Breast milk is one source of complete nutrition for infants. Breast milk production is automatically stimulated in mothers due to secretion of specific hormones after pregnancy. Besides nutrition, a nursing mother also provides vitamin, minerals, digestive enzymes and other necessary ingredients that are required for the growing baby. Breast milk is known to contain valuable antibodies that can help the baby resist infections. It is also a fact that breastfeeding your baby burns calories and thus helps the mother to lose pregnancy weight faster. Moreover, to improve blood circulation the nursing mother can choose a 100% natural, gel-free nursing breast compress.
Ayurveda and Breastfeeding
Ayurveda has long recommended the importance of breastfeeding for new moms because it protects the baby against a lot of illnesses and also helps to boost the immunity levels. Just like our body is governed by the three doshas – vata, kapha and pitta, breast milk is also affected by them. If you notice any recurring health issues in your baby, you need to watch what you are eating, because the quality of milk depends solely on your diet.
The important question here is how do you test the quality of milk given through breastfeeding?
For this, place a drop of milk into a container with water and watch its behaviour:
- If the milk drop disappears mixes with the water easily, it is of good quality.
- If it sinks, you have a kapha dominance and should avoid kapha inducing foods.
- If the milk drop floats, you have a predominant vata dosha and this can result in the child suffering from gaseous stools and gripes.
- If the milk becomes yellow, it is predominantly pitta dosha.
The next question would be, how do I know what is right for me once I know what dosha is predominant? Let’s look at some of the prescribed diet requirements according to Ayurveda.
Diet according to Doshas for breastfeeding in Ayurveda
Ancient Ayurvedic tests state that the individual body constitution (Ayurvedic body type) of a mother can affect the quality of the milk. Normal breast milk can be easily and evenly mixed with water. It has a sweet taste and a slightly yellowish tinge.
Excess of Vata and diet to follow
When there is an excess of Vata dosha in the milk, the taste of the milk is bitter or becomes astringent. It will not mix evenly with water but stratifies when it comes in contact with water. When a baby consumes milk that has an excess of vata, it can have constipation, cramps or abdominal pain, anxiety, and can suffer from sleep disorders.
Mothers who have an excess of Vata dosha need to follow a proper Ayurvedic diet and have a routine that will help eliminate it. Foods that can increase the Vata dosha should be excluded from the meals. Some tips to follow would be:
- Avoid eating cold, stale, dry foods or foods.
- Avoid eating foods that are overcooked, bitter and have a pungent taste.
- Space your meals and eat at least 4 – 6 times a day.
- Avoid snacking between meals and exclude beans, peas, raw vegetables like cabbage in the meals.
- Consume at least 4 litres of water to keep your body hydrated.
Excess of Pitta and diet to follow
When there is an excess of Pitta dosha in the milk, it becomes pungent, sour or salty. If you let the milk settle for a while, you will notice yellow streaks appear in it. When a baby consumes milk that has an excess of pitta, it can develop diarrhoea, stomach cramps, skin infections and delayed milestones.
Mothers who have an excess of Pitta dosha need to follow a proper Ayurvedic diet and have a routine that will help eliminate it.
- Avoid all foods that are citrus, salty and have high levels of spices. Also avoid dairy products, pickles and pickled salads and marinated foods.
- Eat freshly cooked food and space out your meals at regular intervals.
Excess of Kapha and diet to follow
When there is an excess of Kapha dosha in the milk, it becomes very sweet and is greasy and sticky to the touch and sinks in water. When a baby consumes milk that has an excess of kapha, it can gain weight very quickly which is not good for its health. They can also have constipation, a runny nose and a constant discharge from the eyes and ears.
Mothers who have an excess of Kapha dosha need to follow a proper Ayurvedic diet and have a routine that will help eliminate it.
- Reduce the intake of sweets and excessive salty foods.
- Foods with high fat content and starch should be avoided.
- Light exercise routine is recommended.
Agreed that a new mother has to face so many challenges on her journey of motherhood. But the best way for her and her baby to tide over these challenges is by using natural products without any side-effects whatsoever. For instance, Omved anti-stretch belly balm and buckwheat pillow are good companions for every new mother. They can help relieve her of the pregnancy stretch marks as well as allow her to sleep peacefully.
Mother’s milk is naturally sterile and it helps to protect the baby from many infections, also building up the immunity levels. It is available at the right temperature for the baby. Mother’s milk contains IgA ad lectoferrin that helps to boost the immunity levels of the baby. A mother’s milk is rich in various digestive enzymes that makes it more easy for the baby to digest. The milk lactose present in the milk also inhibits growth of E. coli, and poliovirus. When there are so many advantages of breastfeeding, if possible do ensure that you give your baby the required nutrition!
Note: The sole purpose of this post is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.
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