By now, we all know that breastfeeding is liquid gold. It is the best food and in ideal circumstances, should be the only food for your baby during his or her first 6 months of life. More than just providing nutrition, it provides antibodies, growth hormones and supports in developing a healthy gut microbiota in your little one!
All that said, it takes a lot of commitment and perseverance for mommies to breastfeed their little ones! Time and time again, one of the main concerns raised by the majority of mothers are “How do I establish or increase my milk supply?” or “ Am I even producing enough breast milk?”. So let’s dive in!
How much milk is enough?
First and foremost, do you know what the average intake volume per feeding is? Do you know how breastfeeding progresses from day 1 to day 30? To answer these questions, we need to first understand the size of your little one’s tummy.
Babies’ tummy can be as small as a cherry and grows into the size of an egg in just a matter of weeks! So it is normal for babies to get hungry very often shortly after one feed in the beginning.
Research has found that a baby’s stomach that can take 20ml of breastmilk at a time, takes about an hour to digest and be emptied out to be filled again with breastmilk. So, if your little one is crying for more, it is a good sign! This does not mean your breastmilk is insufficient to keep them settled.
Let them suckle on the breast as it will stimulate your breast to produce more and more milk. There will be growth spurts along the way and you will notice that your baby suddenly wants more milk than usual.
Do not worry, as their tummy grows, your breast milk volume will grow too. Your breast milk production will work based on demand and supply. The more they are able to take in later, the longer the intervals will be. Once established, average breast milk production ranges from 120ml to 210ml per feed as your baby grows from 1 to 6 months old.
Identifying possible influences on breastmilk supply
Sometimes, even after mastering the proper latch with your little one and doing all the right steps, there are times you may see a drop in your breast milk. It gets to you and you are worried you would not be able to snap back up to your regular milk supply. Here are some reasons below.
Insufficient Feeds or Missed Feeds
There are a few other factors that may influence your breast milk supply from time to time. One of them is that your baby does not feed often enough especially when he or she may not feel well. Most babies feed at least 8 to 12 times a day. It is also good practice to always offer both breasts to your little one during each feed too. It is okay if your little one only wants to nurse on one breast occasionally, but if this happens too often, your milk supply can take a dip. In severe cases, especially if you miss a feed or two, you may experience engorged breasts, subsequently Mastitis. Therefore, to ensure milk supply is stable despite occasions like this is to pump the breast that was not nursed. If you’re planning an outing with your friends or may not be at home due to other reasons where you are unable to breastfeed, do pump and not miss your feeds! This will protect your milk supply until your baby is ready to take more at each feeding.
Besides that, one of the biggest enemies to breast milk supply is stress. What are you worrying about, mummy? Is it people’s unsupportive comments about you choosing to breastfeed? Insufficient help around the house? Tired and stressed out about the readjustment in your lifestyle to keep up with your little one’s needs? Stress hormones can affect the hormones that help you to produce breast milk. When you’re severely stressed, You may see a dip when this happens. Your needs are valid. So whatever it is that you feel stressed about, do not be afraid to seek help and talk about it with someone. Get help around the house, play tag team with your partner to fulfil your baby’s needs especially with night feeds. Better yet, order confinement food services so that your daily nutrition needs to support breastfeeding is covered. Gone will be the days you break your head thinking of what to cook or what to eat.
What will proper nutrition do to your breastmilk?
Improve Nutritional Density of Breastmilk
Contrary to the popular saying that breastmilk is the perfect food for your baby, it is actually conditionally perfect. Why so? A mother’s dietary intake can influence the nutritional density of her breast milk. This means the better a mother eats, the better her breast milk can be for her child. Some of the nutrients like omega 3-DHA, vitamin D, vitamin Bs ( except folate), iodine, choline and vitamin A are directly related to maternal dietary intake. These nutrients helps your baby in:
|Omega 3 DHA||Support brain development and vision|
|Vitamin D||Supports bones and teeth growth, as well as the immune system|
|Vitamin B1, B6||Supports good immune system and healthy brain development|
|Iodine||Support brain development and thyroid hormone regulation|
|Choline||Supports brain development|
|Vitamin A||Helps develop healthy vision|
So this is why it is important for mummies to eat a well balanced and healthy diet every day while she breastfeeds. Beyond just providing for your child through breast milk, good nutrition sustains you and restores any depleting nutritional stores from breastfeeding. A mother who is nourished and healthy is a mother who can attend to her child well.
Improve Breast Milk Supply
Limited evidence is available but some foods may have potential lactogenic effects. Some of the foods that boost breast milk supply are green papaya, ginger, garlic, fennel and fenugreek. These are ingredients that can be easily added to your already healthy and well-balanced meals.
Another creative way to boost breast milk supply is by having drinks to boost milk supply. One of the more popular drinks available to boost breast milk is moringa tea. Many of these ingredients are used for this purpose from traditional practices in Asia. Beyond influencing milk supply, many of these food ingredients are high in vitamin C, rich in antioxidants and contain anti-cancer properties which are good for health.
Food like ginger, garlic, fennel and fenugreek are high in fibre which also helps to create a healthy gut microbiome. When your gut is healthy, your immune system is supported well too.
Reviewed by a dietitian, RelactoSg menu plan is designed in such a way where it supports breastfeeding both in nutritional density and milk supply. Beyond just providing healthy and balanced meals for mummies to consume, the menu is also filled with a variety of fusion and traditional dishes to keep mummies interested and motivated to eat well during this time. If you’re considering one that has the above qualities to support you and your little one, do check us out!