It is without a doubt that breastmilk is the complete and best form of nutrition for all babies. Hence, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months of their lives.
Despite the wide range of milk formulas, even organic ones that promise only the best quality, they still cannot compare to the benefits provided by mum’s breast milk. Breast milk is not only easier to digest and is less likely to cause any allergy, but they are also packed with antibodies that protect your little one.
And what better way than to feed your baby the best by building good quality milk with these tips below:
Load up on water
Remember that 88% of breastmilk is water. Therefore, every time a mother breastfeeds, she is giving water to her baby through her breastmilk. That is why there is no need to feed your baby water for the first six months.
Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to drink twice the amount of water they would typically consume in a day, to ensure that they stay hydrated and produce adequate supply. Your body will use up a lot of water when producing breastmilk so try to drink an average of 4 litres a day and cut back on diuretics like tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar and alcohol.
Build up your immunity
Without a doubt, if mum’s immunity is high, their baby will also benefit from it because it can be passed through her breastmilk. There are a couple of ways for mums to boost up their immune system. First of all, it is very important to have a balanced meal. Load up on natural probiotics, fruits, and veggies that are high in vitamin C, which will help your body fight off diseases and ensure a healthy gut.
Try to get as much sleep as possible, even though rest might be difficult to come by now, especially with a new baby. But getting enough rest will give your body the time it needs to repair itself. Besides rest, some light exercises would also do you good as it reduces stress and improves your overall well-being. Pop your baby into the stroller and go for a short walk when you can. Not only will your body get the exercise that it needs, but your baby will also benefit from getting some vitamin D from being in the sun.
Try some natural milk boosters
The common ones that we always hear about are Fenugreek and Brewer’s Yeast. However, there are plenty of other herbal milk boosters that you can try out. Some of these include Fennel, Alfalfa, Blessed thistle, Moringa and Milk Thistle.
If you notice a drop in your supply, you can always try some of these natural/herbal milk boosters to build it up again.
Eat enough calories in a day
Your body will use up approximately 500 calories a day to produce breastmilk for your baby so make sure you eat enough because quite frankly, the dieting will have to take a back seat for now. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should hantam whatever food you like. Instead, try to eat nutritiously and not waste your calories on junk food like potato chips and chocolate. It is okay to indulge once in a while, but be mindful that what you eat can affect your breastmilk’s quality.
One pot meals and soups is a great way to have the best of both worlds while saving time. Just use lean protein like fish or chicken and throw in some vegetables. Not only will it be flavoursome, but your body will also benefit from the protein and fluids which are needed to produce quality breast milk.
Load up on quality protein
And of course when we say protein, we don’t just mean any protein. Choose leaner cuts that do not have as much fat because those are better for your heart. Having enough protein is essential for healthy milk production so that your baby gets all the necessary nutrients to thrive. However, mothers also need the extra protein, especially during confinement (link back to confinement article) so that their bodies can heal and revitalise after giving birth. Experts say that breastfeeding mothers need about 71 grams daily and good quality protein can be found in fish, organic meat and chicken, nuts and seeds, legumes, eggs as well as dairy products.
Eat good fats
Breastfeeding mothers also need good fats to ensure quality breastmilk. Good fats that are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acid and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) play a huge role in brain development. Eventhough your baby may seem all tiny and fragile, their brains will continue to grow exponentially until they reach the age of 5 and a healthy brain development is dependent on a good supply of DHA. To ensure your hindmilk contains enough DHA, you can try eating fatty fish that are low in mercury like mackerel or salmon. You can also find a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids in some cold pressed oils, raw nuts and seeds, avocado and coconut cream.
Last but not least, increase your calcium intake
Babies get all their calcium from breast milk or formula which is why it is important that your diet be high in calcium. In fact, the suggested daily intake of calcium for breastfeeding mothers is a whopping 1,300mg per day! Together with Vitmain D, Calcium helps to develop muscles, strong bones, while aiding your baby’s neurological system. Without it they could be at a risk for called rickets, a condition that softens the bones and causes bow legs, stunted growth, and sometimes sore or weak muscles. Examples of food that is rich in calcium include all dairy products, seaweed, tahini, nuts and seeds as well as dark leafy greens. If you feel that you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, do consider taking calcium supplements so that you can meet your daily quota until you are ready to give up breastfeeding.