Diet when you’re breastfeeding

There are very few restrictions on the breastfeeding women – excellent news!

It is generally recommended that you consume an extra 500 calories a day. In reality just eat enough to make sure that you are not hungry.  When you are feeding your baby then the best thing you can do is eat a well balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg.  You can have up to three caffeinated drinks a day.  Some women want to avoid onion, garlic and cabbage but there really isn’t enough proof to show that removing anything from your diet has an impact on your milk (although I had a friend who swore that when she ate lettuce her baby had a gassy tummy the next day!)

Don’t go on any diets that promote rapid weight loss when you are breastfeeding as they can impact supply

If you notice that your baby is colicky then it may be worth looking at your own diet to see if you are passing things through to them.  The main things to be aware of are dairy, soy and wheat.  This is something that works for some and not others so it may not make a difference.

Some women take supplements to help with supply and again the impact can vary from woman to woman.  These are called galactagogues. Ones usually recommended are fenugreek (be aware this can dry milk up for some), ginger, alfalfa, turmeric, oats or brewers yeast.  You can try oats, flaxseed meal and brewers yeast. Also try barley, barley malt, whole grains (try using brown rice instead of white), brewers yeast, papaya.  These foods may increase supply Dill, Apricots, Asparagus, Garlic, Red beets, Sesame seeds, Poppy seeds, Caraway seeds, Anise seeds, Coriander seeds. Foods rich in Vitamin A are also great to take when breastfeeding so that’s carrots, spinach, greens, sweet potato, and cantaloupe melon. There is evidence to show a combination of these taken before pumping can improve results but it just depends what works for you.

You don’t need avoid things such as beans when you’re breastfeeding unless you’re worried that YOU will become too gassy!

These foods may negatively impact supply: alcohol, sage, peppermint, menthol, parsley, chasteberry (generally found in supplements) so avoid if you think you are having issues. Also avoid foods that are rich in methyl mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish – this is an ingredient that can impact neurological development in your baby.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – lots of fluid is great for building and maintaining supply

So whilst there is no definitive proof that lactation cookies work – they are really nice and if someone wants to make you some then here is a good recipe that you may like to try.

Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Yield:  ABOUT 20 COOKIES
Total time: 45 MINTUES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons water
     

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy.
  4. Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. Add in the eggs, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again.
  7. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed.
  8. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.
  9. Add the water and stir gently.
  10. Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden.
  12. Enjoy!