Nursing Mothers- Increasing Your Milk Production When On a Plant-Based Diet
Congratulations on becoming a mom! Being on a plant-based diet, can still make you anxious about breastfeeding and ensuring that your baby gets adequate nutrition.
Relax! Since, you successfully carried your pregnancy whilst on a plant based diet. You can do much better in this phase too.
|Many researchers believe that switching to plant-based and vegan diet can be beneficial in long term for the prevention of several chronic and degenerative ailments. This diet is considered to be appropriate during all life cycle stages, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Breast milk is the most optimal food to the baby. It contains all nutrients needed for the baby plus the immune factors which reduces the risk of allergies. Infants should be exclusively breast fed for the first six months of their life. They do not need any solid foods during this time and certain solid food can be even dangerous to young babies.|
One interesting study found that vegan and vegetarian mothers are more likely to breastfeed their children when compared to non-vegetarian mothers and they also did so for a longer period of time. However, many mothers could be apprehensive about whether their breastfed baby is getting enough nutrients from the plant-based diet she is eating, and whether she is producing enough milk for the baby. There are many plant-based remedies lactating women can follow to increase their milk production so that they are satisfied with breastfeeding and their babies have their tummies full.
Remedies to increase your milk production and (decrease your anxiety) when on a plant-based diet:
1) Ensure that you eat adequate calories since energy demands are higher in lactation than those of pregnancy.
2) Foods which help in increasing milk production are:
- Fenugreek: This is most easily available herb and has been found to increase the milk production in lactating women.
- Fennel: This herb is commonly available and can be consumed by adding as a spice on different dishes.
- Flax seeds: Flax seeds are super healthy. A spoonful of flax seeds daily can help women increase their breast milk production in addition to many other health benefits.
- Oatmeal: Oats in any form are always beneficial. It is a good source of fibre, iron, magnesium and zinc.
- Alfa Alfa: Alfa alfa can be consumed as sprouts can also be added to salads for an increase in milk production.
- Protein-rich foods: Tofu, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans should be consumed in adequate amounts as source of proteins.
3) Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water to keep yourself well hydrated.
To conclude, experts say vegan and vegetarian moms can certainly breastfeed successfully as long as they are getting all their key nutrients. So make sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of different kinds of fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
- Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc 2009; 109:1266–82.
- Pawlak R., Ding C., Sovyanhadi M. Pregnancy outcome and breastfeeding pattern among vegans, vegetarians and nonvegetarians.
- Pistollato F., Summalla C., Elio I et al., Plant-based and plant-rich diet patterns during gestation: beneficial effects and possible shortcomings.