Healthy breastfeeding is a big part of my focus now that I am a Mom.
I have witness moms with many challenges when it comes to healthy breastfeeding. Lets be realistic. I will not lie to you and tell you that is easy and beautiful. Healthy breastfeeding in the beginning is hard and even painful. The first few days you do not have milk you have this yellow liquid called colostrum. Colostrum is super important for your baby’s health. This is how the baby will get your antibodies. Think of antibodies as being little cell soldiers that protect you from bad virus and bacteria. For example, if you had the flu, polio shot, chicken pox, mumps or anything like that on the past, your immune system developed antibodies to fight those things. You can then transfer those antibodies to your baby through your colostrum so your baby will be protected from all of those virus, bacteria, diseases… It is like the most healthy natural vaccine you can give your baby and there are no needles! 🙂
Proper latching will most likely be your first challenge. A lactation consultant will be your best resource for this. There are many factors play into latching. I don’t know if I am just more aware o fit now that I am a mom or if it is really the case but it seems like a lot of babies have tongue ties or lip ties nowadays. This makes a proper latching really really challenging and it may require a small procedure to release the tie so the baby can latch properly for healthy breastfeeding.
Ideally for the first 6 months you are going to be your baby’s sole source of nutrition and of course you want your baby to have the best nutrition possible. What you eat is what your baby will eat so be mindful of that. Some basic guidelines for healthy breastfeeding are:
- Keep taking your prenatal vitamin – now it will be your post natal.
- Eat organic, or as much organic as possible. I recommend avoiding the Dirty Dozen by EWG.
- Avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism), especially corn (high fructose corn syrup) and soy products. GMOs have been linked to food allergies and other digestive issues.
- Avoid food coloring, artificial flavors and preservatives. Food coloring has been linked to a lot of behavior issues such ADD, ADHD and autism.
- Drink plenty of water (1 gallon more or less per day)
- Eat lots of protein – 90 grams more or less
There are also herbs that can help you produce more milk if your supply is low. Milk thistle and Fennel are examples of that. Brewer’s yeast has also been popularly known to help produce more milk. The old wife’s tale is that black beer which is low in alcohol is that best one for that but I am not 100% on the science backing that fact. I can only say that I do enjoy have a Guinness here and there.
Healthy breastfeeding is amazing. Our body is amazing. The best thing you can do for your baby is having him/her nursing on you, rather than pumping if you can. That is because the baby’s saliva enters in contact with your cells and tell your body exactly what his nutrition needs are and in return your body produces the milk to fulfill that need. For example, if your baby is dehydrated his saliva will send a message to your brain that he needs more water and in return your brain will tell your mammary glands to produce milk that has lots of water. Now let’s say your kid is skinny and needs more fat, when he/she is nursing it will signal to produce more fatty milk. Now if your baby is just bottle fed (with breast milk) it will still get a good source of nutrition, it just won’t be made to order and that is ok too. We do the best you can. No guilt about it.
If you do have to feed formula I’m sure you are going to also do the best you can according to your financial situation. Formula can be quite expensive, I understand. If you can I would choose an organic one that does not contain soy since soy is mostly GMO. When I say GMO I don’t mean when someone crosses one tomato plant with another. I mean someone in lab through an artificial process removed a DNA strain from one plant or animal not even in the same species and inserted that DNA into another. Like taking an artificial pesticide and inserting that into the DNA of corn so that it now has pesticide inside its cell, not just sprayed on top of it.
I wish a Happy and Healthy Baby for all of you mammas out there! Have a healthy breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula feeding…hey as long as your feeding you are doing great!