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.

Baby Farts

Babies are gassy, fussy creatures. Did you know the majority of babies pass gas 13-21 times a day? Did you know most adults fart 5-15 times per day? Come on, admit it. You’ve passed a few SBDs in your day. Our digestive tracts are sensitive and impacted by what and how we eat. Before you reach for the baby gas drops and probiotics or trying major elimination diets, though, try these things first:
⭐️ TUMMY TIME. This puts baby on their belly which helps stimulate healthy movement through the digestive tract.
⭐️ BABY WEARING. Having baby in an upright position with legs in a froggy position also helps with stimulation of good digestive movement
⭐️ SMALL FEEDS. Smaller, more frequent meals can be easier for some babies to digest than larger, less frequent meals
⭐️ DEEP LATCH. Make sure to get a deep latch every time. Shallow latches where you can hear clicking or breaking of the suction during swallowing increases air in the gut. If you see a dimple in baby’s cheek that’s an indication of a shallow latch
⭐️ TONGUE TIE REVISION. When a baby can’t move their tongue correctly or fully they swallow more air. Tongue ties are one of the major culprits of gas, reflux and colic. Having the tongue released in many cases reduces babies reflux and gas
⭐️ BURP BABY. Some times just being patient to burp the baby well can eliminate wind. After all, farts can just be butt burps
⭐️ MASSAGE. Giving baby a nice belly massage can also help soothe and relieve gas.
How many times a day does your baby fart?

LA Lactation Balls

There are some awesome pre-made lactation bars, biscuits and cookies out there. This is the recipe I used to make all the time when I was breastfeeding both my girlies. They’re quick and easy to make. I used to just make the batch in a bowl and then throw the whole, sticky mess in a large Tupperware and scoop bites out instead of actually taking time to roll it into balls 🤷🏽‍♀️ The best ingredients for supporting lactation are: oats, chia seed, flax seed, dates, walnuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds and Brewers yeast. The Brewers yeast is pretty bitter, so I took it out of this recipe, but you could add it in (test out where your limit is by slowly adding it in increasing amounts).

LA Lactation Balls
1&1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (2 scoops)
1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 cup nut or sunflower butter
3 Tbsp natural honey or agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup raisins, chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans
2-4 Tbsp liquid (almond/flax/oat milk, etc)

Mix everything but the milk in a bowl. It helps to use your hands but it does get sticky. Slowly add in the milk until it forms a smooth, rollable dough, adding milk as needed. Roll into balls (or spread on the bottom of the container to be cut into squares) and put on wax paper in a Tupperware or air tight seal container. Enjoy!!

Breastfeeding Shouldn’t Hurt

Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, other than tenderness in the first few days after birth. When I see pictures of young babies breastfeeding like the one on the left, I cringe and want to reposition them. Their face is unevenly touching the breast, the head is turning away from the body, and the body is really far away from mom. In this position, as baby tries to bring their head back to midline for more comfort, they literally give mom a “titty twister”. You can see the nipple twisting with tension on the areola even in this picture. This nipple twisting also pinches the nipple like pinching a straw and slows milk flow. When mom complains of nipple pain, the first thing to look at is baby’s position. In the second picture, baby’s face is coming straight and evenly to the breast and nipple. Their chin is pressing into the breast and the nose is off the breast allowing good breathing. This allows milk to freely flow and there’s no twisting or pinching of the nipple. Baby’s body is super close to mom which is more comfortable for baby’s head and neck. If you’re experiencing any nipple discomfort while breastfeeding today, check your baby’s position and see if it makes a difference.

As baby gets older and more proficient at breastfeeding (over six months) they can often wriggle into unusual positions and not cause pain. As long as you and baby are comfortable and there’s no nipple pain, position is up to you. .

Weaning from breastfeeding

Deciding to wean your child is a choice only you can make. Some people make it for medical reasons. Some make it because they have to go back to work. Some make it because they simply are done with nursing. Whatever the reason, it is that person’s and that person’s alone.
If you decide to wean, here are some tips for gentle weaning:
⭐️ Start at a time when your baby has already naturally started to wean, i.e. only a quick snack before nap? Try cutting that out first. Waking up at 2am just to pacify to sleep? Maybe that one would be a good one to cut out first.
⭐️ Offer water in an open cup as an alternative.
Don’t offer, don’t refuse
⭐️ Wear clothing that makes accessing the breast/chest more difficult.
⭐️ Distract child with favorite activities or offer alternatives like a favorite snack
⭐️ Change your routine
⭐️ Postpone: “Let’s wait until after dinner” “After we play with the blocks”
⭐️ Shortening the length of feeding or strategically distracting baby when they want to nurse can help
⭐️ Talk to your baby and let them know how you are feeling, why you need to wean, and that you understand their feelings. Older children (2 years and up) can be part of the process by talking to them about what is happening.
⭐️ Be consistent – this is a hard one but it can be even more confusing to your baby if you allow them to nurse one time and not the next.
⭐️ Offer lots of cuddles, hugs, kisses. For some babies, this is a hard time. Your breast/chest is more than just food but also a great source of comfort. Showing them you are still a source of that comfort despite not nursing is incredibly important.

There will be tears, mostly likely from both of you. Some children decide on their own that they are done but it often doesn’t make it any easier for parents. Know that if you feel like it is time to wean then you are making the right decision. Also be prepared that some may experience mood changes and feelings of depression when weaning as your oxytocin and other hormones are dropping to stop milk production.

Tips for weaning under one:
Sometimes, it is necessary to wean a baby under one. Physical and mental health of the birthing person, medical situations, or a number of valid reasons can be the cause for needing to wean under one.
👍🏼 Aim for slow and steady to ensure breast/chest health and you/your baby’s emotional readiness
👍🏼Prepare for potential “booby blues”. Hormones shifts during weaning can make you feel a whole range of emotions.
👍🏼If you’re ready to wean but your baby isn’t, the process may be two steps forward one step back as you dance and compromise with your baby.

Weaning from the bottle

When we know better, we do better. In my generation, pediatricians generally recommended weaning babies from their bottles by two years of age. Today professional organizations recommend weaning 100% off the bottle by no later than 14 months unless there is a medical reason to continue the bottle. Many of my feeding specialist colleagues recommend bottle weaning by 12 months.

Reasons to wean the bottle around a year:
Contributes to tooth decay
⭐️ May impact speech and feeding skills with prolonged use
⭐️ May contribute to how the face, teeth, palate and other oral structures are formed (or misformed)
⭐️ Prolongs an immature suck pattern in the mouth beyond when developmentally appropriate

This does not mean you need to wean from the breast at one. The muscles and way the muscles are used with breast vs bottle are completely different.
In fact:
⭐️ Breastfeeding promotes good formation of the face, palate and teeth
⭐️ Does not increase the risk of dental decay
⭐️ Introduces baby to a wide variety of flavors which makes them more prone to trying those same foods in their solid forms