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WORLD BREAST FEEDING WEEK: NOURISHMENT STARTS WITH YOU

Breast feeding can be daunting for a new mother, with common concerns including pain, inconvenience, as well as quantity and quality of the milk. While many of these concerns may seem out of your control, there are things that you can do to alleviate some of your concerns.

Patrick recommends a healthy diet combined with persistence when breastfeeding for your and your baby’s health.

“As long as you are well nourished, your milk supply will meet your baby’s needs. As with learning any new skill, it can be difficult and sometimes painful at first, but it is worth persisting as there are so many advantages to breast feeding,” says Patrick.

BENEFITS FOR YOU

So often, we hear about the benefits of breast feeding for baby but rarely about the benefits for the mother. Here are a few interesting facts:

  • Weight loss – your baby will consume about 500 calories a day, even when you are eating more, you can expect your weight to shift much easier.
  • Recovery – suckling promotes the release of oxytocin, a hormone which stimulates your uterus to contract back into its pre-birth size.
  • Save money and time – you can eliminate any sterilisation or formula costs, and save time without needing to clean or prepare anything.

HEALTHY EATING FOR NUTRITIOUS FEEDING

A healthy mom equals a healthy baby so be sure to eat a well-balanced diet for nourishing milk production. Here are a few guidelines you can follow:

  • Protein – eat a protein food with each meal and snack, particularly if you feel like you aren’t producing enough milk or if it’s not satisfying your baby. Eat plenty of eggs, yoghurt, fish, lean meat, pulses, nuts and seeds.
  • Stay hydrated – the volume of milk is also determined by how much liquid you drink. Your baby will need about a litre of water a day so you should be drinking at least three litres a day.
  • Stress – while not always under our control, it is important to minimise your stress as this impedes milk flow.
  • Avoid foods that you couldn’t eat while you were pregnant. These foods can still pass on food poisoning bacteria through your milk.
  • Cut out stimulants, sugar and artificial additives like coffee, tea and fizzy drinks.
  • You can start to drink alcohol again in moderation; however, it is best to have it after you have given your baby their last main feed of the day, so that by their night feed, the alcohol would have begun to dissipate. Be aware of any hiccups, colic or reactions though, as this would indicate that you should stop having alcohol at all.