After 3 years of breastfeeding, I would say I became a bit of a pro, even if I do say so myself 😀
Breastfeeding was a wonderful but challenging experience. I never breastfed my daughter, I had her when I was 20 and didn’t know what I know now. It wasn’t something that particularly bothered me. I tried for a few days but I wasn’t producing much milk so I didn’t stick with it.
When I had my boy, I was determined to breastfeed. A good job really considering his food allergies.. Mother nature knew!
I practised attachment parenting. I breastfed on demand, I’m not really very good at sticking to routines, and I co-slept.
This worked for me. I know co-sleeping is a taboo subject, but it made my life easier so that’s what we did.
Due to my son being allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts and fish, I had to cut them out of my diet too, as obviously whatever I ate went into my breastmilk and then into him.. This is part of how I realised his allergies. If I ate any of those foods he would come out in a rash. Therefore I had to think very hard about the food I was consuming to make sure I still got all the right nutrients. I was feeding another human and needed extra strength.
Your baby is taking a lot of your nutrients so nutrition is key. Whether or not you eat meat, fish and eggs it is still super important to get optimal nutrition and the best way to do this is through plant based foods. So even if you are not vegan I still recommend to eat my recommendations. These helped me through and kept up a good milk supply for 3 years!
Your breast milk is a combination of fat, protein and water so you need to make sure that you are including a good amount in your diet. For us non meat eating people.. that ever so over asked question.. ‘Where do you get your protein from?’ Well I got my protein from.. hemp/sunflower/pumpkin/chia seeds, quinoa, goji berries, lentils, beans, oats, vegetables and a brown rice based protein powder to add to smoothies. Protein is important for healthy growth so you need to make sure you are eating enough.
Healthy fats.. Avocados, coconut oil, olives, chia seeds. These can all be added to smoothies (well, not the olives..) or you could make Chia pudding, add avocado to pretty much anything and I would also add a teaspoon of coconut oil to my hot teas and drink it.
Superfood smoothies. These were a god send to me and would always get me through the hard days or when tiredness hit. Coconut milk (You could have almond if no nut allergy) chia seeds, hemps seeds, cacao, maca powder, spirulina, udos oil, protein powder, spinach.. Throw it all in a blender. Add whatever you want to.. It’s important to try and keep your energy up as our bodies need energy to produce milk. Superfoods also contain lots of iron which is essential for breastfeeding mothers.
Green juices/smoothies.. As far as getting your nutrients go, green juices and smoothies are a great way of incorporating amazing amounts of goodness into your body. Look how many fruits and vegetables you can blitz up and consume in one go. The nutrients get into your system quicker too as they give your digestive system a break and also help with eliminating toxins, which means healthier milk.
Eating porridge.. I would have this at any time of the day, not just for breakfast. It was an easy option to keep me full when my hands were full looking after a new baby. A bowl of porridge is so filling, full of fibre and excellent for digestion. The slow release of carbs keeps your energy up. Porridge is so warming and comforting after those long nights of sleep deprivation. As I stay away from dairy I would use either coconut, brown rice or oat milk.
Greens.. We all know how good greens are for your health. Spinach, kale, broccoli etc. They boost your immune system..which is essential for keeping your strength up. They cleanse your blood, provide all round wellness and are full of nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants. I believe these are very important for keeping your milk ‘clean’. The healthier you are and the more nutrients you are getting helps the production of the milk and keeps it toxin free.
Staying hydrated is very important as again your breastmilk is made up of water. Drink plenty of h2o. You need to keep replacing what your baby is taking.
Expressing will also help.. Although I struggled with this. Between about 3 and 8 months I found it easy, I had a big flow going on, but most of that milk was thrown away as my boy wouldn’t take a bottle. However, it is still best to try and express, as the more milk you ‘get rid of’, the more milk your body makes.. Which is good news for the baby..
I love the fact that I totally love my body after this experience. I spent most of my life hating my small boobs, and felt very insecure about them. Breasts are so sexualised, I always wanted a boob job. Now I’m so glad I never! My small boobs abled me to feed my baby nutritious milk, even more so important because of his allergies. They helped me form an incredible bond and made me see exactly what our bodies are capable of.
Love your bodies ladies! It’s truly amazing what they can do!
Happy milk maiding 😉