Proper nutrition while breastfeeding
There’s no denying it; your body is working extra hard during pregnancy. But how about after? If you choose to breastfeed, making breast milk will be a taxing process. Make sure you’re fueled accordingly. While it may be tempting to start losing the baby weight right away, know that you need more calories during this time, as your milk supply requires energy to make and needs nutrients to supply to baby. We’d suggest an extra 500 calories a day to meet these demands.
What to eat?
The foods you choose to eat directly impact your baby, as they make up the breast milk your body creates. It’s important to make sure you’re making nutrient-rich choices! Following a diet that keeps your hormones in check (link hormone balancing diet article) during this time will be extra helpful! Since your energy levels will need a boost, aim to include complex carbs in your daily diet for energy that lasts all day. Think sprouted grains and fresh fruit.
It’s also critical to be mindful of your fat sources. Lean on healthy fats like olive oil, flaxseed, avocados, and salmon. Avoid trans fats and limit your consumption of saturated fats. Too much of these last two and you can jeopardize the fat composition in the breast milk (read: not good for baby).
What to eat is important, but when to eat matters too! Remember to honor your body’s hunger signals. If you’re hungry, fuel up! You may find yourself way hungrier than usual and that’s okay. Respond to your cues so you can keep up with the day-to-day of postpartum, including making milk.
Eat your way to lactation
Odds are you’ve heard of lactation cookies by now. Surprised to see these words in the same sentence? Definitely not the norm, but hang tight. By tossing a few superfood ingredients in your basic cookie batter, you can eat your way to more milk. Typically you’ll want to include oats, which are a great source of saponins. These contribute to higher prolactin levels, a hormone responsible for milk production. Another key element is ground flaxseed, a healthy source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Below is a recipe for a lactation smoothie from What MJ Loves, which make for the perfect breakfast or snack while breastfeeding.
Oatmeal and Banana Lactation Smoothie
- 1 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup oatmeal
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1 tbsp brewer's yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey (or preferred sweetener to taste)
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend to desired consistency.
- Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg.