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Breast Feeding

Breastmilk is ideal for infants, it contains many nutrients and antibodies. Read on for supplement , diet and lifestyle advice whilst breastfeeding. Dry, cracked nipples can also be addressed with natural products

Why is breast milk important?

Breastmilk is ideal for infants, it contains many nutrients and antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breast milk helps protect against ear infections, pneumonia, bacterial and viral infections [i]. A woman’s breastmilk production naturally adapts to provide for the infant at different stages of life. Starting with the newborn, it continues to provide a child’s nutritional needs during the first two years of life[ii]. The first production of breastmilk after birth is called colostrum. It’s a substance that is rich in nutrients. It also helps prepare your baby’s gastrointestinal system for future feedings[iii].

Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight and less prone to diabetes later in life. It is also said there are multiple benefits of breastfeeding for the physical and emotional health of the nursing mother [iv] [v]. Breastfeeding allows your body to release hormones such as oxytocin that help you bond with your baby[vi].

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life if possible. After six months, additional foods may be introduced. Most sources recommend breastfeeding for at least one year, and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years[vii] [viii].

Common issues with breastfeeding

Sore nipples and dry, cracked nipples are the main complaints associated with breastfeeding. These issues can be addressed with natural products and by adopting a skincare routine to suit you. Try: Organic Babies Mum & Baby Rescue Balm - A cream containing natural oils for delicate, sensitive skin, and designed for breastfeeding mothers. Also try Mother & Baby Massage Oil and Organic Babies Nurturing Baby Oil.

Causes for concern in breastfeeding

Unusually red, swollen, hard, or sore breasts

Unusual discharge or bleeding from the nipples

If your baby isn't gaining weight or getting enough milk/ Worries about producing enough milk

Please contact your GP if you are experiencing these issues. Also, see ‘Your Pregnancy Nutrition Guide by Henrietta Norton at Wild Nutrition for advice on breastfeeding.

Nutrition and supplement advice for breastfeeding

Synerbio Mother and Baby Probiotic powder – This product provides friendly bacteria in the form of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a particularly good bacteria for use by mothers and infants, as it was seen to offer some protection from colic and eczema[ix].

Fenugreek Seed 550mg – Fenugreek, a type of seed, can help increase your breast milk supply. Herbs with this effect are known as galactagogues, Fenugreek, is one of the most well-known galactagogues[x].

Milk Thistle – Like fenugreek, milk thistle has also been shown to have galactagogue effects [xi

Life & Soul Omega 3 Fish Oil Mini Capsules (120 Caps) - The omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and EPA are important for brain development and cognitive performance in the developing infant[xii] [xiii]. Taking fish oil in supplement form may also reduce the risk of toxicity from fish high in mercury[xiv].

Please ensure all supplements and herbal supplements or formulas are ok to use whilst lactating. You may need to revisit your practitioner for advice or speak with us to ensure the products you are taking are ok to do so at this time.

Diet and lifestyle recommendations for breast feeding

Reduce caffeine consumption: some fizzy drinks, dark chocolate, teas and coffees contain caffeine which can be transferred to your baby through breastmilk. Caffeine is a stimulant and can make your baby restless [xv].

Be mindful of alcohol consumption: Regarding alcohol, it is generally best to abstain. However, the advice if you do drink, is to limit intake to one standard drink per day and to wait at least 2 hours after that drink to breastfeed.

Limit highly processed foods: Early research has suggested that a mother’s diet while breastfeeding may influence her child’s diet in later life[xvi] [xvii].

Be mindful of aluminium: Due to the potential risk of toxicity to both infants and women, it has been advised that lactating women decrease their use of aluminium-based products and antiperspirant [xviii]. Try Vinofresh Natural Stick Deodorant.

Great foods for breast milk production

Avocados: Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These nutrients support the nutrition of the infant. They can also help with the increased caloric demands of nursing, due to their healthy fat content[xix].

Oats: Oats are a popular choice among breastfeeding mother’s to help support the milk supply. They are also a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals[xx].

Sesame seeds: Seen In Mexico, some breastfeeding women consume sesame seed cakes for increased milk production. These seeds are rich in calcium, which may explain some of their effects on breast milk[xxi].

General dietary advice for breastfeeding

Other great diet choices include eating more leafy green vegetables and protein-rich foods.

A varied diet can also help prevent common nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy and lactation, such as deficiencies in: magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and calcium[xxii].

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.