have been reading a lot lately about breastfeeding and nursing mother’s diet because of my 4-month old son. I really wished that I had done it earlier as I just realised what I have missed out. Although my wife has been steadily taking care of her diet, me naturally being kiasu wants something more :). One of the things that I read up is on nursing mother’s diet. The purpose is two-prong. One is to know what food or supplements that she should take in to increase the nutrients in her breast milk or BF for short that can support growth, increase immune system in the baby as well as promotes faster braincell growth. The other one is to find out how she can increase her milk supply.
From what I understand, one of the most important ingredients in breastfeeding mother’s diet is the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) which can be obtained through eating significant amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 rich food. These food essentially are the likes of cod liver oil/fish oil, flaxseed, salmon and algae based-spirulina. So what’s the hung up on EFA? Nutrition in uterus and during the very first years of life plays a big role in determining a child’s cognitive abilities and intelligence. Touching, cuddling, and a stimulating environment, and even studying music all have been shown to affect cognitive performance. Essential fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fats are crucial to proper brain development in infants and children ? and crucial to proper brain functioning in adults. They contribute to the increased level of DHA in nursing mom’s diet. DHA is crucial to the optimal development of the brain in infancy and childhood. Breast milk boosts the brain growth because it contains lots of DHA ? provided that the mother herself eats things rich in omega-3 fatty acids. So DHA is the main reason why breastfeeding has been shown to increase a child’s intelligence. Several studies have provided consistent findings on the benefits of DHA in a baby’s diet. So where to source these wonderful Omega-3 and Omega-6? Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil which are available in most pharmacies such as Guardian or Watson. But they taste yukky.. I used to drink Haliborange Cod Live Oil but they no longer available on the shelf. I have tried it myself. So the best alternative now is through the capsules. Make sure the capsule is not bovine-based i.e. made of gelatin. Fish Oil capsules from Seven Seas and Bio Life are made from vege capsule. Whatever it is, make sure you check the labels.
Now on how to increase milk supply. It has been known that to increase milk supply, you need to increase the frequency of breastfeeding and expressing your milk. The more you breastfeed, the higher the milk supply. Don’t ever for a second worry about low supply of milk. Keep on giving it to baby no matter what. The milk will come, but make sure that you drink at least 3 litres of lukewarm water (air suam) in a day to support this process. Food known to increase supply of milk are pegaga, madu, spirulina, soya milk, sengkuang cina, jantung pisang, longan, sawi, lobak putih, carrot, brocoli, ikan tnggiri, oat, betik muda and kurma. Of course there are certain medications that can increase the milk supply such as Domperidone available over the counter at pharmacies but they are not recommended. Kindly take note too that the use of birth control pills can reduce milk supply dramatically. So those mothers who like to do family planning after your baby is born, make sure that you use condoms when having steamy time with your husband. Sometimes even though you don’t have your period as you are breastfeeding your child, accident can happen.
EXPRESSED BREAST MILK STOCK..FOR MOTHER COMMITTED TO BREASTFEEDING
(courtesy of Acar)
BREASTFEEDING MOM IN PHILLIPPINES
DOTING CELEBRITY FATHER, ADAM SANDLER
There are a couple of blogs which is a must-read for me for you to get some motivation to breastfeed your child exclusively. I suggest that you read these:
There is also a good book from amazon.com that you can check out. Sadly this book is not available locally. It’s called Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson.