I am currently breastfeeding my second baby and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to support both my babies with nourishing breast milk. Although most of the time my supply was enough for their growing needs, my second breastfeeding journey has had some ups and downs due to consistent sickness during the cold seasons. With a toddler at daycare and a compromised immune system (two close births and a sustained breastfeeding period), I caught Covid-19 for the first time and had strep throat three times throughout a 6 months period.

So I wanted to share my knowledge in this area, gained from my studies with Oh Baby Holistic School of Nutrition, my own experience and that of my clients.

As a nutritionist and as a mother, the fact that breast milk is the most appropriate nourishment for our babies is indisputable. Breast milk has micro and macro nutrients in ideal ratios and in the most absorbable forms for your baby. But what’s most impressive is that breast milk is alive – literally – and it contains breast-specific macrophages (white blood cells that is an important part of the immune system), antibacterial enzymes and antibodies, hormones and growth factors, vitamins and minerals, stem cells and other live cells, hunger related hormones, prebiotics (oligosaccharides) and beneficial probiotic strains to support your baby’s digestive and immune health.

When it comes to milk supply, although nutrition has its role, the most important aspect is the thoroughness of milk removal. Simply put, your baby and how efficiently he or she will be drinking is what will influence your breast milk supply the most. In order to make sure you’re both on the right track, I warmly recommend talking with a lactation consultant. This is not my area of expertise, but if you live in and around Zurich, I am sure that Johanna from Milk & Motherhood will be able to support you.

Especially during those first few months (and beyond), breastfeeding on demand is my main advice. While their demand could sometimes be overwhelmingly often, this is what has helped me most to regulate my supply in the beginning when my breasts were very often engorged (especially with my first baby, less so with my second).

If you feel, at any point, that your supply is not enough, the first thing is to check in with your baby’s growth and development. Is your baby growing and wetting diapers regularly? Then most probably you have nothing to worry about. Once we become mothers, especially due to the social media noise out there, we tend to doubt ourselves too much and too often. And I often hear mothers saying they don’t have enough milk to feed their babies, but in reality babies have different needs. So check in with their growth and ensure yourself that you are doing a great job – and your best!

Then, make sure to focus on the basics:

  • Unresisted breastfeeding to properly balance supply and demand
  • Thoroughness of milk removal by making sure the latch is correct (hello lactation consultant)
  • Your well being through comfort and relaxation, both physical and psychological. Find a comfortable place to breastfeed and use a breastfeeding pillow. Connect with other mothers who are going through the same journey. As beautiful as they can be, those newborn months are very lonely. You’ll spend hours alone breastfeeding your baby, day and night.
  • Skin to skin with your baby as often as possible (also during winter months, cover yourself with a warm blanket or duvet) and babywearing (I found that elastic wraps are perfect for a newborn tiny delicate little body)
  • Additional pumping is also meant to increase your supply, but make sure to talk to a lactation consultant not to overdo it
  • Listen to your hunger cues, this is no time to restrict food. Whenever you are hungry, make sure you have something to snack on if a proper meal is not an option.
  • Eat a variety of foods, focusing on nutrient-rich foods that not only enrich your breastmilk, but also support your postpartum recovery
  • Build balanced meals with wholefood sources of carbohydrates, healthy fats and enough protein. Did you know that if a breastfeeding mother consumed the RDA of protein recommended for a non-pregnant/non-lactating woman, she would need to mobilise about 19% of her lean tissue to support 6 months of milk production? We tend to eat carbohydrates rich foods whenever we don’t have enough time to prepare our food – and especially refined carbohydrates. If you need any support around your nutrition, I would be more than happy to support you. Book a free discovery call to chat about how we can work together.
  • Drink plenty of water and further hydrate yourself by consuming electrolyte drinks and fruits and vegetables. There’s no need to drink a ridiculous amount of water though, just make sure you have at least one glass of water per breastfeeding session (250 ml) and you drink to your thirst throughout the day (and night).
  • Watch coffee consumption. You can still drink coffee while breastfeeding (I have a dedicated blog post on this topic), but this godly drink can be quite dehydrating, so make sure you watch your consumption in case you have issues with your breast milk supply.

There are some foods that can help support your milk supply, but I have to be honest with you. There aren’t enough solid research studies to support their efficiency, yet they’ve proven to be effective for some women and less so for others. It’s a bit of a trial to see what works for you and what now. I’ll list them below so you can have them closeby:

  • apricots
  • asparagus
  • barley
  • beets
  • brown rice
  • carrots & carrot seeds
  • coconut water
  • dandelion greens
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • green beans
  • green papaya
  • millet
  • oatmeal
  • peas
  • sesame seeds
  • sweet potatoes

In addition, the following lactogenic herbs* and “superfoods” are told to also support breast milk production temporarily:

  • Herbs: alfalfa, anise, fennel, fenugreek, nettle, turmeric
  • Others: barley grass, spirulina, brewer’s yeast, moringa

*Could be effective for some and do nothing for others. Also, make sure you pay attention to how the baby responds after you consume them. It’s always best to consult with a professional herbalist.

And to conclude, dear mother, I couldn’t emphasise more that breastfeeding is not the time to restrict your meals. You and your baby need proper nourishment to recover and to thrive during these amazingly intensive first months. 




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