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Do you know how to increase your breast milk supply?

Posted: 16-Aug-2011
Today’s trendy and modern moms who breastfeed are constantly looking for ways to increase their milk supply to their young ones, whether it is eating hot food, drinking warm water and herbal teas, and eating food that is thought to increase breast milk, based on traditional Thai beliefs. Some of these techniques have had good results while others have had no effect. Below are answers to some common queries about breastfeeding.

Definitely the best formula… lots of breast milk
An important principle in ensuring a good supply of milk is to have the baby latch on to the nipple and to drink milk completely from one breast, until it empties. This is a classic response and you should not forget this tip, which is to have babies suck quickly, often and in the correct way. This will ensure that you will have adequate supply of breast milk.

Other factors that influence breastfeeding include the mother’s health and her readiness, such as whether she has eaten nutritious food during all her meals. This doesn’t mean that the food must be expensive, but that the food must contain nutrients from all the five food groups. She must also take adequate rest so that she can breastfeed her baby, such as a short afternoon nap or in between breastfeeding, so that both mother and child can sleep. In this way, both will have time to play and laugh with one another, and to relax themselves, allowing the body to function fully.

Will drinking lots of water increase the supply of milk?

Mothers need not drink extra water or more than what is required as drinking water will not increase the supply of milk. The rationale behind this belief is probably to remind mothers to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day as they  are so busy looking after the babies that they tend to neglect looking after themselves.

How does eating hot food and drinking warm water help?
According to the Science of Oriental Medicine, eating hot food provides equilibrium to the body.  If we eat anything that is cooler than our body temperature, we will feel cold and the body will combat this cold by using the stored or reserved energy to warm the body. If we eat hot food, the reserved energy in the mother’s body can be used to produce more milk and in caring for her baby. There has been no academic research to prove that eating hot food will increase the supply of milk.

Can herbal teas help?
Herbal teas are another alternative and the popular herbal teas include a blend of chamomile, lavender, and raspberry. These teas have a relaxing and calming effect. What increases the milk production is fenugreek and fennel seeds. Drinks containing these two ingredients help in relaxation and increases milk production and is effective in some people. However, remember to let the baby empty one breast so that new milk can be produced.

What type of food and kaeng liang (yellow curry with vegetables) should I eat to help increase milk production?
Kaeng Liang (yellow curry with vegetables) contains many herbs and vegetables such as pepper, ginger, sweet basil leaves, and pumpkin, including proteins and calcium from dried shrimps. It promotes blood circulation and induces sweat and has a relaxing effect. It is effective in producing more breast milk but you should eat more than just kaeng liang. According to the traditional Thai practices on food consumption in post-partum mothers, there are other vegetables and fruits which are believed to help increase breast milk supply and these include cloves, cumin, papaya, banana (kluay nam wa), banana blossom (huaplee), jackfruit, holy basil, Thai celery, lettuce, pumpkin, etc. However don’t overindulge in these vegetables that you forget the basic principle.

Does massaging the breast stimulate milk production?

It may help as it is one way to prepare the breast for breastfeeding.

Is it harmful to use medicines to stimulate breast milk production?
Medication should be the last resort and is often used in cases where milk supply has stopped in women who have been breastfeeding. The use of medication must be under the guidance of physicians as medicines are synthetic substances and not food.

Using the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy to explain about breastfeeding your child, increasing breast milk production involves the following:

S-Self sustaining- Be dependent on yourself. The body can be controlled by the mother and child and can be kept in balance. This means the child is sucking quickly, often and in the correct way. The child will stop drinking when he or she is full and will continue drinking when hungry. The more the child drinks, the more breast milk will be produced and when the child no longer wants to drink, breast milk will stop.

E-Efficiency -  Breastfeeding is efficient and you should alternate breasts while feeding

M-Multi Immune System – this is the body’s defense mechanism where in the reserved  fat in the mother’s body is used in cases where the mother is able to only eat less and helps in building a special armour to protect the child until he or she is strong and healthy.

Today’s trendy moms lead a life based on the Philosophy of Self-Sufficiency and breastfeeds their child. They are steadfast with this practice as they believe that both the mother and child play an important role in increasing the breast milk and they need not depend on anyone. Dependency will be minimal and even though they don’t see the results today, they should not be discouraged or stop. By breastfeeding for 6 months, they can increase their child’s immunity and see how strong and healthy the baby will be.


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