This page is specifically for Breastfeeding Mums. Let's focus on what YOU are eating in order to optimize babies health and happiness.
We all know about the positive aspects of breastfeeding but I want to go a little further into the topic on this page and talk about how the Mum's diet impacts directly on the quality of the milk and the direct effect that nutritional content has on the developing guts of the child, as well as its wider development in terms of body building nutrients.
After a baby is born we can almost watch the growth day by day as the body gets bigger and firmer and stronger. And the breastfed baby is totally dependent on the Mum's milk until he or she starts to have some solid foods, often around the six month mark. Even then, breast milk still provides very important nutrients for the growth and development of various body systems.
Don't underestimate the importance of the diet of the Mum. Breastfeeding is putting quite a strain on her own metabolism so its very important to keep focused on eating good quality foods at regular intervals.
My friend and colleague Patricia Hatherly has spent many years in the breastfeeding arena and I am giving you much of the results of her research and observations over the years, alongside my own experiences and of putting her guidelines into practice.
Breast milk will always contain the basics of what the baby needs, even if the Mum is not eating a good diet. But it may be lower in some vitamins and minerals and the fat content may not be optimal. The woman's body will provide the basics of what is needed, at her own body's expense.
A breastfeeding diet should be high in PROTEIN and COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATE and certain FATS
A breastfeeding diet should be low in SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES, ALCOHOL AND GMO INGREDIENTS
"(1) PROTEIN to provide the essential building blocks for the manufacture of milk and the maintenance of your well-being. Your protein intake should now be higher than it was in pregnancy.
To calculate what you need, take your ideal body weight in grams and add 20.For example, if your weight is 60kg, your protein intake (until your baby goes on to solids at six months), should be 80gms daily.
The ideal is to have FIVE SMALL SNACKS each day with some protein on each occasion (enough to cover the palm of your hand).
Protein foods include:
flesh foods - meat, poultry, fish
dairy foods - milk, cheese, yoghurt
eggs - best quality you can manage.. grain fed, open farm reared
legumes - beans: navy, kidney, soy, pinto, TOFU, lentils, chick peas
nuts and seeds - this includes nut butters such as tahini, macadamia etc
If you are breastfeeding vegetarian, it is important to combine your foods in such a way to ensure that you get the full complement of proteins. Good vegetarian combinations include: rice & legumes, wheat and legumes, wheat, nuts and milk, wheat, sesame and soybeans.
(2) COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATE, which, along with protein, helps to maintain an even blood-sugar level.
This helps to keep the sugar (lactose) level in your milk at levels that your baby can best tolerate, and therefore minimizes the chance of colic or reflux developing.
bread - preferably wholemeal or wholegrain, muffins, scones, pikelets, crumpets and crackers
cereals - those higher in complex carbohydrate often need to be cooked
rice - brown or wild are best because they contain more B vitamins
pasta - made from wheat, rice, buckwheat, millet or vegetables
vegetables - raw or lightly cooked
(3) FATS (MONO AND POLYUNSATURATED) to slow down transit time of the milk, thereby allowing your baby to feel satisfied for longer, and to help with maximising weight gain in your baby.
About 150 gms a week is considered to be an acceptable minimum gain. However, keep in mind that babies gain at different rates and often it is best to take a monthly average.
During your pregnancy, you will have laid down some extra fat stores around your hips.These will now be used up to provide extra energy for the breastfeeding. However, as these are largely short-chain (or saturated ) fats, it is important to make sure each day that some fats from nuts, seeds, grains and some from seafood are in the diet. The former are good for the skin (i.e. they help to minimize any tendency to nappy rash or cracked nipples) and the latter are important for central nervous system and brain development in your baby.
BREASTFEEDING DIET SHOULD BE LOW IN
(1) SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES, which tends to break down quickly to glucose (the body’s essential fuel) and tends to produce a milk higher in lactose. In the first 10-12 weeks, most babies are still adjusting to processing their entire nutrient intake via the digestive system. Certain enzymes and colonies of friendly bacteria need to be established and this takes time. If the baby has large levels of lactose to cope with it can easily lead to digestive upset (ie a tendency to vomit after feeds and/or to produce several dirty nappies a day of a very thin, runny consistency passed with lots of wind).
FRUIT in all its forms (including juice and alcohol) is best avoided in the early weeks and introduced when your baby is settled and is producing dirty nappies with the contents looking more like the consistency of whipped cream. There are 22 different forms of sugar. Check labels thoroughly for hidden sugars.
(2) ALCOHOL goes through the breastmilk and can affect the baby and interfere with a good supply of milk.
(3) GMO INGREDIENTS, PRESERVATIVES AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS AND COLOURS may go through the milk and little is known of their long-term effects on the baby. Check labels and try to stick to fresh, home-made meals. If you can afford it, think of buying organic foods.
Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed the baby using the mother’s milk. And, until your baby goes on to solid food at six months when he or she doubles their birthweight, they are totally dependent on your breastmilk for all calories. The nutritional demands on the lactating mother re, therefore, greater than when pregnant. Emphasis should be on protein, complex carbohydrate and unsaturated fats at the expense of simple carbohydrate, to ensure good weight gain in the baby and minimize any tendency to colic in the early weeks.
SAMPLE MENU PLAN
BREAKFAST OPTIONS * A cup of rolled oats porridge or 2-3 wheatflake biscuits. If dairy is well-tolerated, add yoghurt or milk. Rice, oat or soy (preferably organic) milks are other options.
* Toast with: baked beans, egg, savoury mince, sardines, avocado and cold roast meat or hard-boiled egg, cold roast meat and melted cheese
* Steak and kidney
* Lambs fry, bacon and sausages
* Grilled chops with tomato
* Rice or tofu protein patties
* Beverage: water, tea or coffee, or coffee substitute (dandelion is an excellent choice)
MORNING TEA OPTIONS
* A handful of nuts and seeds, choose from: (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, peanuts,macadamias, pepitas, sunflower or sesame seeds); check for sensitivities
* Nut butter on toast, crackers, rice cake or wholemeal crumpet or wedged into a piece of celery
* Tub of plain yoghurt or cheese and crackers
* Plain (wholemeal) or savoury (pumpkin, cheese) scone with butter
* Hommus on toast or crackers or corn chips
* Dips containing any of the following: egg, tuna, salmon, with avocado and/or home-made mayonnaise using a cold-pressed oil, to be eaten with crackers, corn chips or vegetables
* 2-4 slices wholemeal or grained bread or 1-2 bread rolls or pocket bread or 1-1 1/2 cups rice or noodles
* 1-2 slices cold meat (preferably roast), chicken, cheese, tinned fish or fish cakes
* 1-2 eggs (omelette or quiche)
* Home-made minestrone soup or “leftovers”
* PLENTY of fresh salad or lightly steamed vegetables
AFTERNOON TEA OPTIONS
Choose from the morning tea options, but don’t have the same choice; or, consider:
* Home-made: anzac biscuits, carrot cake, zucchini slice or muesli slice containing extra nuts and seeds (these to be made with no sugar [use golden syrup instead] and had with no icing; try a scrape of butter)
* 90-150 g lean red meat, diet mince, poultry or vegetarian meat substitute; or 180-300 grilled fish, or 2-3 eggs (omelette or quiche)
* one medium steamed or mashed potato or 1/2-1 cup rice, noodles or pasta or 1-2 slices of wholemeal or grained bread
* PLENTY of vegetables, either raw or lightly cooked
* Cheese platter after dinner with crackers and raw vegetables
* Yoghurt, custard or rice pudding
* Water is the best beverage, drink to satisfy thirst. It helps to have a jug handy when sitting down to breastfeed
* Try to maximize protein, complex carbohydrate and fat intake. The fats from grains and nuts and seeds are good for the baby’s skin; those from oily fish are good for the baby’s brain and central nervous system development
* Consume 1000mg to 1300mg of calcium-rich foods daily
* Try to eat five small meals a day to keep blood-sugar level steady
* Until your baby reaches three months, keep simple carbohydrate (that includes fruit in all its forms [especially alcohol] and anything from a tin or packet containing sugars) to a minimum.
* Reintroduce fruit into your diet after 10-12 weeks; but alcohol is not recommended.
CONTACT ME DIRECTLY IF YOU REQUIRE ANY FURTHER INFO!
This information kindly reproduced with the permission of Patricia Hatherly. See her book The Homoeopathic Physician’s Guide to Lactation
JUDES RELIABLES: Its tried and tested and biochemically sound... not to drink fruit juice or eat fruit as Patricia suggests. Sounds hard I know but I have seen it make such a difference to a colicky baby.. surely its worth trying ! Happy Mumming!
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