Doctors strongly recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months of their life to guarantee maximum benefits. Breast milk offers all the right nutrients needed for a baby’s growth and development.
Over the course of breastfeeding your baby, breast milk changes in its chemical composition in response to a baby’s developmental needs, one’s feeding schedule, your current health, and your diet.
If your milk supply is low, there are natural ways to boost production such as adjusting your diet and incorporating more beneficial herbs and vegetables. In the Philippines, malunggay is considered a super food that helps address this specific concern, and numerous malunggay recipe ideas can be explored to add variety to one’s diet.
Aside from providing adequate nutrition to growing babies, breastfeeding is highly recommended, because it is one of the best ways for mothers to bond with their babies.
Challenges of breastfeeding
While mothers are encouraged to breastfeed, not all are able for a number of reasons. Some of the most common challenges that mothers face when breastfeeding are:
- Low milk supply
- Engorgement of the breast, which is very painful
- Plugged duct(s). Tender and sore lump in the breast caused by a milk duct that did not drain properly
- Sore nipples
- Cluster feeding and growth spurts. This is when the baby’s feeding becomes more frequent than normal. This can cause discomfort.
- Nursing strike. This happens when a baby suddenly refuses to breastfeed without reason after months of breastfeeding.
- Unable to be beside your baby the whole day (for working moms)
- Postpartum depression
- Judgement from people
How to boost milk production
When it comes to low milk supply, this can be very frustrating for a mother. To help boost milk production, one recommendation is to increase the calorie intake by 450 to 500 kilocalories (kcal) of healthy food calories per day.
Aside from increasing calorie consumption, here is a list of recommended food that breastfeeding moms can eat to improve their breast milk production:
- Calcium rich food such as milk, salmon, broccoli, almonds, tofu
- Fruits and veggies
- Fiber such as whole grains and oats
- Unsaturated fat such as avocado, peanut butter, cashew, nuts
One superfood that is always recommended to Moms would be Moringa, also known as malunggay, to help boost their milk production. It contains key vitamins and minerals, as well as essential amino acids and glycosides, that are beneficial to one’s health.
In the Philippines, malunggay is often used as natural medicine, and is incorporated into many dishes because it grows abundantly and is budget-friendly. It is also added to soups, snacks, and even desserts. There are numerous malunggay recipe ideas that have been shared and passed down from family to family.
Malunngay is said to double a mother’s breast milk supply. Since moringa leaves are a natural galactagogue which is a substance that increases the flow of a mother’s milk, drinking or eating more of this while breastfeeding doubles the milk supply.
This was cited in a study made by The Philippines Journal of Pediatrics which stated the findings of five scientific studies examining moringa and it’s impact on breast milk supply.
You can try to boost your own milk supply through natural means. Here are some malunggay recipe ideas that are great for your next meals and snack.
Malunggay and Corn Soup
This hearty soup is great for those rainy afternoons and lazy days at home.
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 3 pieces corn, grated
- 2 bunches malunggay leaves (moringa)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- salt, to taste
- Heat water or chicken stock until it simmers.
- Add the onions and grated corn, and let it simmer again for 10 minutes or until the corn is cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the malunggay leaves and turn off the heat immediately.
Chicken and Malunggay Soup with Coconut Milk
This creamy dish hits all the right spots.
- 2 large chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cups malunggay leaves
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-sized knob ginger, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced
- 2 kaffir lime leaves torn
- 2 to 4 bird’s eye chilies, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable cooking
- 4 cups chicken bone broth
- 2 cups coconut cream
- Patis (fish sauce) to taste
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Saute the garlic, ginger, onion, chilis, and lemongrass until fragrant.
- Add the chicken strips and cook until no longer pink.
- Add the kaffir lime leaves. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Pour in the broth. Season with fish sauce. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is done.
- Pour in the coconut cream.
- Add the malunggay leaves, pressing them down into the liquid. When the soup boils, count two minutes then turn off the heat. Don’t overcook the malunggay leaves unless you want them to turn bitter.
- Adjust the seasonings and serve at once.
This is one of the delicious malunggay recipe ideas that can be made in less than 5 minutes!
- 1/4 cup fresh malunggay leaves (can be substituted with 1 tablespoon of malunggay powder)
- 1 piece banana
- Juice of 2 oranges
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
- Combine all ingredients in a blender. Set on high speed for 30 seconds.
This is something that you can also pair with your malunggay smoothie on a daily basis.
To activate the yeast:
- 1 sachet instant Yeast 7g
- 350 ml lukewarm Water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 500 grams white flour
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 90 grams shortening
- Handful of dried malunggay leaves
- 1 tbsp oil for greasing the bowl
- 1 cup breadcrumbs for coating
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, then add sugar and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- In a separate large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, warm water, salt, dried malunggay leaves, and shortening until well combined. Add the yeast mixture and mix again. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour.
- Kneading of dough: The dough can be kneaded by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook. To test the dough if it is ready, pinch a piece off and stretch it into a square. The dough is ready if it is elastic enough to be stretched into a translucent sheet of dough. If it tears, continue kneading.
- Rising of dough: Grease a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl with cling film and let the dough rise to about twice its size.
- After dough has risen, punch down the dough to release air that may be trapped in the center and knead again to redistribute the yeast.
- Roll each piece of dough into a rectangular sheet and then roll the sheet into a log, about 20 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Let the dough rest for an hour.
- Using a dough cutter or a sharp knife, cut the log into 1 inch thick pieces. Then roll each piece in breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray with the cut side up, about 2 inches apart and let it rest again for an hour. Preheat the oven at 180C.
- Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until the rolls become lightly toasted.
- Place the rolls on the cooling rack for 10-20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Breastfeeding may be a challenge for some moms, especially when they have low milk supply. But with these malunggay recipe ideas, you should be able to increase your milk supply in no time.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.