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Nutrition for the Breastfeeding Mom

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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It's no secret—healthy moms make for healthy babies. Get up to speed on how what's on your plate can impact your supply, and bust some breastfeeding diet myths along the way. Led by Tinyhood Registered Dietitian, Janel Funk.

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Ask Janel, our Registered Dietitian!

Message Janel
JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Collagen protein?
NOELLE, PARENT OF 8 YEAR OLD, 6 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

Hi! Collagen protein powder like the collagen peptides from Vital Protein seem to be all the rage lately. I’ve read that this can be good for baby. Do you have thoughts on its benefits and safety while breastfeeding? Thanks!

Janel
JANEL

Hi Noelle, Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues. Including collagen in your diet can boost your overall protein intake, improve skin/hair/nail strength, joint health, improve the lining of your digestive tract, and more! And while products like Vital Proteins are super trendy right now, partly because they're so easy to use, collagen can be found in some of the foods we eat, such as tougher cuts of meat. If you're opting for a collagen powder, seek out ones (like Vital Proteins) where collagen is the only ingredient, ensuring it is not a highly processed product with other ingredients, like fillers or artificial sweeteners. There is absolutely no harm in taking collagen while breastfeeding for you or your baby, and you might like it as a quick way (mixed in your coffee, for example) to get it's added health benefits.

NOELLE

Thanks Janel! This is so helpful!

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
BABY COLIC DO TO MY DIET
JOHANA RAMOS, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Hi there i have a 9 week old baby girl!
So since she was like three weeks old i noticed that she had gas i bought her some drops called Colief. But they dont work anymore! So i called the pediatrician and he told me it could be what Im esting. I did not know what Inest affects her! (Feel bad for that) so now i need to adjust what I eat and how much Inest it. Im a stay home mom for now and I get anxious sometimes or dont have all healthy thing in the fridge! Some help plz!

Janel
JANEL

Congrats on your new baby!! All newborn babies have some degree of fussiness or gassiness as their digestive tract develops. Typically gassiness in babies worsens as the day goes on. It does not necessarily mean there is something in your diet causing your baby's gas, nor does it sound like colic (which is described as episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child. Often crying occurs in the evening.)

This is not to say that certain foods you eat would not bother a particular breastfed baby – this does happen sometimes. However, there is no list of foods that every mom should avoid while breastfeeding. Most babies are fine with any food that mom eats, so there is no reason to avoid a food unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby every time you eat a particular food. You could keep a food log for a week or so to record what you're eating and if you notice more/less gassiness in your baby as a result of your food choices. Here is some more information that may help reassure you: https://kellymom.com/parenting/parenting-faq/gassybaby/

It is important that you're eating a well balanced diet with as many whole foods as possible (like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat/fish/poultry, eggs, dairy, etc.) and minimally processed foods, as this will not only help with an overall healthy diet, but also help you pinpoint any potential foods that are causing your baby to be especially gassy (without digging through a long list of ingredients from a highly processed food).

Is your baby also spitting up? Does she seem uncomfortable? Overly fussy (beyond what is normal for a young baby)?

JOHANA RAMOS

Yes she spits uo every day and does seem uncomfortable!!
THANK U FORNTHE INFO

Janel
JANEL

If she's spitting up and uncomfortable, I recommend speaking to your doctor about the potential of reflux. Cow’s milk products are the most common problem foods and the only foods conclusively linked by research to fussiness/gassiness in babies, but some babies do react to other foods. You could start by doing a 3 week trial fully eliminating dairy from your diet to see if there is any improvement. Here is a hidden dairy "cheat sheet" for you so you know what to look out for.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Omega 3
AMANDA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

I'm wondering if there is any way I could get Omega 3s without eating fish? I don't eat fish. However, it is my understanding that it is important while breastfeeding.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Amanda,

Yes omega 3s are beneficial for your baby through breastmilk (but also for YOU!). Just some background on omega 3s: There are three different types of “omega-3s”: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The preferred sources are DHA and EPA, the kinds found in seafood sources like salmon and sardines. ALA is found in some plant foods, including certain nuts and seeds, as well as high-quality cuts of meat like grass-fed beef. Because we need all forms of omega 3s (including the one found in fish) I'd recommend speaking to your doctor about taking a DHA supplement. To make sure you're getting enough ALA omega 3 fats in your diet, include things like walnuts, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and omega3 fortified eggs in your diet. Now many processed foods are being fortified with omega 3s, but I recommend focusing on whole food sources (like those listed above) as much as possible for the best nutrient benefits.

AMANDA

Thank you so much!

JOHANA RAMOS

Good to know!!! :)