written by: Julia Davie, RHN and experienced breastfeeding mother
It has been said that breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is the best way to feed your baby. Health professionals recommend to begin breastfeeding within the first hour of a baby’s life and that it be allowed as often and as much as the baby wants, with the frequency and duration of feedings decreasing as the child gets older. Some mothers also pump milk so that it can be used later when others are caring for their child. Breastfeeding benefits both mother and baby.
Breastfeeding has many benefits. It decreases the risk of respiratory tract infections and diarrhea. This is true in both developing and developed countries. Other benefits include lower risks of asthma, food allergies, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and leukemia. Breastfeeding may also improve cognitive development and decrease the risk to obesity in childhood. Although infant formula does not have many of the same benefits, it should be noted that researchers found that children who aren’t breastfed grow up without significant harm to their future health.
For women who are able to breastfeed and who choose to do so, here is what you should be eating and supplementing with, according to a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
As always, please discuss with your health care professional to see if any of these tips or products are right for you.
Getting an optimal amount of dietary protein is crucial while breastfeeding. Protein is necessary for building, repairing, and maintaining muscle and tissue (think: healing from childbirth and maintaining healthy muscle mass). Protein is also an important component of breast milk. Healthy protein increases breast milk production and supports the growth and development of the infant.
Good food sources of protein
Good protein supplement
Invest in a high quality protein supplement, such as NutriChem’s Riza-Max Organic Brown Rice Protein, to add to smoothies, oatmeal or muffins!
Good fats can be anti-inflammatory, promote healthy and supple skin for the mother and child, and support healthy brain development and function for both mother and child. The type of fat in breast milk depends on the type of fat in the maternal diet. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to eliminate trans and hydrogenated fats from your diet, and focus instead on healthier sources of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and omega 3 fats.
Good food sources of fat
Invest in a high quality fish oil supplement such as NutriChem’s Pure Premium Fish Oil.
Water, water and more water!
Nothing supports a breastfeeding mother more than putting a large glass of water beside her while she is nursing. The average lactating woman produces between 25 & 32 ounces of breast milk every 24 hours: dehydration puts a strain on breast milk production and maternal health. It is absolutely crucial to drink 6-8 glasses of non-caffeinated low sugar liquids daily.
Good food sources of water
Gluten-Free Almond and Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
These cookies are designed to help maintain milk production, and can even increase it in some women. While there is no scientific research on the effectiveness of lactation cookies, the anecdotal evidence from women who experience noticeable increases in breast milk production is astounding!
Ingredients for baking & relaxing
NutriChem’s Riza-Max Organic Brown Rice Protein – a powder that can support healing post childbirth and improve breast milk production.
NutriChem’s Pure Premium Fish Oil – can help support infant brain and eye development and reduce “mommy brain.”
Motherlove More Milk Plus – contains fenugreek seed, blessed thistle herb, nettle herb and fennel seed, which are herbs that support breast milk supply.
Sweet almond or lanolin oil – rub on nipples between feedings to help prevent soreness
Nature’s Aid All Natural Skin Gel – rub on nipples between feedings to help prevent soreness (wash off before nursing again)
St. Francis Herb Farm Calendula Salve – soothing, healing and anti-inflammatory for nipples (wash off before nursing)
St. Francis Herb Farm Femance Mastos Breast Oil – Herbal breast oil that improves circulation, reduces pain and inflammation and supports healing from mastitis.
Various Homeopathic remedies – Consult with a naturopath or homeopath to determine the appropriate remedy for you. They may be helpful in increasing milk supply, healing cracked or painful nipples, and treating breast soreness, blocked ducts, and mastitis.
If you're having problems breastfeeding, do not fret! Most problems that people experience are preventable and fixable: just ask someone who's done it. Usually, breastfeeding difficulties are caused by incorrect latch or scheduled feeding, and only a small percentage are caused by medical conditions (like hypoplasia in Mom (which is insufficient glandular breast tissue), or lip-tie or tongue-tied in Baby).
For support with your breastfeeding, please contact the La Leche League or hire a lactation consultant to help get to the root of the problem.
Click here to access a list of additional Breastfeeding Supports in the City of Ottawa.
 "Infant and young child feeding Fact sheet N°342". WHO. February 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
 American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding. (March 2012). "Breastfeeding and the use of human milk". Pediatrics 129 (3): 827–841.
 "Breastfeeding and Breast Milk: Condition Information". 2013-12-19. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
 Ip, S; Chung, M; Raman, G; Trikalinos, TA; Lau, J (October 2009). "A summary of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's evidence report on breastfeeding in developed countries.". Breastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. 4 Suppl 1: S17–30. doi:10.1089/bfm.2009.0050. PMID 19827919.
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