Good morning ladies,
I’m on a mission. A mission to keep up my milk supply. Its been four months already and I want to continue to exclusively breastfeed for as long as possible.
Guess whose on my lap feeding just now? My son Meelo Tiger, happily munchin away.
We all heard of “breast is best” but I’m by no means implying that every mother should give the breast as some ladies simply can’t – full stop. Motherhood is all about what’s best for mum and baby and alike nutrition overall – what works for one, doesn’t work for another. So all that – “mums must” nonsense by site, let’s begin…
Breast milk works on a supply and demand basis, meaning the more you nurse your baby, the more milk is being produced. Well, that sounds good in theory but let’s take sleep deprivation, too little water or inadequate food intake (we often forget about ourselves, don’t we) and/or stress in general into the equation and the system gets out of balance. More so, as our babies grow, so does their appetite – meaning mums need to produce even more of the “golden liquid”. You ladies know what I’m talking about, especially when your partner thinks its a good idea to discard milk even if a few millilitres “only”.
Below is my list of milk making essentials. Focus here are foods and supplements rather than e.g. techniques.
My number 1.
So obvious but easily forgotten.
Water needs are based on multiple factors such as your metabolism and environmental factors. I personally try to have about 3 litres a day but if you’re less thirsty don’t force yourself. Drinking to satisfy thirst is said to be sufficient for most mum’s to stay hydrated.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that oats are one of the most popular foods to increase milk supply. Oats contain proteins, vitamins and minerals. They are high in manganese, iron, zinc, calcium and B-vitamins which help to level hormones (!) and increase energy (!).
Oats are also high in soluble fiber (decreases bad cholesterol) and beta-glucan, a type of fiber prominent in oats is thought to raise the levels of the breastfeeding hormone prolactin. More so, the idea of sitting down in peace and quiet and eating a warming bowl of porridge for instance is relaxing in itself and therefore aiding letdown. Let’s be honest though, how likely is the ladder case going to be?
I ate porridge for breakfast and made lactation cookies with an oat base (besides lots of other nutritional masters) in the first few weeks post-partum. I believe they did what they are meant to do, especially in the beginning when my milk supply hadn’t been established yet. Nonetheless, bearing in mind that most of the calories in oats are derived from carbs (mainly starch) I started to replace larger quantities of oats with small ones, meaning instead of big bowls of porridge I would go for homemade oat tea or have a glass of oat milk instead.
Other lactogenic foods are asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, watercress, beet and dark leafy greens, apricots, green papayas.
Lactogenic herbs and spices include turmeric (also anti-inflammatory), basil, caraway and ginger.
Garlic which can be beneficial for some didn’t work for me as it caused tummy upset and bloating.
Watch out for peppermint, sage, thyme, black walnut or oregano. These herbs can decrease milk supply and are often used by weaning mothers.
Mmmmm, these goodies are not only super delicious but also super nutritious. Rather than buying them (think about all the preservatives) I like to make my own. Besides oats, my version includes flaxseed, coconut oil, lots of cinnamon, egg, salt, water and brewers yeast. I also like adding superfoods such as goji berries and raw cacao but you can of course add whatever you fancy.
Brewers yeast is derived from the fermentation of beer. It’s believed to be a herbal galactagogue and used by nursing mums to help make more breast milk.
The yeast is a source of amino acids, B-complex vitamins and minerals. I cannot stress B- vitamins enough as they combat fatigue and help fighting baby blues.
I use Solgars Powder and either mix it with water, add it to salads or sprinkle it over yoghurt.
Fenugreek, a herb, is another galactagogue. I use Holland & Barrets capsules (lowest dosage).
Weleda nursing tea
The tea is a blend of 100% organic herbs that support lactation and soothes digestion. It contains fenugreek, anise, fennel and other organic herbs.
I’ve been taking chlorella for a long time. With regards to breast feeding it can improve the quality of the milk. It purifies the milk of toxins and enhances it’s immunity-building properties. There are many brands out there but my favourites are Naturya and Organic Burst.
Happy milk making
Love, Anna X