What can I eat while breastfeeding?

Science says you can eat whatever you want while breastfeeding. Spicy food, cauliflower, broccoli, coffee, alcohol (in moderation), beans, dairy. There is no restricted list. You also do not need to maintain a perfect diet in order to provide quality milk for baby. Research tells us that the quality of your diet actually has little influence on your milk. Your body is designed to make milk to provide for and protect baby even when you’re not providing for yourself. A poor diet is more likely to affect you than your baby. Occasionally your calorie and fluid intake can impact your milk VOLUME, but not the NUTRIENTS.

  • Eat to hunger
  • Drink to thirst
  • Vitamin/mineral supplements are not necessary if you eat a reasonably well balanced diet or unless you’re deficient in particular micronutrients
  • What you eat changes the color and flavor of your milk but not the nutrients
  • Nutrients is determined by how often you empty the breast. When you’re feeding around the clock for a newborn the nutrients are different than when you’re feeding a few times a day for a toddler.
  • Your fat intake does not affect the amount of fat in your milk. It can change the kinds of fats (balance of “good” vs. “bad” fats) in your milk to some extent.
  • Eat whatever you like, whenever you like, in the amounts that you like and continue to do this unless baby has an obvious reaction to a particular food.
  • Some food proteins (such as cow’s milk protein or peanut protein) do pass into milk. If you or your family has a history of food allergies, you may wish to limit or eliminate the allergens common in your family.
  • Avoiding foods during pregnancy or breastfeeding does not help to prevent allergies in your child.

Typically whatever a food does to you it may do to baby. If you eat cabbage and it gives you gas, it may give baby gas! Or not! Some times you just have to try a food and see what it will do to your baby. Younger babies are more sensitive than older babies. So if your cauliflower upset your newborn’s tummy, wait a few weeks and try it again. As their system develops, they may be able to tolerate things they couldn’t when they were first born.

Boob barnacle

I hear this all the time from breastfeeding moms. You feel like you’re feeding the baby. All. The. Time. Trapped on the couch. In bed. Clustering feeding for days to weeks at a time.

Babies double their birth weight by six months and triple it by one year. They go through multiple back to back growth spurts. They feed more frequently during growth spurts. This increases your milk production. The closer together the feedings are, the higher the fat content in your milk, helping baby get the calories they need to grow. Each time they feed more often, it actually causes your body to make milk faster!! They are completely dependent on you for all of their nutrition and caloric intake, and your milk is the primary staple in their diet until ONE YEAR!!

Babies also want the breast for more than nutrition. During teething, being at the breast relieves pain. When baby is in an emotional or cognitive leap, being at the breast regulates their nervous system and can help calm them down. When baby is scared or stressed, your baby’s heart and respiratory rate will slow to match yours, helping them relax and regulate. Being at the breast also helps baby with temperature regulation. Your breast can warm or cool by a few degrees to help warm or cool baby.

While it can feel like you’re trapped feeding all the time, this is a short stage in your child’s development. As your child matures and grows, they will depend on you for these things less and less. Grab a snack, some water, a phone charger and the remote. I promise it won’t last forever.

Best Bottle for the Breastfed Baby

Picking a bottle can be tricky. DON’T FALL FOR THE MARKETING. So many bottles claim to be most likely the breast. In reality, look for a round nipple that gradually tapers from tip to base. Bottles that go from nipple to wide base sharply or that have pinched, flat, or misshaped nipple tips promote a shallow latch and bad tongue posture. If your nipple came out looking like that we’d have to do some serious wound care. Look for a flow that matches your breast milk flow. Babies that gulp at the breast and feed in 5-10 minutes are fine on a faster flow. Babies that take their time at the breast and newborns should use the slowest flow possible to help go back and forth from breast to bottle.

Great bottles: Dr Browns (wide and narrow neck), Evenflo Balance Standard bottle, Lansinoh, Pigeon SS

Ok bottles if you can get a really deep latch: Como Tomo and Tommee Tippee. These still tend to get pockets of air and babies tend to latch just to the nipple or colapse them. Be cautious when using these and make sure to get a good, deep latch every time

Bottles that promote a shallow latch or incorrect tongue placement or oral motor pattern: Minbie, Nuk, Mam. These nipples are pinched, flat, or misshaped. If your nipple came out looking like that you would have pain and damage. If these are the only bottles your baby will latch to, that’s fine, but be cautious when trying to go back to breast as these bottles don’t promote good latch or use of the tongue. Some do just fine, but for many it can cause damage at the breast.

Work with an IBCLC or pediatric feeding therapist if your baby is struggling with feeding from either breast or bottle.

Blue Breast milk

I’ve seen several posts now circulating about blue milk having more antibodies for baby when mom or baby is sick. It’s become viral in some circles but it’s not actually based on fact. Breastmilk has a natural bluish hue caused by the presence of casein (which accounts for 40% of the protein content in your milk). This blue hue is usually more visible when the volume of your milk is high and the fat content relatively lower. This can happen for many reasons: You may notice this blueish color more when you’ve has gone a longer time between pumpings, like first thing in the morning, when your breasts are fuller from sleeping longer at night. A blueish tint in expressed breast milk is mainly due to the foremilk composition which is seen at the beginning of feeding. As the breast continues to empty, the composition changes to hind milk, which is higher in fat, giving it that creamier color. It’s a gradual change as the feeding progresses. When using a pump to empty the breast, you may not see the blue color as you’re more fully emptying the breast. Those that use a Haakaa or a milk catcher like a @lacticups may note a more blue color in the milk they collect as these devices often only catch leaking drip milk, which is a higher water content, lower fat content milk.

Be assured, the bluish watery milk and white creamier milk have the SAME components and are the same milk. There are not two different types or kinds of milk. It’s just the ratio of the various components like water and fat that can change based on how you’re feeding and pumping.

Those who feed their babies frequently or empty their breasts often and more thoroughly tend to have thicker milk. Those with an exceptionally robust milk supply or those who go long stretches between feeds tend to have a more bluish hue to their milk.

Regardless of the color of your milk, it is safe to feed your baby

Carry me

We are carry mammals. Like kangaroos and monkeys, our milk has very little fat and protein and our babies come out extremely immature. So we are meant to carry our babies around for frequent feeding and all cares until they are able to fend for themselves (which is years). Kangaroos stick their babies in a pouch to do this while monkeys hang on their mamas backs. Our strong arms and curvy bodies are designed to hold on to our young.

Nest mammals, like dogs and cats, have a higher protein and fat content in their milk. They leave their babies in a nest for several hours a day and come back frequently to feed. While we are carry mammals, our society tries to make us think we are nest mammals. How often are we told a baby should be able to sleep in a crib away from us only to be picked up and cared for a few hours later and then put back down again?

There are also cache mammals such as rabbits and deer. They find a safe place to leave their babies and return every 12 hours or so to feed them. Because this is how their bodies are designed, their milk is much higher in fat and protein in order to sustain them for long periods. While we would like to think our young babies will be cache mammals overnight and nest mammals during the day, our milk does not have this capacity to sustain our young in this way.

There is a clash in what our biology wants and what society dictates. Your baby doesn’t know it’s a carry mammal in a nest society. It expects to be a carry mammal and will behave that way from all of its instincts. Don’t be surprised if your carry mammal wants LITERALLY carried for years and finds the best soothing and comfort when held in your strong arms on that gorgeous, curvy body.