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Plenty of mothers who are new to breastfeeding believe that they are not able to keep up with their baby’s demands. Especially in the early weeks. It is important to note that breast milk regulation can take up to 12 weeks (Source).
There are some things to think about before trying to increase your supply with supplements or food.
First ask yourself – Are you feeding on demand? How often are you feeding?
You always want to first start with feeding often and feeding on demand to increase milk supply. Our bodies are designed to respond to our baby’s needs.
How do you know your body is producing enough milk for your baby?
- The number of wet and dirty diapers. This is going to be different for every baby and very different in the first few weeks, but a good rule of thumb is 6 wet diapers per day is considered normal.
- Your baby is gaining weight. Please keep in mind that each baby is on their own curve. As long as your baby is gaining, they are getting enough breast milk.
If you meet the criteria above and still think you need to increase supply, here are a few foods that I consume DAILY.
- Oatmeal is very high in iron. Low iron is linked to decreased milk supply so the thought process here is a boost in iron can do the opposite and help increase it.
- Oatmeal also lowers cholesterol and it is said that high cholesterol can also lower milk supply.
How much do I need to eat?
I stick to eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning. I find that the easiest way to do this is to prepare a few servings of overnight oats that I can quickly pop in the microwave every day. I also purchase organic oatmeal for the days I couldn’t prep overnight oats.
- Chickpeas are rich in fiber and protein, designed to keep your blood sugar in good balance.
- Chickpeas also contain saponins which are said to help sustain milk supply.
I always have hummus in my fridge and try to make it from scratch as much as I can. I tend to snack on it every day with some pita bread or pita chips (Source).
Coconut could quite possibly be the best superfoods for breastfeeding mothers. It contains medium chain fatty acids that include lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid that can help protect you and your baby from bacteria and virus. Breastfeeding mothers need a lot of far to build and sustain milk supply. Coconut can be a healthy option for this because it is processed very efficiently by the body. Coconut has many other benefits for breastfeeding mothers including
- Reducing inflammation
- Boosting the immune system
- Improves digestion
- Balances hormones
I chose to drink coconut water and try to drink about 16oz daily. I will also use coconut oil for cooking whenever I can. Here are a few coconut items I have stocked in my pantry and in my fridge (Source).
- Lentils are high in fiber, protein, magnesium and folate.
- They help stabilize blood sugar and improve digestive health
I am not personally a big fan of cooking with Lentils, but I will make these lentil-based noodles for my toddler and eat some myself. The flavor is great!
- Fennel has estrogen-like properties that can help improve and increase breast milk supply.
You can add fresh fennel to soup, salad and pasta dishes. You can also enjoy it as a tea.
While adding these foods to your daily diet, it is important to ask yourself – how much water am I drinking and how much am I eating?
Your body requires A LOT of nourishment to make breast milk. You should be:
- Drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day
- Drinking something other than water, such as the coconut water lactation drinks I listed above.
- Eating 3 meals, and 2-3 snacks every day.
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