Increase Your Breast Milk Supply with This Dairy-free Milk Tonic

Midwifery Today, Issue 136, Winter 2020.
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If you are a breastfeeding mother, an ample supply of nutritious breast milk is a top priority. I wouldn’t be surprised if you already have boxes of herbal lactation teas stockpiled in your kitchen pantry, queued for your ritual teatime. While boxed lactation teas are a great start, you can build up a higher quality supply with this delicious dairy-free milk tonic recipe.

Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of natural healing. It can help us achieve a balanced life through diet, lifestyle, herbal medicine, cleansing, and rejuvenation practices. According to ancient Ayurvedic texts, rasayanas (special rejuvenative foods) are necessary to build a postpartum mother’s vitality and breast milk supply after birth.

Rejuvenative milk tonics (think golden milk) have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Milk tonics are a synergistic combination of milk and herbs that work together to promote a deeper level of healing. In Ayurvedic pharmacology this is achieved through the use of an anupan, or vehicle, that carries the healing properties of the herbs to a specific body system. In this case, fresh almond milk is the carrier that delivers the healing qualities of the herbs directly to the reproductive system for efficient use.

Although Ayurveda does use fresh cow’s milk for its health and nutritional benefits, fresh almond milk is an excellent dairy-free alternative for those who can’t or choose not to consume dairy products. This healthy little nut is packed with the nutrients needed to nourish both you and your breastfeeding baby.

What Makes This Dairy-free Milk Tonic Good for Lactation?

Can you guess what the key ingredient in this dairy-free lactation tonic is? Surprise, surprise, it’salmonds! Not only are almonds one of Ayurveda’s top rejuvenative foods for postnatal vitality, studies also show that they help to increase the supply of breast milk among breastfeeding mothers (Rani 2016).

In addition to nutritive almond milk, the Indian spices of fenugreek, ginger, and turmeric are known to improve breast milk production. Studies show this triad of spices can increase your milk supply by a whopping 100% when taken daily after birth (Bumrungpert et al. 2018).

Food as Medicine

As you can see, this dairy-free milk tonic will improve the amount of breast milk available to your baby, making it a worthy addition to your postnatal diet, whether you are vegan or not. This recipe is just one example of how food can act as medicine in an Ayurvedic postnatal diet.

Now let’s cut to the chase and start making some sweet breast milk.

Mama’s Dairy-free Milk Tonic

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 dates (pitted)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions

  1. Soak almonds overnight and peel.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend on high for one minute or until well combined.
  3. Make fresh daily and drink warm for the first 40 days after birth.

References

  • Rani, A. 2016. “A Study to Assess the Effectiveness of Almond Powder on Lactation Among Postnatal Mothers in Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hospital for Women and Children, Chennai.” M Sc (Nursing) Diss., Madras Medical College.
  • Bumrungpert, A, et. al. 2018. “Effects of Fenugreek, Ginger, and Turmeric Supplementation on Human Milk Volume and Nutrient Content in Breastfeeding Mothers: A Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Trial.” Breastfeed Med 13(10): 645–50. doi:10.1089/bfm.2018.0159.

About Author: Ameya Duprey

Ameya Duprey, BCTMB, NAMACB, is a board certified Ayurvedic practitioner, massage therapist, and Ayurvedic postpartum doula. Her recently published postnatal cookbook Mama’s Menu: Ayurvedic Recipes for Postpartum Healing, guides new mothers on a culinary journey to postnatal rejuvenation through healing vegetarian recipes.

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