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    • cal01-August-2022 adminTarishi Shrivastava

      Galactagogues: A Supplement For Healthy Nursing

    • A common issue for every mother is insufficient lactation post-pregnancy. 

      Many women deal with less production of breast milk due to various reasons. Once this problem comes to light, the main concern becomes, “how can you boost milk production?”  

      The solution is relatively easy. A change of diet can help break the barriers. It would be best if you had a nourishing diet including fruits, vegetables, herbs and even prescribed medication.

      Milk production is just like the demand & supply process. Unable to produce enough breast milk can be due to various reasons. Nourishing your body with nutrients can be a good start to resolving the problem.

      Table of Contents

      1. What Are Galactagogues?

      2. Reasons For Insufficient Lactation

      3. Nutrition For Better Lactation

      4. Herbal Galactagogues

      5. The Final Say

      6. FAQs

      What Are Galactagogues?

      "Galacta "is a Greek word meaning milk. Galactagogues are easy to read than to pronounce. Galactagogues are drugs or food which help in increasing breast milk. 

      It also acts as a lactation inducer or milk booster. It is a substance that promotes & increases prolactin secretion, increasing milk production and working psychologically.

      Galactagogue can be used to treat low milk supply and induce lactation. It may be synthetic, herbal, or endogenous. A galactagogue is more effective when combined with increased frequency of breastfeeding & milk extraction.

       

      Reasons For Insufficient Lactation

      Many factors can lead a new mom to turn towards galactagogues, like:

      • Due to inefficient stimulation of breast muscles, the milk becomes challenging to release. 
      • Suppose the mother has an injured breast due to cancer, accident or surgery; this affects the feeding process. Even the breastfeeding position is a factor that can hamper the process.
      • Drugs, alcohol and medication can be why a mother cannot feed. Due to high doses and long sleeping hours, the feeding gaps are minimum. 
      • Tube-shaped breasts have insufficient breast tissues that can hinder the flow of breast milk. 
      • It is healthy for both mothers and infants to start breastfeeding six weeks after birth.  
      • Separation is the most significant factor in this process. The process requires skin-to-skin contact. 
      • Stress or anxiety can decrease the production and milk ejection reflex. 

      Nutrition For Better Lactation 

      A healthy, balanced diet can make it easier for a mother to produce breast milk. 

      Yams, Beets, And Carrots

      Red, yellow & orange vegetables are a rich source of beta carotene. It is essential for the production of breast milk. They have the additional benefit of supplying iron and minerals.

      Dark Leafy Greens

      Dark leafy green vegetables contain flavonoids, an excellent source of essential enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Green is rich in folate & phytoestrogen, which may support lactation.

      One Should Try And Include

      • Kale
      • Arugula
      • Spinach
      • Swiss chard
      • Collard greens

      Green Papaya

      It is rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It is a vital source of Vitamin A & C (100 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C in 1 small fruit). The RDA of vitamin C is -115 to 120 mg for lactating women each day.

      Fennel And Fennel Seed

      The fennel seed is highly recommended to nursing mothers as it increases milk production. 

      Grains

      Oats are the go-to comfort food as they have antibiotics and anti-inflammatory properties. It is said that eating something associated with comfort helps a woman’s body release oxytocin, a hormone involved in milk production.

      Legumes And Lentils

      Rich in potassium, protein and folate, chickpeas and beans have established a firm ground for milk-boosting qualities. 

      Brewer’s Yeast

      A good source of iron and protein, brewer’s yeast is also known as nutritional yeast. It also consists of phytoestrogens which may help with lactation and breast tissue health.

      Nuts & Seeds

      Raw nuts and seeds support the process of milk, as they are rich in good fat and calories. Try and include cashews, almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts.

      Sesame Seeds

      A perfect vegan source of calcium, sesame seeds are great for milk production. There are three types of sesame seeds, black or light coloured and tahini, a creamed version of seeds. It is suitable for both bone and milk production. You can add it to your diet as laddoo or mix it with curry or chutney.

      Lactation Cookies/Health Bars

      To make a healthy and nutritious lactation cookie or bar, mix flax seeds, brewer’s yeast, oats, and other supporting milk-boosting ingredients, and your yummy and healthy treat is ready.

      Goondh

      A popular and traditional North Indian remedy for the milk boosting process, Edible gum (Goondh), Goondh ladoos act as the supporter to increase breast milk and provide energy to new mothers. 

      Herbal Galactagogues

      Tens of herbs act as supporters to increase breast milk for nursing mothers. Some of the well-known and anecdotally effective galactagogues are herbal. 

      These herbs support hormones and stimulate mammary growth, one of the most well-known galactagogues is Fenugreek, a Middle Eastern spice. 

      Nettle, ginger and blessed thistle, and ginger are other popular herbs that are thought to improve milk production.

      Remember that these herbs are advised to improve breastmilk production but should be consumed under supervision. Tips to keep the milk production intact:-

      Start Breastfeeding Soon

      Holding your baby close, like skin to skin, increases the possibility of your baby automatically starting breastfeeding within the first hour. Do not wait for a long time before beginning to breastfeed; this hinders milk production.

      Increase The Frequency Of Breastfeeding

      It is recommended to start breastfeeding 8-12 times (about every 2-3 hours) for the first few weeks to increase the amount of produced milk. If it helps, use a breastmilk pump if you miss the feeding session. 

      Correct The Latching Position Of The Baby

      It is essential to make sure that the baby has latched on and check the feeding position, and keep looking if the baby is swallowing or not.

      Notice The Feeding Problems

      Make sure to offer both breasts to the baby while feeding. It is ok if the baby is nursing only on one, but try to shift the focus and feed the baby from the other breast. 

      To relieve the pressure, you can pump. It may also help in processing the milk supply until your baby starts to feed with both breasts.  

      Pause The Pacifier

       Do not give your baby a pacifier for the first 3-4 weeks! Pacifier increases the sucking capacity and leads to a shortening of the feeding span of the baby.

      Increase the skin contact between mother and baby, which will help to produce more prolactin.

      Say No To Alcohol & Nicotine

      Drinking heavy and smoking can hinder the milk production process. 

      The Final Say

      Some things may have better results than others! It is not essential that what works for everyone also works for you. 

      If you are pumping, keep a detailed log of the amounts. It will help you segregate what works and what does not. Galactagogues (herbs or minerals) are great ways to increase your milk flow. You can have them dried, cooked, as teas or dietary supplements. Supplements are a great way to get nutrient-dense herbs and minerals that support breastfeeding mothers. Many herbs were used as medicines around the globe and still are; therefore, they can have positive and negative side effects on an individual's system.

      FAQs

      1. How long should you take galactagogues?

      Some mothers will only need galactagogues for a short time, such as a week to a month, and once they have a full milk supply can gradually reduce their dose over one to two weeks. Others find galactagogues are helpful long term.

      2. When should I start galactagogues?

      We recommend that moms wait to take our breastfeeding supplements until around 5 days after they deliver their baby.

      3. What foods help produce breast milk?

      Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, trout, mackerel and tuna are excellent sources of essential fatty acids and omega- 3 fatty acids. Calcium-rich dried fruits like figs, apricots, and dates are also thought to help with milk production. Take note: apricots also contain tryptophan.

      4. Can less sleep decrease milk supply?

      Yes, between lack of sleep and adjusting to the baby's schedule, rising levels of certain hormones such as cortisol can dramatically reduce your milk supply." 

      5. Is papaya a galactogogues food?

      Green Papaya, i.e., unripe papaya, is a popular galactagogue across Asia. Galactagogues are foods that help breastfeeding mothers make more milk. A "superfood" that will help boost the quantity and quality of your breast milk. Thus, papaya is a must-have for lactating moms.

      6. What are the factors that affect milk production?

      Genetic background, climate, diseases, feeding, year and season of calving have been reported to affect milk production, lactation length and dry period. Breed, age, stage of lactation, parity, and milking frequency also influence performance production.

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