When I was pregnant I remember looking at my boobs thinking how on earth are they going to make milk and wondering how it would feel or if I would even be able to produce milk. When my son was born he instinctively knew what to do plus my own maternal instinct kicked in (finally!) and it felt like the most natural thing in the world, creating one of those perfect cliché moments I will treasure forever.
What no one can prepare you for is the sensation of when your ‘milk comes in’, seriously I did not know that my chest could swell so much I thought I was going to burst and I can remember feeling like my skin was sun burnt, I was that hot.
Luckily this soon passed and I was fortunate that breast feeding worked for me, so well in fact I breast fed my son until he was almost 15 months old. There were moments where I felt like a milk machine and wanted to give up, especially when expressing, dealing with constant night feeds or getting nipped when teeth started to come through. Yes it was tough yet what helped me through was knowing I was making exactly what my son needed and for me this was my priority.
A mother’s milk is the primary source of nutrition for their baby and there are many factors that can impact the quantity and quality of milk produced. Whilst I was still in hospital a midwife told me that I can now eat all the cake I wanted which I didn’t agree with. Yes you need extra calories in your own diet to help become a milk making master but you want these extra calories to come from quality foods that will nourish and assist your own healing and recovery as well as promote your milk producing magic. Most women want to lose their ‘baby’ weight not hinder it by eating cake all day and the key to doing this easily is by eating wholefoods and gradually returning to exercise.
It’s important to realise that your milk production naturally operates on a supply and demand basis, the more your baby feeds the more you will produce. You will intuitively find you adapt to growth spurts and your milk consistency can also change.
If you want to maximise your milk production check out my top tips below:-
- You don’t need to eat chocolate every day to make good milk, you need to ensure you eat energy providing foods such as wholegrains, good fats and drink plenty of water. Most popular studies suggest an extra 500 kcals a day is needed when breastfeeding.
- My favourite milk producing food is oats, I ate porridge, muesli, flapjacks and even baked my own lactation cookies as not only was I constantly hungry and craved these foods I also found I produced a better quality milk.
- If you are returning to regular exercise ensure you don’t overdo it. Lactic acid which naturally builds up in the body as a result of exercising at a high intensity can change the flavour of your milk and not be to your baby’s taste.
- If you are tired then rest. Take the extra nap with bubba or leave all the household chores and put your feet up. You’re feeding a small human, every other job can wait!
- Make sure you regularly swop sides when feeding to ensure you maintain correct postural alignment as well as prevent back ache
- If you are exercising, schedule your workout after feeding so that you can move more comfortably and avoid any embarrassing leaks – yes this is the voice of experience talking!