A new mother needs about 500 calories above her daily requirement to maintain her energy levels especially if her baby is exclusively breastfed. This additional intake must be acquired from a healthy balanced diet comprising of all the food groups in adequate proportions. If the nursing mother fails to consume the right foods, the energy spent while breastfeeding will be leached out from her own body stores.
“A lactating mother must eat foods rich in iron, proteins and calcium. To help your body absorb iron, eat iron-rich foods along with foods high in vitamin C,” says Dr Zammurud Patel, nutritionist, Global Hospitals, Mumbai.
Keeping the body hydrated during nursing is also paramount. “Having the right diet and plenty of fluids can greatly boost the breastmilk levels in a mother,” says Dr Swati Thoda, nutritionist and lactation consultant, Hiranandani Fortis Hospital, Navi Mumbai. “Sipping on only water makes the body feel bloated. Drink a variety of fluids to increase nutrient intake as well,” she adds.
Foods to include in recipes for lactating mothers:
According to Dr Patel and Dr Thoda, certain foods are believed to naturally aid in breastmilk production. They are:
- Gum or resin (gaund)
- Poppy Seeds (khus khus)
- Garden cress seeds or aliv (halim)
- Pumpkin, melon and water melon seeds
- Dry ginger powder
- Millet or Bajra
These lactation foods or galactagogues, can be integrated into some healthy Indian recipes to make a well-balanced meal for the nursing mother. Read on for some simple recipes for lactating mothers that make use of these foods to help increase breastmilk supply.
Continue reading to try recipes for lactating mothers
Fenugreek leaves have long been used as a milk-boosting food. This light, flavourful soup made with fresh methi leaves and dal water not only improves breastmilk supply but aids digestion as well.
- 1 cup fresh fenugreek leave or methi
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups water or dal water
- Salt and pepper powder to taste
- 2 tsp sesame seed oil
- Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onion, garlic and sauté until onions turn translucent
- Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes
- Now add cleaned and chopped methi leaves and sauté until the greens wilt
- Add 2 cups of diluted dal water, salt and simmer for 15 minutes. You can also pressure cook for one whistle
- Blend half of the quantity and then add this to the rest of the soup and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add pepper powder to taste
Recipe and image from Padhu’s Kitchen
Continue reading for a yummy lactation boosting snack
Date and oat bars
These oat bars contain no added sugar. This recipe uses coconut oil, which is also known to improve milk supply. So this snack is made of not one, but four breastmilk boosting ingredients. Keep them by your bedside to satisfy anytime hunger pangs.
- 400 g of oats
- 20 deseeded dates
- 300 ml of water
- 200 g of raisins
- 100 g of sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp of coconut oil
- 4 tbsp of sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 tsp of cinnamon powder
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C
- Place the dates in a saucepan with the coconut oil. Allow the dates and coconut oil to melt for about five minutes, until the dates are nice and soft
- Next, place the date and coconut oil mixture into a blender with the water and blend until a smooth paste forms.
- Add the oats, sunflower seeds, raisins and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and stir in the date mix. Add the sesame seeds
- Line a baking tray (about 6×9 inches) with baking paper, or grease it with coconut oil. Then pour the granola bar mix into it the baking tray and spread it evenly across
- Place the tray in the oven for about 35 minutes, until the top turns golden. At this point take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool for about 15 minutes, before cutting it into bars
- Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature
Recipe source: Deliciousyella
Click for a delicious spinach and potato recipe with khus-khus for an increase in your iron levels
Potato and spinach with poppy seeds
This easy-to-make recipe provides the nursing mum with a healthy dose of iron, calcium and fibre. The khus khus gives a depth to the flavour of the dish and improves breastmilk quality.
- 1/2 kg potatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- 1 tsp finely crushed ginger
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 50 g white poppy seeds
- 1 big bunch of spinach, cleaned and chopped
- Peel and finely chop potatoes. Place a pan on medium flame and add olive oil.
- Fry the fenugreek and mustard seeds, add the fresh ginger, chopped chillies, crushed ginger and stir.
- Add the potato, salt and turmeric and mix. Cook until the potato is softened a bit.
- Grind the poppy seeds with a little water to a paste and add to potatoes.
- Fold the spinach into the potato mixture, keep stirring until the potatoes are cooked through. Be careful not to overcook and loose the colour of the spinach.
- Serve hot with bajra rotis
Recipe source: SBS
Want to begin your day with a breastmilk-enhancing meal? Click on Next
Warm your heart with this humble porridge made from the versatile cereal grain, barley. Have it as a light breakfast or when you want to satisfy your 11 o’clock hunger pangs. Soak this grain overnight to reduce it’s cooking time.
- 2 tbsp barley, soaked overnight
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp of jaggery
- A pinch of crushed cardamom (elaichi)
- Fistful of nuts such as almonds and walnuts, crushed
- Wash the soaked barley and pressure cook it with 3 cups of water for 2-3 whistles.
- After it cools, grind the barley pearls with a little bit of water
- Now, heat this paste with some water and a little milk, if required. Keep stirring so that no lumps are formed.
- Add the jaggery, a pinch of salt and the crushed nuts. Consume hot with your favourite fruits.
Continue reading for a lip-smacking rasam recipe
Masoor dal rasam
Try this tangy rasam to maintain your breastmilk levels and keep coughs and colds at bay.
- 1 cup masoor dal
- 2 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1 tsp tamarind extract
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp rasam powder
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1 tsp jaggery
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 3-4 dried red chilies
- 2 tsp oil
- In a pressure cooker, add masoor dal, tomatoes, tamarind, jaggery, garlic, turmeric, and red chilli powder. Pressure cook up to 3 whistles.
- Once it cools, add 3 cups of water, rasam powder, salt and few stalks of coriander & bring it to a boil.
- Simmer on low heat for about 10 mins until the raw smell of the rasam powder disappears and the flavours incorporate well.
- Heat oil in a small griddle, add mustard seeds. After they sputter, add curry leaves and dried red chillies. Temper the rasam with this mixture. Consume hot.
- Add a dollop of ghee on top if required.
Recipe source: Deliciousspot
Continue reading for the recipe of a breakfast staple, but with a twist
High in fibre and iron, bajra or pearl millet replenishes a nursing mother’s iron levels and prevents constipation. Know how you can include this ingredient in a breakfast favourite.
- 1 cup bajra
- 1/4 cup par boiled idli rice
- 1/4 cup whole urad dal
- 1 tsp methi seeds
- Salt to taste
- Wash and soak all the ingredients together for 6-7 hours or overnight
- Grind it to a smooth batter in a blender, adding water as needed. Add in salt and mix well
- Allow it to ferment for 5-6 hours
- Heat a tawa.When it is hot, pour a ladle of batter and spread it in a circular motion. Drizzle a tsp of oil around the dosa. Flip over once the edges start curling upwards
Beetroot does it all for a breastfeeding mum. The next recipe will make you want to make it right away
A feast for the eyes, this colourful rice preparation is full of flavours and nutrients to build up a new mum’s energy levels.
- 1 1/2 cups beetroot, finely chopped into tiny cubes
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- A sprig of coriander leaves, chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oil
- Steam the chopped beetroot and retain the water. Keep aside
- In a pan, add some oil and cumin seeds. Add the green chillies and cooked beetroot to it. Mix well
- Now add the coriander powder, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Mix well
- Add in cooked rice and the beetroot water. Mix gently
- Temper with a little ghee and cumin seeds
Craving for something sweet? Read on for one of the most interesting dessert recipes for lactating mothers
This traditional recipe makes use of dry ginger and ajwain, both known to facilitate digestion and aid lactation. Use jaggery instead of sugar to sweeten this halwa to make it more healthy and earthy.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup pure pure ghee
- 1/2 cup jaggery
- ½ tsp powdered ajwain
- ¼ tsp dry ginger powder
- A pinch of cardamom powder
- Dry fruits of your choice for garnishing
- Filtered water
- Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add whole wheat flour and roast on medium flame until it turns golden brown and the ghee starts to separate. Be sure to separate all the lumps
- Now add in powdered carom (ajwain) seeds and dry ginger (saunth). Stir the mixture for a few minutes. Add jaggery and mix well.
- Pour the water and stir the mixture. Cook till it thickens in consistency Remove from the stove. Garnish the halwa with dry fruits and a pinch of cardamom powder. Serve hot.
End your meals with a digestive aid. Yes, a breastmilk-boosting one. Continue reading
This is a mouth freshener loaded with all seeds that aid lactation. Have a spoonful after any meal.
- 1/4 cup flax seeds (alsi)
- 1/4 cup black sesame seeds (kala til)
- 1/4 cup white sesame seeds (til)
- 1/4 cup fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, add lemon juice, salt and mix well. Cover and keep aside for an hour
- Dry roast it on a broad non-stick pan for 2 to 3 minutes till it starts giving a good aroma
- Cool slightly and mix well
- Cool completely and store in an air-tight container