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Nutrition for the Breastfeeding Mom

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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Did you know that what you put on your plate can impact your supply? Join us to learn more about keeping mom and baby nourished.

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Ask Janel, our Registered Dietitian!

Message Janel
JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Healthy meals
SHANTE, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

What ate some healthy meals to maintain supply.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Shante - the best way to maintain/boost supply through diet is to make sure you're eating balanced meals, three a day plus snacks and eating to hunger as needed. This can be difficult for a new mom! But having ready-to-eat foods on hand that are nutritious is essential. Some of my favorites include Greek yogurt, string cheese, hummus or peanut butter and crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (make a few in advance and keep in the freezer!), frozen fruits and veggies, fresh fruit, nuts, trail mix, granola, oatmeal (make a big batch and reheat throughout the week), hard boiled eggs or mini muffin tin eggs to reheat in the microwave, rotisserie chicken, and pre-cooked whole grains. Hydration is also important, so nursing moms should aim for 13 8oz glasses of water/day.

As for foods that boost your milk supply, there is no scientific evidence backing these up, but many moms swear by regularly eating whole oats, flax, barley, brewers yeast, lactation cookies, and mother's milk tea.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
lactation support
SUNEETHA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

hi, which supplements are recommended for increasing lactation. also what food is good for lactation.
i also feel nervousness in legs what i mean is i am not even able to take few steps in home when not on multi vitamins.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Suneetha, Some moms swear by certain herbs and supplements such as fenugreek, and blessed thistle to increase supply. While there is anecdotal evidence showing some of these might work, right now there is no scientific evidence backing these claims up. Before starting any supplements or herbs make sure you speak with your healthcare provider to make sure they're safe for you to take and don't interact with any other medications you might be taking. Similarly, many moms find certain foods boost their supply, to include whole rolled oats, flax, barley, brewers yeast, Mother's Milk tea, and lactation cookies. However, you also need to be sure you have a well balanced diet and are adequately hydrated for milk supply. Are you eating to hunger? Having three balanced meals per day with snacks throughout? Drinking at least 13 8oz glasses of water/day?

As for the nervousness you feel in your legs, I recommend you speaking to your healthcare provider about this as soon as possible to rule out any major nutrient deficiencies or other health issues.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Low Supply
KAITLYN PRIEVO , PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

How can I boost my supply quickly.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Kaitlyn - congrats on your new baby! Can you tell me more about your breastfeeding? What makes you think you need to boost your supply? Are you exclusively nursing? Nursing and pumping? Exclusively pumping? I look forward to hearing from you!

KAITLYN PRIEVO

Thank you for the quick response!

My son is 12 weeks old. I feel as though over the past two weeks my supply
has decreased significantly. He is feeding every two hours max and he
doesn't seem completely satisfied after a feeding. He is also falling
asleep often at the breast and seems more fussy than usual in between
feeds. He also feeds for a much shorter time than before. (5-8 minutes a
breast) My breasts do not feel as full as they use to and when I pump I am
not getting more than 2oz. (I only pump once a day)

I am feeling discouraged and hoping there is a way to boost my supply.

Thank you again!

Janel
JANEL

Thanks for this info! I understand you're discouraged. A few things to start - it sounds like he could have hit a growth spurt and is cluster feeding. It feels like you're feeding around the clock (because you are!) and he's never satisfied. Keep offering the breast on demand, and you can even do some gentle breast compressions while he's sucking to help coax more milk out and encourage him to keep drinking. If he's falling asleep at the breast, you can undress him before a feeding, gently stroke the soles of his feet or tug at the breast while he's latched to "remind" him to keep sucking. You can also burp him and switch sides. You want him getting the important hind milk at the end of a feeding as this is the milk that is highest in fat/calories, so he may not be getting to that milk if he's falling asleep during a feeding. At 12 weeks he's probably becoming a pro at nursing, so a 5-8 minute nursing session is fine if it's because he's becoming more efficient. Are you offering both sides during a feeding? Also you not feeling as full as you used to is normal as your body is regulating supply according to your baby's needs (versus in response to hormones as it did the first few weeks of nursing). And because he's nursing so frequently, you don't have a long time to go to let yourself get too full. Again, all normal, just keep nursing frequently.

Has anything changed like you restarting your period or going on birth control? These can cause a temporary dip in supply. How is your diet and hydration? You should be eating to hunger, 3 balanced meals plus snacks throughout the day and drinking plenty of water (about 13 8oz glasses/day). While there is no scientific evidence backing this up, many moms find certain foods help to boost their supply, including whole oats, barley, flax, brewers yeast, lactation cookies, and mother's milk tea.

The pump is not a great indication of how much milk you're making as your baby is much more efficient at getting milk from the breast than the pump! When you pump, are you using a double electric pump? Do you have a hands free pumping bra? You can try doing some gentle breast massage (from the outer breast towards the nipple) to increase pump output. You can also pump after you nurse to fully empty the breast, as this helps signal the body to make more milk.

You can also try power pumping for a few days.

To power pump, find an hour in the day that you can pump uninterrupted. (Do your best to find time in the morning because that’s when many women’s milk supplies are at their highest.) Within that hour, use this pumping pattern:

1.Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes

2.Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes

3.Pump for 10 minutes.

This frequency helps rapidly empty the breast which signals the body to make more milk. You could also just add a second pumping session to your day to boost the frequency. Even if you don't get much milk, it's a good signal to your body.