Tag Archives: dieting

Breastfeeding Diet

Two Kinds of Breastfeeding Diets

There are many health benefits to breastfeedingThere are two kinds of breastfeeding diets: one is a diet in the sense of a “weight-loss” diet. The other is a diet in the sense of “what kinds of foods can help with breastfeeding – both milk quality and milk quantity.” We’ll talk about both kinds of diets in this article.

Rule #1 of a Breastfeeding Diet

It is possible to diet to lose weight and successfully breastfeed at the same time, however it can be very tricky because breast milk is produced by the food (calories) you eat. If you limit your calories too much your body won’t have the raw materials available to create milk and your milk supply could suffer or even shut down.

The guidance you’ll often hear from medical professionals is that pregnant women should consume about 300 additional calories beyond what they typically consume for growth of the fetus/baby. What surprises a lot of breastfeeding women looking to diet is that the same medical professionals recommend that breastfeeding moms consume 500 additional calories for the production of breast milk!

Too aggressive of exercise or breastfeeding dieting can negatively affect milk productionWhat that means is that if you’re looking for a breastfeeding diet that’ll help shed that extra pregnancy weight, look for a diet that is based on calorie intake and exercise (as opposed to a diet that restricts certain food groups, such as a low carb diet or paleo diet). Find your daily calorie target. For most women this is between 1200 and 1800 calories. Add to that target 500 calories for breastfeeding. While you’ll be eating 500 more calories per day than what your diet plan calls for, these breastfeeding calories magically get converted into breast milk to feed your baby, so they don’t really count. Hit your daily calorie target and exercise sensibly and the weight will drop off and you’ll be able to breastfeed successfully.

Very aggressive dieting or exercise can and usually will have a negative impact on your breast milk production. If you notice your milk supply is not as high as you want it to be, ease up on the exercise or add in a bit more calories. Finally don’t begin any breastfeeding diet until your milk supply and your breastfeeding relationship is well established.

A Breastfeeding Diet That Makes More Breast Milk

If you’re less concerned about a weight loss diet and instead are looking for a breastfeeding diet that helps breast milk production, this is the section for you.

breastfeeding diets must include certain ingredientsEating is so common, so everyday, that we often forget how important it is. What we eat and drink and when we eat or drink is the major determiner for how much we weigh, how healthy we are and how much energy we have. It contributes to what diseases we get or avoid and how long we’ll live. Given all that, it’s not much of a surprise that what we eat can increase or decrease our milk supply.

There are certain foods that seem to really help increase milk supply. They are: Oats (oatmeal), brewer’s yeast and fenugreek powder. The more of these three you can weave into your diet, the bigger the boost to your milk supply. Try searching online for recipes. Or better yet you can get 39 milk-boosting recipes in the book Milk Up!, which is included as a free gift with an order of Lactiful Supply Max (an herbal supplement that boosts breast milk production). Here’s a yummy recipe from the Milk Up! book:

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Lactation Cookies

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal, soaked in 8 tsp of water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 stick (1?2 cup) of butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
  • 1½  cups peanut butter
  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • ¾ cup plain M&M’s
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In large bowl, use mixer to combine first nine ingredients – eggs through peanut butter.
  3. Add oatmeal, candy, and chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.
  4. If dough is too sticky add another 1/2 cup oatmeal.
  5. Scoop large tablespoon-sized balls and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes. If using two racks, switch top to bottom and bottom to top about halfway through. 

What If Your Breastfeeding Diet Needs A Breast Milk Production Boost?

Often the fastest results can be achieved with a herbal breast milk booster. One observational study found that Lactiful Supply Max increased the breast milk production in 75% of the women who tried it regardless of the breastfeeding diet they were following, or not. You can learn more about Lactiful Supply Max and how it works here.

Dieting And Breastfeeding

A breastfeeding mom exercising with babyA common mistake many women make after having a baby is to start a diet and try to lose that pregnancy weight right away. Hollywood moms do this all the time right? So why not you? The answer is that under eating or over exercising or both puts a lot of stress on your body. Your body will often respond by cutting milk production because your body is hardwired to value your health in times of stress over the health of your baby. Cutting breast milk production is a simple action the body can take to preserve calories – which kind of defeats the purpose of dieting, doesn’t it?

If you are a breastfeeding mom, it is essential that you are eating enough food for your body to produce breast milk. Many women do not know this, but you need to eat more for breastfeeding than you had to for pregnancy! It is recommended that pregnant women eat an extra 300 calories a day, whereas breastfeeding mothers need 500 additional calories a day. Remember, your baby may be small but your baby is growing and needs to get a lot of calories to grow and develop – baby gets those calories from you! Be sure not to skip meals. Eat healthy food that’s balanced in fats, carbs and protein. Avoid chips, excessive sweets, and foods with low nutritional value. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying you cannot combine dieting and breastfeeding successfully. But if you are struggling with low milk supply, be sure you are getting plenty of milk-making nutrition and get your milk supply to where you want it before you begin a diet and exercise routine. Once your supply is established and your doctor has cleared you for exercise go ahead and lose that pregnancy weight. Just keep your weight loss to about one pound a week and your supply will be fine. On days that you exercise be sure to drink extra water and pay close attention to your milk supply – if it seems that your supply is down after vigorous exercise you’ll have to find a balancing point between the right amount of exertion to lose fat, but not lose milk.

Some resources also caution when dieting and breastfeeding to avoid rapid weight loss because the fat that is burned can release large amounts of toxins into your system that may overwhelm your liver and kidneys and may make their way to your breast milk. I have not seen any research to back up these claims, but it’s another reason to take a slow and steady approach to dieting.

To sum up: dieting and breastfeeding can go together, but not if you are experiencing low milk supply. Fix your supply first, then begin dieting. Keep weight loss to a pound a week and you’ll find success with dieting and continue breastfeeding. heart-logo