What to Eat While Breastfeeding to Make Baby Gain Weight?

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How Can I Help My Breastfed Newborn Gain Weight?: Indian Mom’s Guide

Baby not gaining weight after breastfeeding should not make a new mom stressed. If even after regular breastfeeding you feel that your baby’s weight gain is not enough then, these tips and list of foods will help you improve the increase in fat-rich milk supply and help baby gain weight faster.
A breastfeeding mother’s diet is as crucial as her diet in pregnancy. Breastfeeding forms an important of baby nutrition care. Not every medical expert agre es to the fact (?) that there is an effect of mother’s diet on baby’s weight.
Please note, in every baby, there is a drop in weight in the 1st week of birth. After that the baby’s weight gain in every week is not the same; depending on age and birth weight it varies. Check details here .
During my breastfeeding period, I consulted Dr. Shama Kulkarni who is a Pediatrician, pediatric nutritionist, and breastfeeding consultant. Dr Kulkarni explained to me how to follow just the perfect combination of traditional Indian smart diet and modern ways to improve and maintain the breastfeeding. we have noted down all the important tips and foods below from my personal experience and in-depth study of this topic.

Most Important Food: Positive Thinking

This is the very first point in Dr. Kulkarni’s breastfeeding consultation with her patients.
The most common culprit behind low breast milk supply is mother’s negative thinking. You must never bother about the quantity of breast milk, always be happy and think positive! It’s not just a motivational statement; it’s a scientific fact that your brain will not order your body to make milk if you are not stress-free.

Top 10 Foods: For Breastfeeding Moms to Make Baby Gain Weight

1. Galactogogues: Foods to Boost Breast Milk Production

seeds in spoons

What are Galactogogues?

Galactogogues (Galact-o-gogues) are the food items that boost up the process of breast milk product in mammary glands.

What and How to Eat?


• Fenugreek Seeds Sprouts
• Seeds: White Sesame, Cumin, GardenCress (Aliv/Halim), poppy seeds
• Bottle Gourd
Shatawari (Not needed during first 3-4 months of Breastfeeding)
• Garlic
• Coconut

And, some edibles are there on the list, [Foods to Increase Breastmilk].

Fun ways to eat Galactogogues:
 You can eat ‘Dudhi Halwa’.
 Kheer and Porridges.
 Add ‘tadka’ of garlic in your Daal/Sabzi.

2. Seeds

fenugreek seeds

Why Seeds?

They are densely packed with nutrients and best known Galactogougue.

What to Eat?


Fenugreek Seeds
• Fennel Seeds
• Sabja Seeds/Kukumrai
• Poppy Seeds (KhusKhus)
• Cumin Seeds
• Black Sesame Seeds
• Garden Cress Seeds
• Flax Seeds

How and How Much to Eat?

We think you will get all your answer, in this mini and detailed posts of ours, 7 seeds that do wonders for breastfeeding mothers.
Some indirect ways to eat these seeds can be seen below.

Fun Ways to Eat:

 While cooking ghee-cooked white rice, you can add cumin in it
 All other seeds can be roasted and powdered, Keep it handy, add to your milk (Kheer), soups and porridges

3. Milk

milk

Dairy

Why Milk?

Dairy products are carb-rich but they contain the ‘good fat’. Also, it is full of protein that can broaden one’s body muscle mass.

Type of Milk to Drink:

A2 Cow Milk is the best of all. You should be drinking Non-skimmed or Full-fat milk to make baby put on weight. Non-skimmed milk means the milk with Malai (milk fat).

What to do if I am Lactose Intolerant?

If you are lactose intolerant (i.e. you cannot digest milk and other dairy products easily) then you might want to drink goat’s milk. Also you should try drinking warm milk as it is easy-to-digest.

When to Drink?

Even non-skimmed cannot help with weight gain until you consume at least 2 glasses of milk, every day. You can drink one glass in the morning and the other one in the evening or night. You can make use of this milk in kheers/porridges.

Fun Ways to Drink Milk:

Do you also find the smell of milk ‘funny’? All the haters of milk know what we mean. So for you here’s are some fun ways to drink milk-
 Mix honey in milk. Honey’s also a healthy fat.
 If you are not a big fan of honey, then mix date syrup or dried date powder in it!
 Kheer: Garden Cress Seeds i.e. Aliv Kheer, Suji/Samolina Kheer, Badam/Almond Kheer

4. Ghee

desi ghee

Why Ghee?

Homemade Desi Ghee i.e. clarified butter is rich in DHA, which is very important for baby’s brain development. It improves the quality of mother’s milk. Do not avoid Ghee to avoid your weight gain, remember side effect of these foods can be treated after exclusive breastfeeding and with regular exercises. Your baby’s development is dependent on you during the first 6 months.

Which Type of Ghee is Healthy?

Home-made Desi Ghee. (Preferably made from A2 Cow Milk)

Fun Ways to eat Ghee:

Since ghee contains both saturated and non-saturated fat, we won’t ask you to consume it excessively. You could:
 Drizzle a spoon or two of ghee on your Kheer, Glass of Milk, Daal, Rice and Roti, etc.
 You could eat, ‘Gazar Ka Halwa’. Carrot could also help your baby gain weight without much effort.
 If you don’t like the ghee-dripping, Gazar Ka Halwa, go for ‘Dry Fruits Ladoo’ (Dry Fruits Sweets) that are made of desi ghee.

5. Banana

one half peeled banana

Why Banana?

Banana helps baby put on weight taken through your milk. It’s least allergen and contains loads of nutrients. Hence it is also best First Food for your baby.

How Many?

Eat just 2 bananas a day. Elaichi banana is the best type.

Fun Ways to Eat Banana:

 Drink Banana Smoothies, in place of caffeine beverages.
 Stop eating bread and jam. Instead of the jam, spread butter/chocolate spread on your bread and sandwich slices of banana in it.
 At times, you can eat the delicious ‘banana with milk’ in a bowl. In addition to banana, you could also add fruits like Papaya, Mango, and Pineapple in it.

6. Whole Wheat and Grains

whole grain

Whole Grains

Why Whole Wheat and Grains?

They are high in calories and carbohydrate-packed food. They are ideal for a healthy wealth gain, the Indian way. They are fiber-rich.

What to Eat?

• Wheat
• Oats
• Ragi
• Bajara/Jowar

Best Way to Take Whole Grains for Breastfeeding

Here comes our Indian traditional way of lactation-foods in to picture.
The porridges!
Yes, Why Indians Believe Porridge is the Best for Lactating Mothers?
It’s easy to digest, contain galctogoues and easy to have, quick to make.
Way to making porridges for Lactating mothers
Make sprouted grain flour. Roast the flour dry on heat for 5 minutes, add desi ghee and fry it for 5 minutes without burning it. This is our base material ready, now either add Dates/Almonds and make Kheer or add cumin seeds and garlic and make a tasty soup.
Same flour can be used for making dosa, thalipith, roti.

7. Nuts and Dry Fruits

almonds for baby

Why Nuts and Dry Fruits?

Your baby can put on healthy weight if you would take in, nuts and dry fruits. They are completely filled with calories. They lower bad cholesterols in the body and provide immense energy to it.

What to Eat?

• Soaked Almond
• Soaked Walnuts
• Dates (Use them instead of Sugar/Jaggery)
• Apricots
• Pistachios
• Raisins
• Dried Figs (Anjeer)

Fun Ways to Eat Nuts and Dry Fruits:

 Give yourself a treat! By eating Anjeer Sweets, Dry Fruit Ladoos, Dates Sweets etc.
 You can make yourself ‘Dry Fruit Mix’
 Drop some pieces of nuts on your daily glass of milk with honey/banana and make yourself homemade muesli
 Or, you could simply all the desired dry fruits in your daily glass of full-fat milk
 You can also give rich taste to your Pulao, by adding dry fruits and nuts in it

8. Green Vegetables

fenugreek leaves

Why Green Vegetables?

Since you will be eating all kinds of fat-rich food, the green vegetables will help in easing its digestion. If not digested, how the fat would get instilled in your breast milk, then?

What to Eat?: Best Green Vegetables for Breastfeeding Moms

• Fenugreek Leaves (Methi) (Best Galactogogue)
• Dill Leaves
• Moringa Leaves (Drumsticks leaves) (Check our blog for details on Health benefits of Moringa)
• Spinach
• Green Beans
• Bottle Gourd (Galactogogue) (Explore our blog for more details on Bottle Gourd)
• Pointed Gourd
• Teasel Gourd
• Green Yard Long Beans

9. Chicken

lemon herbs chicken breasts

Why Chicken?

For muscle building, all the gym freaks love to eat chicken. Chicken skin contains high protein, calories and yes fat too. Hence, try to have chicken with skin.

Best Ways to Eat Chicken:

 Roasted Chicken breasts are easy to make. Instead of marinating them overnight, you could simply cook the chicken in a frying pan. Add garlic, rosemary and lemon! That’s it. Flavourful and healthy.
 Avoid eating deep fried chickens
 Remember: Don’t eat the spicy and masala-loaded chicken curries

10. Eggs

eggs for baby

Why Eggs?

Eggs are a must have foods among athletes. They eat to gain weight so that they could improve their athletic ability.

Brown Eggs [OR] White Eggs?

Go for whole white eggs.

Best Way to Eat Eggs:

2 Boiled eggs in breakfast.

Lack of Breast Milk Supply

If you think that your breast milk is not nutritive….
Then first you must know is, there’s no such thing as ‘quality breast milk’. Your breast milk is always rich with nutrients. If you don’t eat healthy foods, your body makes the milk from your reservoir. Hence, you should not worry about the ‘quality’ nor the ‘quantity’ of your milk supply. Then you may ask that why have such foods? You need your body to have enough nutrient reservoir then only the mom and the baby both will be healthy.

Tips for Healthy Breastfeeding

“Frequent Breastfeeding- Is the keys to increase lactation and baby’s weight”
o Milk is produced by the mammary glands of moms’ breasts.
o After each feed, the milk gets emptied in our milk ducts and hence the glands start producing milk for the next round of feed.
o The more often your empty your mammary glands, the faster would be the milk production. Also higher fat content would be present in the milk then.

Some other ways to increase your lactation capacity are:

o Feed your baby equally from both of the breasts.
o Massage your breasts every day, so that your milk storage capacity also increases.
o And eat the foods that we mentioned above- i.e. Galactogogues and certain seeds.
o Magic of mother’s touch

“Relation between Mothers touch and your baby’s weight”

hands mom and baby
Close skin-to-skin touch between a mother and a baby is essential.
 During breastfeeding, a baby’s touch stimulates milk ducts. This is body’ natural way to increase milk supply. It works as a signal to your brain to make more milk.
 A baby feels secure and comforted under his mother’s arms. This way, his psychological and physiological (i.e. developments of brain and body) both are positive.

Things every new mother should do daily with her baby:

 Bathe her regularly: only mothers touch makes her feel safe!
 Give her a body massage: She enjoys it.
 Talk to her: she is listening!
 Sing her lullabies: She loves it.
 Let her play on your laps: needed for bonding
 Try to make her asleep on your shoulders.
Hence we can conclude that the time that you spend with your baby, is as important as food diet plan made for his baby’ weight gain.

Disclaimer: Please note, though after a detailed study and based on personal experience, this blog is written by a non-medical professional mother, hence should not be treated as a medical advice. Before making any impactful changes in your diet, please consult with your certified breastfeeding consultant/doctor.

When is Baby Weight Loss Expected?

Your baby must have been weighed by the doctors immediately after birth. It is quite natural for babies to lose birth weight after that. So for how long should you consider it ‘normal’? : [2-3 days only]
After the completion of this period, they would start gaining back their birth weight (excluding water weight) in:
[3-4 weeks approximately] So all together you WON’T have to worry about your baby’s weight, for up to: [1 month after birth.]

How Does the Food You Eat Affect Your Baby’ Weight?

Till you breastfed him, your health and your baby’s health are intertwined with each other. Here’s how: The type of food we eat (like sweet, sour, spicy, or salty etc.) they subtly change the flavor of breast milk. Not entirely, but in a negligible way. This is an imperative indication that the nutrients of our choice of food, passes into our babies through breast milk. (Experts debate on this point)

Reasons of Low Weight in Babies

For an infant, the sole, rich source of nutrition is the mother’s breast milk. Loss of baby’s weight could be due to multiple reasons, but….
Two of the most common reasons behind babies’ weight loss are:
1. Lack of calorie intake in Mother’s diet.
2. Lack of breast milk supply.
And we are concentrating on both of them in our article.

Lack of Calorie Intake

Even after regular feeding, is your baby’s weight is not increasing, then maybe you eat fewer calorie foods in your daily diet. We understand you want to lose your postpartum weight ASAP but….
You should have calorie-rich foods so that your baby gets calories. As unused calories only turn into fat. And subsequently fat would increase your baby’s weight. Also if you balance the diet with fiber-rich greens, you will not put on the unnecessary weight.
This is why fat-rich foods are necessary for breastfeeding mothers.
But, aren’t fats bad for the body?
No, not really, there are two types of fats:
• Good Fat
• Bad Fat
Here, we are going to tell you about all the good fat containing healthy foods.
What does good fat mean?
It means the body essential fats, which remove the bad fats and bad cholesterols from our body.
For instance: Dark Chocolate contains good fat. Simple Chocolates contains bad fat.
If right after the birth only, your baby’s weight is lower than the average, in that case also you should eat foods filled with good calories.
On growing up underweight babiescan get afflicted with diabetes, obesity and poor brain development. If you are a mother of such baby, our only advice for you is that don’t overdo things in worry. Remember, what passes through you, goes into him. So eat these weight increasing foods in a balanced way.

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About Author

Sapana

An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.

30 Comments

  1. Avatar

    My mother-in-law gave me a lot of porridges and gruels when I was breastfeeding my baby. It really helps. Also you can just gallop it. increased fluid intake…

  2. Avatar

    My baby is drinking milk..he is 4 month and he playful while I’m feeding him..now he doesn’t gain weight..what to do.?

    • Avatar

      My baby is not drinking milk..he is 4 month and he playful while I’m feeding him..now he doesn’t gain weight..what to do.?

      • Sapana

        Hi Abhirame,
        First of please do not think negatively, as negative thinking and stress are the biggest culprit affecting breastfeeding mom’s health.
        Do not force the baby for feedings. You must talk to his pediatrician. Sometime small health issues which go unnoticed are reason behind the baby refusing feeds.
        e.g. mouth ulcer, constipation etc.

  3. Avatar

    My baby is 8 months now n is still breastfeeding but i did not take any calcium protein r iron rich food !!! I focused on weight loss n took jst 5 chapattis n a glass of milk in my diet
    Now wht should i do
    My baby is 7 kgs
    N i think i could
    My bones n back start aching toward the end of d day
    N i feel tired easily

    Plzz recommended me a diet to increase my n my babys calcium level

    • Sapana

      Hi Lubna,
      I assume you have already started the solid foods for your baby? I remember my doctor told me, if you dont have enough calcium in your food during the breastfeeding then the calcium for your storage is used in milk and hence it mostly affects you.
      1. For Baby: Give your baby all healthy baby foods. You should still continue breastfeeding as the animal milk is not good before baby turns 1yr old. For Calcium through solid foods: Finger Millets, Almonds, Fish and Spinach are very good and safe sources of calcium. Yogurt is safe for babies but dont feed sour yogurt and start in small amount to make sure the baby digests it easily. Do not feed these calcium rich foods before baby turns 1 year old: Cow Milk/Sesame seeds/Soya/Tofu as they are common allergens.
      2. For you, Just milk isn’t enough, as you must have read the Vit D is needed for absorption of calcium. Weight loss diet doesn’t mean eat less, it means eat more greens and fibrous foods. Anyways now rather than weight loss, I think you should focus on energy foods, Eat dates n almonds every day. Take Protein rich diet like bean sprouts, meat, whole wheat. Sunlight and Mushrooms for Vit D. Spinach kind of greens as your protein intake needs to get digested.

  4. Avatar

    Woww..such an awesome article..as i was so worried about many things..but after reading this im very satisfied.my whole problems are solved through this article..thanks a lot

  5. Avatar

    I really needed these. Thank you so much for sharing! It’s moat of what i needed to know. This will help a lot with helping my newborn baby to gain weight!

  6. Pingback: How to know if your Baby is Dehydrated? | GoMama 24/7

    • Sapana

      Hi Iddrisu,
      Please note, every baby is unique and though we all follow the growth chart, some kids have different pace and different times of milestones.
      You should continue breastfeeding and talk to doctor about when is it right time to start solids for her.
      Sometimes, doctors recommend to start solids when baby turns 5 months old, depending on kid and mom’s health.
      When you will start solids to her, select first foods carefully, go for easy to digest and energetic foods like Banana, Sweet Potatos etc.
      Dont start cows milk yet, Dont feed water until baby is on exclusive breastfeeding. Many parents feed water to their kids when they are exclusive breastfeeding which is one of common culprit of low weight in babies.
      Again, there is nothing like weight only measure of health of your baby.
      Follow the diet given in the post as long as you are exclusively breastfeeding the baby and even after that as much as you can till baby turns 2yrs old.
      Stay happy. Relaxed mom breastfeeds better than a stressed mom. 😀

  7. Avatar
    Payel Banerjee on

    Hi, my baby is 39days old. Her birth weight was 2.8kgs. she lost weight in the initial days and weighed 2.6kgs. post that she started to gain weight. She weighed 3kgs when she completed one month and have not gained weight since then. She had cough and cold for a few days in between.

    • Sapana

      Hi Payal,

      Usually babies do lose weight in first few days then they start to gain. So first drop in weight should have been as normal.
      But then baby should keep gaining weight at a constant rate and should reach double the birth weight in 5-6 months. You should consult pediatrician and also talk to breastfeeding consultant too.

  8. Pingback: How Much Weight Should a Baby Gain in 6 Months? | GoMama 24/7

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