Have you ever taken a moment to reflect on the incredible capabilities of our bodies? For over nine months, they nurture and grow new life within us. And when the time is right, our little ones arrive. It's a magical moment when a newborn is placed on Mama's tummy, and the baby instinctively seeks out the mother's breast for that very first feed, a process known as the "breast crawl." Our bodies grow babies, babies find the breast on their own, and our bodies produce milk uniquely tailored for them. It's an astounding collaboration between our bodies and our babies, adjusting milk composition as needed over time.
How truly amazing is that?
To understand which foods support breast milk production, it's essential to grasp the composition of breast milk itself. Breast milk is essentially sugar water. It's notably low in fat and contains very little protein but it's exceptionally rich in sugar and carbohydrates. This is vital knowledge because, unfortunately, women are often discouraged from eating fruit based on well-intentioned but misinformed advice from some healthcare professionals. What may come as a surprise is that breast milk's high glucose content serves a vital purpose – the development and growth of the baby, particularly the baby's brain. Babies require a substantial amount of carbohydrates to ensure proper growth and development. (Credit to the Medical Medium for this insight!)
Today, we're delving into essential foods and herbs for breastfeeding, recognizing that each journey is unique. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional regarding appropriate dosages.
Top 8 Foods & Herbs for Breastfeeding:
Potatoes: Focus on potatoes, especially non-sweet potatoes, like russet and yukon gold. Potatoes are packed with macro and trace minerals, potassium, vitamin B6, and amino acids, supporting breast milk supply and providing grounding nutrition for tired mamas.
Raspberry Leaf Tea: This herb tones the uterus, aids in postpartum recovery, and enhances the production of breast milk. It also fortifies breast milk with vitamins and minerals, making it more nutritious for your baby.
Avocados: The food with the closest nutritional profile to breast milk. Avocados are a complete, easily digestible food rich in essential nutrients, including iron, copper, magnesium, and healthy fats. They enhance nutrient absorption and support overall health.
Celery Juice: This miraculous elixir provides trace minerals, vitamin C, and essential sodium cluster salts for your baby's organ development. It also detoxifies breast milk, ensuring purity for your little one.
Fruit: Fruit contains minerals, antioxidants and critical glucose to support breastfeeding mothers. I often hear mama's say they crave sweet things (sugar, candy, chocolate) while nursing. Adding more glucose from fruit to your diet helps diminish these cravings.
Nettle Leaf: Nettle lowers inflammation, strengthens adrenal function, and boosts breast milk supply. It's rich in Vitamin K, iron, and calcium, aiding postpartum recovery.
Barley Grass Juice Powder: Packed with vitamins, minerals, absorbable protein, and amino acids, barley grass supports healthy milk supply and production, according to a study in Breastfeeding Medicine.
Fenugreek: A known milk booster, fenugreek is rich in nutrients and can significantly increase milk production in lactating women.
By incorporating these foods and herbs into your diet, both your baby and your milk supply will benefit.
And here's a fun tidbit: your body naturally selects the best of your diet and channels it into your breast milk to nourish your baby. So when you eat fruits, potatoes, greens, and wholesome foods, your body automatically transforms them into breast milk to nourish your little one. This is an invaluable piece of knowledge during the incredible yet sometimes challenging journey of motherhood.