Breastfeeding and Diet: A Guide to Lactation and Nutrition

breastfeeding-nutrition-and-diet

Bread and butter were my…well… bread and butter in the early days of being a new mum. It was easy to forget to take care of myself; and worrying about my diet came somewhere on the list after baby, baby, sleep, baby, brush teeth. I felt incredibly lethargic and exhausted all the time; this is somewhat normal when caring for an infant, but it gets so much worse if you’re not eating well. Your body needs a lot of energy in order to make milk and cope with the demanding routine of being a mum.

Oh yes. I hear you say. I’ll just put my perfectly behaved baby in the freshly cleaned high chair and they’ll just sit there quietly while I whip up my grilled salmon, sautéed rocket and quinoa salad with a drizzle of lemon juice and parsley garnish.Yeah right!

I tend to open my kitchen drawer, pull out a utensil and think, ‘what the hell is this for?’ So we’ve put together some essential information about the vitamins and minerals new mums need and ways to easily incorporate them into your diet.

Phytoestrogens are plant-based chemicals that have similar properties as estrogen and are believed to promote breast tissue health and lactation. There are many foods that contain phytoestrogens and incorporating them into your diet will turn you into a milk-making mama machine!

Water

There is a reason that you get thirsty while you breastfeed. Your body is using that extra water to make breastmilk. It’s not necessary to drink excessive amounts of water but you should listen to your body, if you’re thirsty – have a drink (water not wine!). Leave water bottles all over the house so you always have water next to you. It’s too easy to become distracted and think you’ll grab some ‘in a minute’ and then it’s three hours later. You can also increase your liquid intake through decaffeinated herbal teas. We love Mama Body Tea Mama's Milk Lactation Tea.

Calcium

One cup of almonds has the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk. Put them in little zip lock bags in case you need to eat and run.

Omega-3 fats

These fats are believed to increase your milk supply, keep you full, feed your brain and help with dry skin (always an issue while breastfeeding). The best sources of these are linseeds, walnuts (throw them in the zip lock bag with your almonds) and salmon.

Grains

Breastfeeding mums – carbohydrates are your friend! Eating complex carbohydrates will give you energy throughout the day and fuel to make lots of milk for bub. Oats in particular are said to increase milk supply due to their high iron content. Make a bowl of oatmeal every morning or soak it in hot water overnight for easy instant oats for breakfast.

Iron

Spinach is an excellent source of calcium, iron, Vitamin K, A, and folate. Dark leafy green vegetables contain phytoestrogens. Throw baby spinach on your sandwiches, salads or stir-fries for instant milk-making goodness.

Lactation Cookies

Yum, yum and yum…whoever thought of lactation cookies is a genius. You can boost milk supply, get valuable vitamins and minerals, plus they’re cookies! Isn’t that reason enough? Lactation cookies include a variety of phytoestrogen rich ingredients designed to give you a dose of energy and nutrition in one hit. You can make your own or try our besting ready to go Lactation Cookies by Franjo's Kitchen.

If you’re feeling energetic and motivated then below is a simple salad recipe:

Phytoestrogen Salad

Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Linseeds/Flaxseeds
  • Brown rice
  • Salmon (fresh, canned or smoked – your choice)
  • Garlic (crushed or a jar of minced)
  • Coconut or olive oil (for dressing)

Method:

Cook a large amount of brown rice, separate it into portions and freeze. That way you just have to defrost it rather than cook it all the time. Go to the fridge, grab your rice, salmon and vegetables; chuck it all in a bowl. Mix the garlic and oil together and use as a dressing. You can add or remove any ingredients, but all of the above have the phytoestrogens thought to increase milk supply.

Phytoestrogen Snacks

Add your own easy energy recipes or tricks for boosting breastmilk in the comments section below



Also in Breastfeeding Resources

5 Easy Eco-Friendly Product Swaps for Parents
5 Easy Eco-Friendly Product Swaps for Parents

0 Comments

For the majority of us, consciously moving away from single use, non recyclable/biodegradable products is something we are actively committed to, but it can become overwhelming at times, especially working out where to start. While these easy eco-friendly product swaps aren't going to change the world overnight, they help us to play a small role in the greater good.

Read More
Mary Kate's Story: Breastfeeding after a tough labour and birth
Mary Kate's Story: Breastfeeding after a tough labour and birth

0 Comments

As a Child and Family Health Nurse and the second youngest of a large family all of whom were breastfed, Mary-Kate always intended to breastfeed her first child. A very long and challenging labour and birth and baby with a super-powered suck however made the road to successful, pain free breastfeeding a rocky one.
Read More
5 Self Care Tips for Breastfeeding Mamas
5 Self Care Tips for Breastfeeding Mamas

0 Comments

There is no doubt about it; breastfeeding is tough. It can take a huge toll on all aspects of your life, from your physical health right through to your mental and emotional wellbeing and even your relationship. Breastfeeding has the power to drain not only your boobs, but a big chunk of your life force. We get it. As breastfeeding mamas ourselves, we've been there. And we're here to tell you that there are ways to take care of your babies mama (AKA you) even when you're boobin' round the clock.

Read More