One common worry among new mothers is that they do not produce enough milk; however, there are foods that boost breast milk, and they are Nigerian foods. These foods help to increase the amount of prolactin and oxytocin - the hormones that influence breast milk production in the female body.
Breast milk is recommended to be the exclusive food for babies, at least, till they are 6 months old. This is because breast milk contains all the nutrient they need and these nutrients are gotten from what the mother eats. Therefore, the nutrient provided to babies through breast milk are what the mother has eaten and processed, ensuring that they do not eat what isn’t unhealthy for them.
While breast size does not influence the quantity of milk a nursing mother can produce, the food they eat can greatly influence it, and consequently, how well their babies feed on their only source of nutrient. However, the good news for those with low breast milk production is that they can boost it.
When you are done with this article, you will have known the right foods that boost breast milk in Nigeria. You will also understand why your breast milk may be produced in small quantities and why you should keep feeding your baby, regardless.
Breast Milk Production
Breast milk production is controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain. It is responsible for secreting the hormones – prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin helps to produce breast milk by converting food material the mother consumes into breast milk. In other words, it is responsible for converting the mother’s nutrient source to the child’s too.
A woman is ready to give breast milk immediately parturition takes place. The breast milk produced in the first three days, usually yellow in color and thick, is called colostrum, and it is important for your child to have the antibiotic protection it offers against infections. Also, it is normal that for the first few days, the quantity of breast milk you produce isn’t as much, but the volume increases in the following days. However, the golden rule to increasing the volume of breast milk you produce is to continuously supply breast milk to your baby. For this reason, it is advised that you feed your baby at least 8 times in a 24-hour period.
Why you need to Boost your Breast milk
No pressure here, but you do need a good volume of breast milk to keep your baby fed. Only one reason comes to mind when it comes to why you need to boost your breast milk, proper nutrition of your baby.
As it is now common knowledge, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for babies up to 6 months of age, as this aids in their mental health development and improves their mother-child connection. However, it can be disturbing when as a mother, you do not have enough breast milk to feed your child when others have their maternal brassieres soaked with milk leaking from their nipples.
This doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, neither does it mean your baby is going to be malnourished, as your body has provided the nutrients they will need in the little milk that comes from your alveoli. However, to keep your mind at peace and save you the guilt you carry, you may need to boost your breast milk production.
Nigerian Foods that Boost Breast Milk
One of the effective ways to boost breast milk production is to make changes to your diet and include certain foods. These foods help you to increase the prolactin produced by the pituitary gland, helping you to convert more food you eat into breast milk and saving you the guilt you feel.
Here are some Nigerian foods that boost breast milk.
Pap is a common porridge in Nigeria. It is called Ogi among the Yoruba, and Akamu among many other tribes. It is made from maize and can be accompanied with other foods, mostly protein, such as bean balls, called akara, moi moi, or beans.
Pap can be taken with milk to make it rich and give extra nutrients such as fiber, iron, and zinc, which help in boosting lactation.
Fenugreek is an herb that belongs to the same family as soy. It is a plant that is abundant in phytoestrogen, aiding in lactation production, and passing as one of the foods that boost breast milk production.
Its influence on estrogen levels in the body helps to cause uterine contraction, something that usually happens during breastfeeding as a result of increased oxytocin levels, and stimulates the brain to produce more breast milk.
It has the added benefit of helping to lose pregnancy weight, fast.
Ofada rice is a locally grown rice in Nigeria. It is abundant in nutrient such as vitamin B and E, and helps to improve lactation. It is available in many stores and has superior taste compared to the imported rice.
Ofada rice also contains magnesium and a high amount of fiber.
Millet Porridge (Fura de nunu)
This dish is more common in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is one of the Nigerian foods that boost breast milk production in women by providing them with zinc, iron, and fiber, as contained in the grains. The grains are ground and made into porridge. Fresh milk is the added for more vitamins and minerals.
Its effect is felt in less than seven days as the level of prolactin produced by the pituitary gland increases, and breast milk, consequently.
Watermelon is a super-fruit. It is almost entirely water, but also provide nutrients, such as magnesium, vitamin C and E, and fiber. It helps a lactating mother lose weight easily while aiding in breast milk production.
Its high water content causes breast milk to flow better, making it one of the foods that boost breast milk production.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and can be made into different dishes. However, they are best consumed boiled for lactating mothers, helping them access the nutrients it contains. It boosts breast milk as it helps to elevate the amount of estrogen in the woman’s body.
Soybeans are phytoestrogen-rich food options for lactating mothers. They can be boiled and eaten as normal beans, ground into powder and used to bake soybean cakes, or used to make soy milk.
Whichever way a lactating mother chooses to consume soybean, it is sure to boost breast milk production.
Ginger is a popular spice that helps pregnant women stop nausea and vomiting. However, it also helps to increase estrogen and consequently, breast milk production.
Grind some ginger and use it as spice in your dishes.
Eggs are known to be abundant in nutrients. Some of the nutrients they contain, zinc, iron, and magnesium, are important in the production of breast milk. They help in the stimulation of the pituitary gland and the consequent production of breast milk.
Therefore, it is one of the foods that boost breast milk production.
Ugu leaves are used for many reasons, chief among them is the treatment of anemia due to their high iron content. However, due to the same nutrient and others, such as magnesium and fiber, it is an excellent food to boost breast milk production.
Breast milk is the primary nutrient source for newborns; therefore, they need to have it in good quantity. However, there might be a problem when the mother does not produce enough breast milk. To solve this issue, consume any of the listed foods that boost breast milk production and see a change in your breast milk volume in little time.