Benefits Of Fenugreek (Methi) For Breastfeeding Moms
As a breastfeeding mom, it is only natural to analyse everything in your diet given that you’re eating for two and that you are entirely responsible for your baby’s nutrition, well-being and development. Wondering whether your baby is eating enough, latching properly, whether you are producing enough milk, and whether there is anything more that you should include in your diet so that your baby stays healthy are all common points of concern that every mother wrestles with during her first few months of breastfeeding.
While the parenting community will always have questions surrounding topics such as whether breastfeeding better than formula, how to increase the flow of breast milk, does caffeine affect breast milk, and there are many things that new moms need to factor in in terms of their nutrition, certain herbs like Fenugreek (commonly referred to as methi in Hindi), offer lots of benefits for nursing mothers, a few of which have been detailed below.
Benefits of fenugreek for moms:
1. Increases the supply and flow of breastmilk:Fenugreek is a well-known galactagogue, a substance that promotes the supply and flow of breast milk during lactation. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan published a research paper on ‘Increasing Breast Milk Supply' and postulated the usage of fenugreek as a herbal galactagogue. Researchers have also found that fenugreek or methi has certain properties of phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals similar to estrogen.
While mothers generally produce enough milk for their babies by virtue of the feedback loop that is intrinsic to breastfeeding alone, the flow and supply of breast milk often depends on a number of factors, with the mother’s diet and hydration levels being chief amongst them.
2. Decreases the risk of postpartum anaemia:Fenugreek contains a high level of iron along with a lot of other essential nutrients like magnesium, vitamin B6, and manganese. Anaemia is a very common issue that Indian women tend to face and is caused due to low levels of iron and haemoglobin in the body. Your body automatically prioritises the needs of your child over your own and since iron is critical for the growth and development of your baby, your anaemia is likely to get worse during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Lower levels of iron commonly manifest as symptoms such as extreme fatigue after childbirth, weakness and irritability. These signs often go unnoticed by a new mom as her entire focus is on the well-being of her child. Fenugreek has been known to combat anaemia as it has significantly high mineral content. The herb is rich in iron, which naturally can be used to replenish iron deficiency.
3. Helps in reduction of PMS:
Aunt Flow rarely comes alone and when she comes visiting, she brings with her a few cramps, period-acne, mood swings, etc that collectively get clubbed under that hateful umbrella of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). Fortunately, fenugreek contains choline, a vitamin that has some unique anti-inflammatory properties. This herb also contains compounds like isoflavones and diosgenin that help ease PMS symptoms such as cramps and discomfort as these compounds contain estrogen-type properties.
4. Helps in fight constipation:While it is very common to experience constipation after delivery, it is not a pleasant experience at all. Fenugreek is high in fibre which helps keep your digestive system clean and bowel movements regular. Methi also helps combat other digestive issues thanks to its fibre and vitamin B components and prevents bloating that can take place as a side effect from prescribed postnatal medications as the body’s hormones start reverting to their normal levels.
5. Great for skin and hair:Fenugreek / Methi isn’t just great for new moms alone. There are some lesser mentioned benefits of this magical herb too like improved skin and hair health owing to the presence of intrinsic elements like potassium, protein, and lecithin that help in promoting stronger hair roots and stabilizing the hormonal levels.
Fenugreek is an amazing herb and needs to be included in your diet, especially if you’re a new mom. It is used in many cultures across the world. It can be had in a variety of forms from methi leaves, kasuri methi, methi dana / methi seeds, and can be eaten, cooked, raw, or soaked as well. You can include this herb in several foods that can be consumed daily too. One of the best ways of using it is in teas, dosas or sprinkling some in your salad.