In a recent survey completed by UC Davis, 92 percent of new mothers self-reported having trouble breastfeeding.
Baby’s latch, pain, nipple confusion, exhaustion, and depleted milk supply are just some of the challenges that new moms face when beginning to nurse.
Though it can be incredibly difficult, the benefits of breastfeeding for baby's immune health, gut health, and general well being are widespread! But, did you know that breastfeeding can be wonderful for the mother’s health as well?
Research shows that breastfeeding can:
- Reduce maternal bleeding after delivery
- Facility positive metabolic changes
- Facilitate postpartum weight loss
- Reduce stress
- Delay ovulation
- Reduce type 2 diabetes risk
- Reduce cardiovascular risk
- Reduce breast cancer risk
- Reduce ovarian cancer risk
TLDR: Secreting and releasing breast milk causes hormones to flow through the mother’s body that promote positive mood, good sleep, and the general feeling of health and well-being!
Given these potential benefits, it is important that we offer every possible form of support to nursing moms in hopes that the rewards will be worth the challenges.
What can we do to support breastfeeding moms?
In order for mom to produce enough milk, she needs ample physical, emotional, and nutritional support. Someone to hold baby while mom naps, bathes, and/or eats. Someone to prepare nourishing meals and hot drinks. Someone to tend to house chores so that she can avoid exertion while her body goes about the endless work of draining fluids that were needed to grow baby to term and repair muscle, ligaments, and tissues that expanded and contracted to accommodate and birth baby.
The ability to produce milk is very closely tied to how supported mama is — she is not meant to care for herself and baby alone! Rest is key, as is nourishment. The right nourishment can have a huge impact on breast milk supply!
Above all, insufficient milk supply is the most common reason that women stop breastfeeding. That’s why we’re here to help!
What can you eat to increase milk supply?
Luckily, there are a number of foods and herbs that have been relied on for centuries to increase breast milk production. Their effectiveness has also been confirmed by modern research.
3 of the best foods for breastfeeding are:
Oats: Oats are one of the most commonly cited galactagogues for supporting breast milk production. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that's thought to raise the levels prolactin, one of the primary hormones involved in breast milk production. Oats are also full of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, nutrients that are commonly depleted through pregnancy and all essential to support breast milk production.
Flax: Flax seeds are an excellent ally for breastfeeding moms. Flax seeds contain phytoestrogens, which are associated with stimulation of the milk glands and greater production of breast milk. Phytoestrogens also help to bind to excess estrogen in the body, which can disrupt the balance of the symphony of hormones involved in breast milk production. Finally, flax is excellent to support digestion and elimination. Thriving digestion is essential for breastfeeding as it is the core process that enables the assimilation of nutrients that will ultimately be found in breast milk.
Brewer’s yeast: Brewer's Yeast is a great, nutrient-packed addition for nursing moms because it contains iron, B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, and zinc. Again, these are nutrients that are commonly depleted through pregnancy and all essential to support breast milk production.
What are the best ways to consume these foods?
Bowls of hot oatmeal with a variety of toppings and warming spices, smoothies with flax, and baked goods with brewer’s yeast are just a few delicious ways to incorporate these foods into a daily routine. We worked with our Medical Advisors to create the best lactation cookies that include all three of these foods to make it easy for you to enjoy the incredible benefits of these naturally milk-supportive foods.