Updated: May 11, 2020
I've been recently asked by a mom how she could be sure to have enough milk for her daughter once giving birth. This is a fear many moms-to-be deal with the closer they are to their due date and there are lots of great lactation consultants out there that will be more than happy to support you in finding a rhythm and exploring the best techniques before birth and during the immediate postpartum (see the Birth Network Directory). This article doesn't want by any means to replace their wisdom, on the contrary it is meant to give you some more tools.
The easier answer to the question would be following a lifestyle & nutrition advices that are supportive since the beginning of your pregnancy; in fact, Ayurveda acknowledges the relevance of nourishing foods, liquids and thoughts during pregnancy to ensure both your's and baby's wellbeing and strength.
The adequate breast milk production in terms of quantity and quality is a direct consequence of a good Vata management and proper functioning of your agni (metabolic principle) at a deeper level. Therefore, practices that calm your mind and ground you (i.e. nadhi shodana, brahmari pranayama, meditation and positive affirmations, light self oil massage, enough sleep at the proper time, regular lifestyle) are the base you build up a solid house.
Next to that, good quality and properly prepared food (i.e. easy to digest and cooked food, in season, aligned with the state of your doshas) needs to be introduced regularly in your diet and your capacity of absorbing the nutrients needs to be ensured. An Ayurvedic Physician or a Practitioners can of course guide you through this process and may advise you some herbs when needed.
What if this preparation did not take place? Good news is that during the Sacred Postpartum Window you would be able to receive deeper and on a faster pace any healing actions. There are tonics and old remedies that can be taken safely after your baby is born and this is one of those I recommend:
Things you need for 6 weeks supply:
10 tablespoon of fennel seeds
5 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
1 medium glass jar
1 thermos (1lt)
Mix the seeds together and store in small jar glass; use as directed below:
Day 1-3 after birth: 1-3 tablespoons of the mix per 950 ml of pure water
Day 4-42: 1 teaspoon of the mix per 2 litres of pure water
Put the amount of mixed seed suggested in a 1 litre thermos
Pour 950 ml of boiling water over the seeds and steep at least 5 min before drinking
Enjoy warm through the day and/or night (about 6 mugs)
When the thermos is empty, repeat the process (pour another litre of boiling water over fresh seeds)
The strong version (1-3 tablespoon per 950ml) is meant to stimulate the production of breast milk during the first 3 days. Once breast milk is flowing well and is adequate for the baby, switch to the weak version of the sweetwater tea.
The weak version (1/2 teaspoon per 950ml) is very hydrating, helps reducing acidity (fennel) and gives gentle warmth and rejuvenation support (fenugreek). Both herbs are supportive for the digestion of the mom that tends to be weakened by labor and needs to be supported during postpartum.