One of the characteristic signals of pregnancy is an increased sensitivity of the breast and an increase in its size. These changes prepare the mother's body to provide proper nutrition for the future baby.
Breast milk itself begins to appear two days after the birth of the baby. Milk synthesis is stimulated by the process of sucking the mother’s breast. The mechanical stimulus produced by the baby’s mouth raises the level of the hormone prolactin, which is crucial for milk production. That is why with hypolactia (insufficient secretion of milk) it is advisable to apply the baby to the chest as often as possible, and not offer him/her an alternative in the form of artificial substitutes. In addition, the relative«lack of milk» encourages the baby to suck more intensively.
Negative factors affecting lactation:
- severe stress due to childbirth or pregnancy;
- thyroid dysfunction, it can occur immediately after childbirth;
- dehydration, with insufficient fluid intake, lactation decreases;
- lack of sleep; a young mother should try to sleep 8 hours a day, this provides significant assistance in the production of milk.
Thus, the mother can increase lactation simply by avoiding the above factors.
To cope with reduced lactation, many mothers use a completely natural way. This strategy is to use certain foods and herbs throughout the period of breastfeeding. In fact, there are natural and synthetic substances whose functions are to stimulate and then increase milk production. In the human body, the hormones prolactin and oxytocin have the strongest effect on lactation. The first hormone is able to stimulate the glandular tissue of the breast, and the second - «compresses» the alveoli, directing milk into the milk ducts.
Here is a short list of products that can increase milk production: apricot, asparagus, watercress, parsley, oatmeal, walnuts, fenugreek, borage, green beans, dandelion, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots and fennel.