There is so much to prepare when you’re awaiting the birth of your new baby. You’re reading books and blogs (if this is your first time to Baby Settler, welcome!), nesting by getting the baby things ready, and exploring names and their meanings. If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, you should also take your breastmilk into consideration when preparing for your little one.
Firstly, the milk that comes in earlier in your pregnancy is different to the milk that comes in a few days after your baby is born.
The Difference Between Colostrum And Mature Milk
Colostrum is the early milk that starts being made a few months into pregnancy and comes in after your baby is born. This substance is full of nutrients and protein which is easy to digest for little ones’ tiny tummies, and helps to develop their immune systems.
This early milk is yellow in color, and gives way to mature milk around day two to five post birth.
After a newborn gets the super dose of vitamins and minerals from colostrum, your body transitions to producing mature milk, which has less protein and more fat and carbohydrates.
It’s important to remember that every pregnancy and mother is different – when your milk comes in and transitions is unique to you.
Breastfeeding Can Help Your Baby Develop Their Internal Clock
Breastmilk in the morning is different to breastmilk at night.
Very Well Family explains, “Breastmilk is like a biological clock, literally changing by the hour. For instance, breastmilk contains low levels of an amino acid called tryptophan (the precursor to the ‘sleep’ hormone melatonin) in the morning and much higher levels at night. By breastfeeding, you are helping your infant establish their circadian rhythm of being awake during the day and asleep at night.”
There is no denying that breastmilk deserves the title of liquid gold when it comes to newborn development. One of the fascinating things about pregnant and breastfeeding women is that their body will take nutrients from the body to make sure that the milk is top quality. “Even severely malnourished mothers produce great breastmilk, because the body takes nutrients from the mother’s own body to supply the baby,” points out Hello Motherhood.
There are a few tips to consider to make sure your milk is as nutritionally dense as possible, and in large supply.
Before we dive in, know that breastfeeding isn’t available to every mother – and that’s okay! While breastmilk is amazing for your baby’s health, there are many alternatives out there that will give your child an incredible nutritional start to life.
Eat Enough Calories
Breastfeeding your little one is a workout – women can burn around 700 calories in just one day! So, it is important that you’re eating enough calories to sustain your milk production and your own health.
In order to maintain your weight and keep up your energy levels, Healthline recommends women who live a sedentary lifestyle to eat 2,250 to 2,500 calories per day, women with a moderately active lifestyle 2,450 to 2,700 calories per day, and women with an active lifestyle 2,650 to 2,900 calories per day.
In what foods should you consume these calories?
Get All Your Vitamins And Minerals
No matter what stage you are in your life, eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients is important. When you’re breastfeeding, you want your diet to consist of mainly healthy foods. You also want to include meals that can help you increase your breastmilk.
You’re losing a lot more calories while breastfeeding. Consuming healthy fats can go a long way in satiating you. Parents.com suggests making avocados and nuts a regular part of your diet. Not only are these foods healthy sources of fat, they also contain vitamins K and B.
If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast as a breastfeeding mom, look no further than oatmeal. Oats a great source of iron which helps in breastmilk supply. Cut up some apples and add some honey in a bowl of warm oatmeal. Or whip up some overnight oats with chia seeds and blueberries.
Additionally, make Baker Mama’s lactation bites filled with oats, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.
Don’t Drink, Or Instead, Plan Your Alcohol Consumption
Alicia C. Simpson, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, told Today’s Parent that alcohol can be considered an anti lactogenic – a food that decreases your milk supply. She advises against chronic, long-term alcohol consumption. Or even one night of heavy drinking, which has been known to cause a drop in breastmilk. However, one glass of wine isn’t going to produce this effect.
According to the CDC, “Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. However, moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink/day) is not known to be harmful to the infant.”
Alcohol is found in breastmilk for around two to three hours after having a drink; so, if you’ve been craving that glass of wine for nine months, you can plan it out. If you’re feeding your baby every two to three hours, I’d recommend feeding your baby (or pumping) while you’re having a drink. By timing it out, your baby will finish feeding and it’s going to be two to three hours before they need to feed again, giving the small amount of alcohol you’ve drank time to not be present in your breastmilk.
To read more about alcohol, breastfeeding, and whether you should pump and dump, click here.
While breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood, it does not mean that it is easy. It can be difficult to feel comfortable with the process. It is filled with questions such as, “Is my baby getting enough? Why am I in pain? Why isn’t my baby latching?”.
To help you confidently make decisions when it comes to breastfeeding your child, I created Breastfeeding Made Easy. Click here to start the course!