till the mother is breastfeeding.
Methi or Fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds, rich in potent lactating properties, are one of the best Ayurvedic remedies to improve breast milk production in women. They contain bioactive components, diosgenin and phytoestrogen, that help enhance the breast milk supply and promote lactation. Methi is also beneficial in relieving back pain and improving the bone health of new mothers. You can avail the benefits of fenugreek by drinking a cup of fenugreek tea twice a day.
Blessed with galactagogue properties, Milk thistle or Mary thistle is one of the best herbs to promote lactation in mothers. It is also known to eliminate harmful toxins from the body and boost liver functions in women. Owing to the estrogenic properties of the plant, Milk thistle also helps control mood swings and manage postpartum depression in new mothers.
Abundantly loaded with phytoestrogen, fennel seeds help induce the production of prolactin in women. Prolactin triggers the mammary glands to secrete milk, thereby promoting lactation. Consumption of fennel seeds by mothers is also known to improve digestion and prevent colic pain in newborns. One of the best ways to have fennel seeds is by taking them directly after meals. Alternatively, you can also make fennel tea to avail the health benefits of the seeds.
Ayurveda recommends consuming cinnamon for many health benefits. The galactagogue properties of the herb help promote lactation and improve the taste of breast milk. Furthermore, cinnamon is also known to boost digestion and improve the skin health of new mothers.
Rich in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and many other minerals, Kalonji is known to increase breast milk supply in mothers and promote lactation. In addition, Kalonji also helps reduce pain and inflammation and improve hair health in new mothers.
More Tips by Ayurveda to Promote Lactation
- Have an active lifestyle and practise easy Yoga Asanas to keep your body moving. However, you must consult a Yoga practitioner before practising any Asana after delivery.
- Breast milk is almost 90 per cent water, and therefore, lactating mothers must consume 10-12 glasses of water every day.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can affect breast milk production.
- Ayurveda also recommends consuming almond milk to promote lactation.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the babies and the mother. Therefore, Ayurveda stresses healthy lactation.
There are many herbs mentioned in the Ayurveda that help induce lactation and increase the production of breast milk in mothers. However, it is always advised to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using any herb, as everyone’s body constitution is different.