Tag Archives: exercise

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.

Breastfeeding And Exercise

Mother exercising with breastfed baby

Does breastfeeding and exercise go together?

Many moms feel called to exercise and get their pre-pregnancy body back. And, generally speaking, that is a terrific goal that will give you more energy and better health. However if you are breastfeeding, you have to approach exercise in a smart way, otherwise you could see a backlash in your milk production. Here are the rules of the breastfeeding and exercise:

Breastfeeding and Exercise Rule #1: Medical Clearance

Get clearance from your doctor or other health care professional before beginning any exercise routine. Delivering a baby is an incredible physical stress on your body, similar to breaking your arm or leg. Your body needs sufficient chance to heal and recover. Organs need to shift to where they belong. And like a broken bone mending, this process takes time and is a bit different for every woman. Even if you are not breastfeeding, be sure to get medical clearance before exercising.

Breastfeeding and Exercise Rule #2: Avoid Overexertion

After “borrowing” our bodies to the baby during pregnancy and waiting six to eight weeks or more to get medical clearance a lot of moms want to dive right in with a rigorous exercise routine. It’s tempting but overexertion can cause your body to cut milk production. When push comes to shove your body values your life more than the life of your baby and if the exertion of your exercise routine is too much for your body to handle, it will cut milk production to conserve energy.

And speaking of overexertion, it doesn’t have to be exercise in the conventional sense. Even seemingly little things like cleaning the house before company arrives can cause a reduction in your milk supply.

To avoid overexertion, ease into your exercise routine. To start with keep your heart rate at 120 bpm or lower during exercise. If that goes well, increase to 130 bpm in two weeks and to 140 bpm two weeks after that. This will allow your body to get used to the demand of exercise without penalizing your milk production.

Breastfeeding and Exercise Rule #3: Diet smart

Almost all exercise programs include a diet component, however drastic dieting, calorie cutting and weight loss can cause your body to go into “starvation mode.” This survival that helped our species survive famines works by cutting out all nonessential functions including milk production.

Making breast milk is a calorie intensive process, so be sure you are getting enough high quality calories.

Final thoughts on Breastfeeding and Exercise

In general dieting and exercise are terrific means to better health, more energy and feeling good about how we look. However breastfeeding moms need to take a balanced approach to diet and exercise. Get the okay from your doctor, ease into an exercise routine, and make smart choices about your diet. If you do these things, you can continue breastfeeding and reach your fitness and body goals!