Nutrition To Help With Breast Milk Supply
When you're breastfeeding, your body needs the right nourishment to ensure it produces milk. Although there is no easy way to become a milking machine, journalist & health coach, Laura Bond, has some advice on nutrition that will help your body with break milk production.
Diet and wellbeing do influence the quality of your breast milk. So what are the best foods to eat when you’re nursing?
Healthy fats and protein
You will need an extra 500 calories a day when you’re breastfeeding. Although it’s tempting to reach for empty carbs, try and opt for quality protein instead. One study showed that increasing the amount of protein in the diet increased the milk supply and consequently the size of the babies. Chicken is a good option since it’s rich in zinc. This mineral is crucial for a newborn infant and is often depleted in new mothers following the physical demands of childbirth.
Other good sources of protein include smoked salmon – rich in brain building omega-3s – along with boiled eggs, rich in B-vitamins for energy. When you’re doing everything one-handed, convenience is key; so try and have some eggs boiled and chicken cut up and ready to eat. Use the time when guests pop in to do some quick food prep. Looking after yourself is so important especially when you are trying to establish a good supply of breastmilk.
Porridge and Pints of Water
Making sure you’re hydrated is just as important as getting enough food. Your baby will be consuming between 1-2 pints of water through your breastmilk which needs to be replaced. This means drinking around 5 pints a day. As soon as your baby is napping make sure you refill a jug with filtered water, to ensure you are never thirsty during a long nursing stint. In Eastern cultures, the emphasis is often placed on soups and porridges for the nursing mother. Oats are particularly good for breastfeeding as they are known as a ‘galactagogue’ a food which can increase milk production. A warm bowl of porridge in the morning also provides slow-release energy and B vitamins. Try topping your porridge with nuts and seeds for some stress-busting magnesium plus a tablespoon of tahini.
Sesame seeds are another traditional food for increasing milk supply and are rich in calcium for your baby’s bones. Finally drink herbal teas made from fennel, fenugreek or dandelion (all renowned for building milk supply) and be mindful of your coffee intake. One a day is fine (and might feel compulsory in those early sleep-deprived weeks), but more than one cup could leave your baby wide awake all night – and you desperate the next day.
Laura Bond is a journalist, author and health coach. For more tips visit balancedbaby.co.uk @thebalancedbaby