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Functional foods for post-partum mothers include galactagogues to enhance breast feeding and teas to soothe colic.
Over the years grandmothers from around the world have come to Brooklyn where I practice to help their daughters adjust during the newborn period. Here are some of the functional foods I have learned about that are used to help improve breast milk and help general healing for infant and mother.
Functional foods to help improve breast milk
Korea: Seaweed soup 3x/day for a month
China: Pig's feet soup daily
Pakistan: Almonds (no specific amount)
Iran: Almonds (no specific amount)
France: Green leafy vegetables daily
Israel: “Black” beer (ie, Guiness-like dark beers)
Ireland: A pint of Guiness daily
Sudan: Fennugreek tea and/or fennugreek pudding (in Sudan, it is served to mothers as a porridge; in the United States, it is available in capsule form)
Functional foods that aid healing
GermanyChamomile tea can be used to wipe the eyes of a baby with newborn conjunctivitis. A small amount of chamomile tea (1 ounce/day) also can be given to babies with colic to quiet symptoms. A soft cloth soaked in chamomile tea and placed on the sore nipples is also soothing for the mother.
Fennel tea is also helpful for an infant with colic. From 1 cup of brewed tea, 1 ounce/day can be given to the baby and the mother can drink the rest.
Philippines Guava leaf tea is used as an ablution for the perineal area after childbirth. A tea leaf is allowed to soak in hot water which is then poured over the perineum to help the healing process. Guava leaves are also used to soothe older boys after circumcision. The leaf is wrapped around the penis after the procedure and rinsed off after 1 or 2 days.
For a mother who is overdue (also from Germany) Raspberry tea will help induce uterine contractions. It is thought the tea might help bring on labor and mothers who are not ready to go into labor should not drink it at all.