1/9/2021 0 Comments
Breastfeeding: often the most natural and yet complicated journey for a woman and her baby. Today, I want to talk about the quality of your breastmilk and how that can be elevated to further benefit your baby’s development. We’re going beyond lactation cookies here (although, sign me up for some of those too). Let’s take a deep dive into the production of highly nourishing breastmilk through the use of breastfeeding superfoods.
Many of these suggestions are supported by The Weston A. Price Foundation, a not-for-profit nutrition organization that advocates for traditional foods and their scientifically proven use to support health. Below are a few of the recommendations given by WAPF to support pregnant and nursing women:
“These recommendations are scientifically geared to nourish a nursing mother with all of the minerals, enzymes, immune factors, vitamins, antioxidants and fat soluble activators she needs for herself and her baby,” (Super Nutrition for Babies, 2018).
But wait… there’s more!
There should be specific attention paid to the amount and kinds of fats in your diet, particularly when breastfeeding. Breastmilk is made up of mostly saturated fats and cholesterol. Much of baby's brain tissue is also composed of fat and to support optimal brain development, adequate fat is required in mom’s diet. Focus on incorporating a variety of fats, like grass-fed butter, eggs, cheese and meat from pasture-raised animals (when/if available to you). Medium chain triglycerides in the form of coconut oil or coconut milk feed probiotics and support thyroid health. And then, of course, clasic fat sources like oily fish, nuts and seeds will also provide you with those essential fatty acids.
Avoid consuming too many highly processed fats, like seed and vegetable oils. Outdated messaging can still be heard circulating, for some reason, leading some people to believe that these oils are not only ok to consume, but good for you. That is far from the truth. They are extremely inflammatory and can be a source of disease-causing free radicals. Look for oils that are cold-pressed and unrefined. Great examples of these are coconut, avocado and olive oil.
Now let’s talk carbohydrates. It probably isn’t surprising to know that you should be eating a variety of green vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains and some high quality starches. They are full of nutrients and fibre and don’t cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar. When talking fibre, look for some good resistant starch sources, like cooked and cooled potatoes and green bananas. Beans and legumes are another good source, but ensure they are properly soaked and cooked to remove any lectin. Resistant starches resist being digested, but feed our good gut bacteria.
Of course, the diet described above is the ideal scenario, but we can’t always get those foods in, even though we know they’re important, because…. life. To offset this, you can of course use supplements to fill in any gaps. I want to preface this list by saying that you should always work with your personal healthcare team before starting any supplement regime to make sure they are right for you. That said, here is a list of supplements you may wish to explore to optimize your breast milk production and overall health as a nursing mama:
And there you have it! The ideal foods to incorporate into your diet when breastfeeding. Being a mom is hard, and at the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can. So if this doesn’t seem doable to you, if you’re just not there yet, I encourage you to pick one or two items that you could see yourself incorporating into your daily life and start there! Small changes can go a long way when it comes to the long-term health of you and your baby.