Lactation is a term which is medically known, for yielding of milk by the mammary glands for cause of breastfeeding. Mother’s milk contains good amount of nutrients for newborn and provides necessary protection from various ailments. Early in a woman’s pregnancy her milk producing glands begin to prepare for her baby’s arrival and by the sixth month of pregnancy the breasts are ready to produce milk.
New moms wonder what breast feeding means for their diet. You probably don’t need to make any major changes to what you eat or drink while nursing. Just keep few important considerations in mind. Just come out of the stress that milk is not coming in fast enough and you are not being able to provide enough nourishment for your baby. Immediately after the baby is born and the placenta is delivered a hormone (prolactin) present in the woman’s body activate the milk producing glands. As the baby sucks it stimulates nerve endings in the nipple, which signal the mother’s pituitary glands to release Oxytoxin, a hormone which along with two other hormones oestrogen and progesterone causes the mammary glands to release milk. This is called let down reflex, while the baby’s sucking, baby’s cry, thoughts of the baby are primary reflexes.
So, just relax and enjoy the experience of breastfeeding. Any type of emotional disturbances or stress may cause lack of let down hormone or normal stimulation. Following are some important ways to increase breast milk production for new mothers:
- The new mother should take enough rest so that she can experience the pleasure of nursing her baby. She needs to be relieved from all other responsibilities. To get more rest sleep when baby sleeps, free her from the obligation to entertain visitors to see the baby, get out side for a few minutes every day, walk or exercise as advised by physician. To take enough rest she should take the help of the family members around.
- Nurse the baby frequently as newborn can’t swallow more milk at a time and feel hungry. So, nursing frequently is necessary. Frequent nursing will also help to increase milk production and keep the baby satisfied.
- Depending upon personal requirements a nursing mother needs 300-500 more calories than a non nursing one. She should take a well balanced diet. Oils and fats are also required in a balanced amount. Moderate salt and sugar. Plenty of water and liquid like milk, juice etc. Carbonated drinks, caffeine, alcohol are not suggested to take.
- If necessary wake the baby up to feed. The baby can’t suck in a stretch. He or she gets tired and sleeps. Awake the baby up and feed him frequently. Frequently emptying the breast keeps producing milk. It will not disturb the baby’s sleep schedule, because it develops after at least three months of age.
- Don’t let the baby to suck with only one breast. Feed him with both the breasts alternatively, otherwise one breast will be emptied again and again while the other one will get engorged and painful, finally may develop abscess.
- Expressing the breast is required when it’s too full and even when you feel it has been emptied by the baby. Breasts that are too full can prevent the baby from sucking. Expressing milk manually can help. Even when you feel the breast has been emptied by the baby, expressing it will stimulate to produce more milk.
- Above all, good physical and mental health is most important for a nursing mother, so take care of yourself, have nutritious diet and enjoy the nursing your newborn baby. This will ultimately result as increase in breastmilk supply.
- If nothing helps, all these fails, you are needed to stimulate your let down reflex. Doctor can prescribe a nasal spray of Oxytocin which will help to stimulate the let down reflex.