It’s been quite the incredible, tiring, exhilarating and emotional few months! My babies are somehow, 3 months old. They're delicious, and I fall more in love with them every single day.
I really wanted to write some advice for mom’s that are pregnant and plan to breastfeed, those that are currently breastfeeding, or those that just want a smart read about the life of a new mama!
While I was pregnant, I didn’t stop reading books and articles about postpartum life, about breastfeeding, about healing naturally and so on. I did acupuncture for the first few weeks after giving birth to help me heal, calm my hormones down (they are a rollercoaster) and gain energy. No one really teaches you or can prepare you for what breastfeeding is all about. I will be very clear though - it is not for everyone! Yes, it is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and for your baby. “Breast is best,” as they say. It is special to have your baby on your chest all day. Every milliliter of milk is liquid gold. But some women choose not to, someone cannot for a variety of reasons, and this is ok!
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I told my doctor and midwife that I wanted to “try” nursing my twins. Twins are a whole other ball game, so my experience, unless you are a twin mama or twin mama to be will be a bit different than yours. Since my babies were born prematurely, they spent the first 5 weeks of life in the NICU. They were not home with me 24/7, so I started pumping right after I delivered them. I waited a few days to try and nurse them as they were way too premature to have the sucking reflex down, and the engorgement I experienced was reeeeeal. Ouch. I was pumping every 2 hours, 24 hours a day to ensure that my milk would come in and that I wouldn’t get mastitis. Once it was time to start teaching the babies how to suck, I was literally stuck in a chair for hours at a time. It’s very normal for babies to fall asleep while trying to nurse, as it’s hard work for them! Be patient. Nursing two at once is as precious as it is difficult but I tried my best, and having patience was really key. I have truly been blessed with more milk than I could have ever dreamed of, and 3 months down the line, I can still say the same thing. I did eat extremely healthy during my pregnancy and have been continuing to do so and am very careful with everything I put into my body as it goes straight to your milk. That being said, I have compiled for you a list of the healthiest foods to eat to nourish both you and your baby, and those that you should avoid. Of course, all babies are different, and trial and error is the only way to find out if something you are eating is bothering them, but there are a definitive few no-no’s on this list.
Happy nursing, mama!
To continuously have a generous milk supply, you need to empty your breasts at every feed. If baby does not empty both breasts, use a hospital-grade pump (they really are the best) to empty them both.
You need to increase your nutrition intake by about 500 calories a day. Trust me, you will be hungry. I am eating more now than I was during my pregnancy! Always nursing = always eating. Rest - even if baby sleeps for 15 minutes, try and sleep. Don’t forget about yourself as your precious milk can deplete of you of nutrients too. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins!
What to Eat?
Nuts, seeds, legumes, grains and meat/eggs if you are not vegan/vegetarian.
Examples: quinoa, buckwheat, millet, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, black beans, white beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas. Full of healthy fats, omegas, vitamins and minerals!
2. Galactagogues (foods that help increase breast milk production)
Fenugreek (I take 3 pills 1x day)
Fennel (tea or seeds)
Oatmeal (for breakfast, sneak it into your smoothies, pancakes, and energy balls)
3. Healthy Fats
4. What to Avoid!
I didn't drink any coffee during my pregnancy, and it just had to be something that I strangely craved! I was allowing myself 1 cup per day, but it definitely affected my milk and my very colicky babies, so no more coffee for me!
This advice is not for everyone to follow. Veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and onions can cause your gassy baby to produce even more gas! If you do choose to eat them, make sure they are not raw and well cooked.
What can diminish milk production (in large quantities)
This is the most important thing you can do to maintain/increase milk production and I can’t stress the value of it enough. DRINK! To figure out how much you should be drinking, take your weight and divide it in half, and thats the number of ounces you should consume. When you start breastfeeding, you will see how incredibly thirsty you will be. I drink approximately 3L of water per day (which is way more than I should, but don’t forget, I am producing milk for twins) and that is not including other drinks such as fresh pressed juices and tea. It is so important to stay hydrated, especially if you are exercising or nursing in the summer months.
Most importantly, listen to your body and to your baby!
SAMPLE DAILY MEAL PLAN:
BREAKFAST 8am: chia seed pudding, avocado toast, oatmeal or protein smoothie with cup of fennel tea or hot water with ginger, lemon and honey
SNACK 10:30am: apple, banana, handful of nuts
LUNCH 1pm: large salad with a mix of vegetables, seeds and nuts; zucchini noodles, roasted chicken with steamed sweet potato, quinoa or brown rice
SNACK 4pm: bliss balls, homemade granola bar, coconut milk yogurt with honey, pear or peach with almond butter
DINNER 7:30pm: same as lunch; soup, salad, vegetable noodles, stir fry or curry, buckwheat pasta, roasted chicken or turkey