Ayurvedic Tips For Lactating Mothers
NURSING A NEWBORN
We all know how infuriated and irritated we get when we are hungry. We yell and eat up our mother’s heads when food is not prepared at the correct time. But have you ever wondered how the little ones that are our babies, especially newborns, would be feeling caged to express their hunger for their only food that is breast milk? Hearing the word breast milk, it struck how important breastfeeding is. It is important not only for the babies but also for the mothers.
HOW DOES LACTATION OCCUR
Lactation is the process of synthesis, secretion, and ejection of breast milk. It includes two events that are milk secretion and milk ejection. The process of milk secretion also called lactogenesis occurs just after the delivery of the child because during this there is a sudden loss of estrogen and progesterone which causes the secretion of the hormone prolactin which induces milk secretion. Milk ejection is the discharge of milk from the mammary glands and is caused due to the effect of the hormone oxytocin.
Now let’s know how breast milk is produced as per Ayurveda. According to them, stanya, which is breast milk, is produced due to Rasa Dhatu. The Rasa dhatwagni acts on the Ahara rasa and divides it into prasada and kitta bhaga. The prasad fraction is meant for the formation and nourishment of sthayi dhatu as well as the formation of stanya as by-products in females.
LET’S KNOW SOME BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
Every mother is protective of her kids and would do anything for them. Colostrum is the first-line defensive shield they provide. It is rich in proteins and antibodies and is very nutritious for them.
Now let’s know what all benefits it has on the mother and the newborn:
One of the main benefits is that newborns get nutrition naturally, which can never be replaced by any other source of food supplement. Through this, they get an adequate amount of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and the perfect amount of nutrition that is necessary for their growth. Breast milk has live cells that are leukocytes which help in fighting infection. It contains antibodies like IgM, IgG, IgA, etc. It provides immunity and helps them fight serious diseases like diarrhea, respiratory tract-related diseases, wheezing, etc. According to many researches conducted on components of breast milk, it showed compounds that help in the development of the brain. It increases cognitive development and enhances psychomotor skills. The more a baby is breastfed the more it is good for the development of the infant.
Till now we got to know about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies. Now let’s know what it brings for mothers.
Breastfeeding reduces the chances of being afflicted by cancers like breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, etc, anemia, reduces the risk of diseases like osteoporosis, hip fracture, etc, which can occur in later life.
CAUSES THAT LEAD TO SUPPRESSION OF LACTATION
Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for a mother who has given birth to a baby in recent times but due to certain reasons, breast milk production gets suppressed. Wondering what it could be? Let’s know them: Women who are afflicted with certain diseases like insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, people who have less thyroxine production, etc cause less breast milk production. Other factors that can be a disturbing component are premature birth of the baby, maternal obesity, blood pressure induced due to pregnancy when breastfeeding is started late, not breastfeeding babies frequently, mothers not getting enough nutrition, etc.
According to Ayurveda, stanya has madhura rasa, madhura vipaka, is unctuous, provides energy, increases all tissues, alleviates vata and pitta, is aphrodisiac, aggravates kapha, is heavy and cool.
CONTRAINDICATIONS OF BREASTFEEDING AS PER AYURVEDA
Ayurveda enlists many physical and psychological conditions of mothers who breastfeed as a contraindication. Breastfeeding during that time is considered unfit as it can lead to problems in the mother as well as the baby. The conditions in which mother should not breastfeed are when she is hungry, is lethargic, is having depression, in conditions where dhatus are initiated, when she is pregnant with another child, who is suffering from fever, who is emaciated, obese, the mother who has an infectious disease like HIV, tuberculosis, etc.
Contraindication for a child is, if the baby is full, he or she should not be breastfed as it will cause indigestion and would cause other problems.
AYURVEDIC REMEDIES TO INCREASE BREAST MILK PRODUCTION
Nursing an infant is normal but the problem arises when there is decreased production of breast milk. To increase it, people can adopt Ayurvedic medicinal herbs which will help them increase breast milk without many side effects and will not have to find an alternative to suppress the satiety of their baby. Some medicinal parts are fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, shatavari, cinnamon, torbagun leaves, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, anise, etc.
Fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare) are good galactagogues; they have a component similar to estrogen and phytoestrogen which stimulates the production of breast milk. Fenugreek seeds(Trigonella foenum-greacum) also play a vital role in increasing the production of breast milk as they also have the presence of phytoestrogen. The herb Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) not only increases milk production, but it also helps in getting relief from fatigue, acts as a rejuvenating medicine, and improves prolactin hormonal level. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) helps in delaying periods after childbirth and increases the flow of mother’s milk. Torbagun leaves improve lactation and help in providing nourishment to the lactating mother. Cumin seeds( Cuminum cyminum) are of great medicinal value, they stimulate the production of breast milk. Garlic (Allium sativum) has been in the use for increasing milk production since time immemorial and helps in stimulating milk production and flow of breast milk. Ginger (Zingiber official) helps in maintaining good health and a healthy mother can only provide and nourish a baby.
These Ayurvedic herbs have been a part of the post-pregnancy nourishment diet for ages. Continuing the tradition can help to tackle the problem of decreased milk production. So let’s inculcate these Ayurvedic remedies and have a peaceful lactating period.
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