Hi everyone! I am honored to have with us today Eryn Lynum from From Famine to Foodie. Eryn is doing a 4 post series this week on breastfeeding.
As many of you already know, breast milk is best for a newborn. But sometimes it can be really challenging to breast feed.
Eryn is here to share her breastfeeding story with us and to give us helpful guidance through this journey. I will let Eryn take it from here!
This is part 4 of a 4-part series on breastfeeding.
Click here to read:
- Part 1 ~ Why Breastfeeding Doesn’t Always Turn Out As Planned
- Part 2 ~ There Is Hope For Breastfeeding Success
- Part 3 ~ How To Boost Your Breast Milk By Slaying Stress
Why Our Modern Diet May Be Hindering Our Chances at Breastfeeding Success
Ideally and traditionally, a mother would prepare her body even before conception to grow and feed her baby. This is not the case with today’s modern diet.
An average American diet, composed mostly of processed foods and toxic fats, does not promote breastfeeding. In fact, it hinders our efforts in breastfeeding. Mamas—we have to go against the norm here. We need to make an intentional shift in how we view food. We need to begin seeing our diet as the primary tool at our disposal to equip us to better feed our babes.
Whether your baby is in utero or in your arms, there are changes that you can make right now, employing the food you eat to join forces with you in nurturing your precious one.
But First–Does Breast Milk Vary In Quality?
Although breast milk is the perfect food for babies, it can vary in its quality, mostly depending on what mama is eating. I saw this first-hand when I compared the milk I produced for my first son to the milk I produced for my second son.
When I had my first son, we were still eating the average American diet. Although I was eating fats, they were not good fats. They were the processed, hydrogenated, toxic fats that are so prevalent in today’s modern foods. I was giving little thought to what I ate, and this was reflected in my milk. It was thin and blue, indicating a low fat content. I also was not producing enough (as I detailed in my full story here).
Between the birth of my two boys, our family began eating a whole food diet. I can see direct evidence of the advantages of our whole food diet in my breast milk. Now that I am eating a diet low in processed foods and high in whole, nutritious foods, my milk is always thick, creamy, and white. When it sits in the fridge, it develops a “cream-top”, sometimes half an inch thick!
Breast milk can vary in fat content from about 2% to 9%. Not only does a higher fat content in milk pack a higher concentration of nutrients per ounce for baby, but fattier milk also helps fill baby’s belly, which helps your little one take better naps and sleep through the night. What mama doesn’t want that?!
Why Eating Fatty Foods May Help Boost Your Supply as well as Lose the Baby Weight!
The number one foods I recommend for increasing the amount and quality of your breast milk are traditional, natural fats.
It may seem counter intuitive, to eat fat while you are trying to lose the “baby-weight”, but when we put some thought into the fats we are eating, it can make a huge difference in our milk supply! Not only that, but eating traditional, healthful fats can actually help you lose weight! Click here to learn more!
The “secret” here is to be knowledgeable and intentional in the types of fats you eat. I am not talking trans vs. saturated mumbo-jumbo. Rather, I am talking about unprocessed traditional fats; the fats that nature gives us. Fats our ancestors ate and thrived on for generations. Fats that our bodies thrive on—that they need. Fats such as these:
- Butter from grass-fed cows (I recommend “Organic Valley” Pasture Butter)
- Whole organic milk
- Plain yogurt from whole organic milk
- Meat from grass-fed beef, pastured pigs, and truly free-range chickens
- Eggs from truly free-range chickens (click here to read more about the best eggs you can eat)
- Nuts and nut butters (homemade or organic, without hydrogenated oils)
- Lard (from pasture-raised pigs, unhydrogenated)
These foods may cost a little bit more, but consider the savings in money and health you will create by ensuring that you have enough breast milk to feed your baby, and don’t have to invest in expensive formula!
In addition to wholesome, natural fats, some women (including myself) also experience an increase in their breast milk quality and supply while eating oats and ground flax seeds.
3 Delicious Recipes For Increasing and Maintaining Your Breast Milk Supply!
With this in mind, I have created three delicious recipes that incorporate wholesome, natural fats, along with oats and flax seeds. These are my go-to recipes for increasing and maintaining a healthy and abundant supply of breast milk. I snack on these recipes when:
- I experience increased stress, whether unexpected, like a rough day with the kids, or expected, like when we moved to a new state
- I notice my son going through a growth spurt and thus has an increased appetite
- If I want to pump a little extra milk to have on hand for those rare occasions my husband and I are able to have someone watch the boys so we can have a date night
- Click here for my recipe for Simple and Delicious Homemade Granola with Flax and Coconut
- Click here for my recipe for 5-Minute Super Simple Baked Oatmeal with Flax
And here are is my favorite thing to snack on when I want to up my milk supply: Cinnamon Apple and Pecan Lactation Cookies!
When I snack on a couple (or more…) of these cookies each morning with my coffee, I pump an average of 2-4 more times breast milk each day.
These lactation cookies are not just for the nursing mama of the house! Both my husband and my two-year old are big fans. Just be sure these cookies don’t make it into the hands or mouths of baby if he or she is under 1 year old, as they are made with honey.
These cookies are absolutely delicious and wholesome! You can eat them like it’s your day job, because, well, it is! And as long as that little one is keeping you up during all hours, you can eat them as a part of your night job, too. So go ahead, mama, snack away! And if your husband looks at you quizzically as you munch away on these treats, just assure him that you are working on your milk supply. It’s what’s best for the baby, after all 😉
Let Love Be The Measure Of Success
So there you have it—over the past four posts I have shared with you my own breastfeeding journey, along some indispensable lessons I have learned along the way. Remember, each mama is different. Each experience is unique. Each baby’s needs are particular to him or her. What works for one mama will look differently from what works for another.
Your job as mama is simply to gain knowledge, put it into practice, give breastfeeding your best shot, and in the end—whatever the result—love that precious little bundle with all the love you can muster up, and enjoy the journey. That love will be the measure of success in your own journey.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp ground sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ cups ground flax seed
- 1 cup grass-fed butter, softened
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup unsweetened organic apple sauce
- ¾ cup raw turbinado (or cane) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups oats (not quick oats)
- 1 cup finely-chopped pecans
- 1 ½ cup organic raisins
- In a small bowl mix together the first 6 ingredients
- In a large bowl cream together the butter, honey, apple sauce, and sugar
- Beat the eggs and vanilla into the wet ingredients
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix together just until moist
- Now mix in the oats, pecans, and and raisins. Mix just until incorporated
- Roll dough into balls and place onto non-stick baking sheet, flatten balls slightly with hand. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees until they just begin to brown.