what to eat to increase breastmilk

Breastfeeding Superfoods

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By Carolyn Tallents

 

If there are two things you can expect to feel when breastfeeding, its hungry and thirsty! Even though you’ve been “eating for two” for over 9 months now, your body is creating a whole new food supply for your little bundle and it is hard work.  

Making sure to eat and drink regularly with a new baby can be a challenge - you’re exhausted, your hands are full (all of the time) and taking care of yourself may not feel like a top priority. However, since your body needs fuel to produce breastmilk and important nutrients pass through to the baby, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Incorporating healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates in your meals and snacks can go a long way to aid in milk production, help keep your energy levels up and give your baby the vitamins and mineral they needs to get a great start in life.

Here is a list of 7 superfoods to replenish, recharge and nourish you and your baby while you’re breastfeeding:

Avocados – a source of healthy fat and B vitamins that will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Enjoy on toast, salads, sandwiches or eggs.

Eggs –high in protein, choline and other vital nutrients, enjoy for any meal or keep a few hardboiled eggs in the fridge for a grab and go snack!

Salmon – a great source of Omega-3’s and helps with brain function for both mom and baby. As a bonus it may help ward off postpartum depression.

Nuts & seeds – packed with protein, healthy fats and antioxidants, nuts and seeds are a great way to stay satisfied in between meals.

Spinach – everyone knows how important leafy greens are, but spinach is the winner for breastfeeding moms. It has what’s called phytoestrogens which aid in lactation and promote breast health.

Whole grains – healthy carbohydrates are critical for milk production and digestion. Enjoyed at any meal - try oatmeal for breakfast or quinoa or brown rice for a nutrient dense side.

Water – okay not a food, but it’s so important it needs to be included in the list. Water is essential for breastmilk production and experts say to have an 8oz glass of water every time to nurse to rehydrate.


Carolyn Tallents is an FPC instructor, pre & postnatal nutrition specialist, Women’s health coach, pre & postnatal personal trainer – and mom to a very active toddler.

For more information or to get in touch, you can reach her at Carolyn@CLTWellness.com.

How To Increase Your Milk Supply

 

I recently posted a video clip of my subzero freezer that is completely full of breastmilk on my instagram stories (It's Carolina by the way). Immediately I had ten messages from women who wanted to know how I was able to store away so much and still continue to feed baby Rags. Here is a post for you ladies who are curious to know what I do, personally, to keep my supply high. Just bear in mind that I am not an expert and to consult with a lactation counselor before making any changes. 

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1) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. I cannot stress this enough. A dehydrated body WILL produce less milk than a well hydrated one. Aim to drink at least 8 ounces during every feeding or pumping session (I probably average about double that to be honest). Get a nice reusable water bottle and keep drinking! 

2) I know it is tempting to go on a diet to lose that "baby weight" that's lingering BUT just know that your body is wise and is holding on to an extra 5-10 pounds pretty much as long as you continue to breastfeed. This doesn't mean you haven't lost the extra weight you put on during your pregnancy; you have extra breast tissue, milk, and fat stores that are essential to your body producing an adequate amount of milk. Simply continue to feed your body nutritious whole foods. Every meal should contain protein, fat, fiber and complex carbs. If anyone is interested in recipes or snacks ideas we can put that in a separate post! 

3) Let your baby nurse as much as possible. With my first baby I was told by our pediatrician to almost immediately put her on a 3-4 hour feeding schedule, which I did. We were both miserable; she was hungry and I wasn't able to build up a milk supply that was enough for her and breastfeeding became really challenging. I quit after three months with her and decided to do not take advice from our pediatrician when it came to breastfeeding. With my third baby I try to keep him with me as much as I can and I let him snack whenever he wants to. We often do at least one daily marathon feed where we spend a couple of hours in bed together (my preferred feeding method is side-lying) and he eats, falls asleep, wakes up to eat again, goes back to sleep, and eats again. 

4) Pump after almost every feed the first few weeks. This will signal your body to keep producing more milk even after your baby is satisfied. It is a total pain but the rewards are huge. I would pump immediately after every feed for about 10-15 minutes. Once you have established a strong supply, you can go down to pumping only after the last night feed and after the first morning feed (I currently pump before I go to bed at 10pm and around 6:30/7am and keep the pumping sessions to 20 minutes). Get a handsfree pumping bra so you can tend to your baby, eat or do work at the same time. Disclaimer: Experts will tell you this will lead to an oversupply so don't do this unless you want to continue to pump and store milk.

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5) The jury is out on this one but I am convinced these lactation bars increase my supply. I still am waiting for them to sponsor me! I eat one every morning during my morning pump session as I drink at least 20 ounces of water. 

Breastfeeding is a commitment and it is a full-time job the first couple of months. Keep in mind that before you know it your child will graduate Pre-K and you will have no idea where the time went. Please ask for support when you need it and know that we are always here for you!  

 

 

Make your Own Location Cookies

Lactation cookies are at the top of every new mom's snack list.  Whether your are breastfeeding or not, they are they are great to store for a few days in the fridge and grab when you are starving and feeding a hungry babe in the middle of the night.  Here's a simple recipe to make your own! We also like to mix and match the ingredients depending on what we have on hand.  Feel free to experiment. They are hard to mess up.  

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Lactation Support Cookies

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup of Raw Coconut Flakes (optional)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Butter (softened) 
  • 1 Cup of Natural Sweetener.  We love to do 3/4 Cup Honey + 1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Organic Eggs
  • 2 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips or Cacao Nibs
  • 1 Cup Walnuts 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  In a large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.   Combine the dry into the wet ingredients and mix well.  Scoop out heaping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10-minutes, or until golden brown.