Once you’ve established your breastmilk supply, maintaining it is key. Many moms come to Milky Mama looking for advice on what snacks are best to eat during their nursing journey. The key to supporting a steady supply of breastmilk is proper hydration and nutrition. While there are many factors that affect your ability to produce, you can enhance your output by making sure you take care of your nutrition.
So many times, moms are told to drink a ton of water to maintain a good supply of breastmilk, but is this necessary? Should you be drinking 2 to 3 times your bodyweight in water? According to Nancy Mohrbacher of IBCLC and FILCA, substantial increases in water intake do not positively impact breastmilk production.
In fact, if you drink more water than your body can process, it will divert water away from your breasts and eventually decrease your supply. You should aim to stay properly hydrated by drinking water or juice while you’re nursing or pumping. Also keep an eye on your thirst levels. If you start to feel thirsty, drink some water, juice, or milk. You can also drink broths, teas, and soups.
The key here is to make sure you’re drinking when you’re thirsty. Don’t force yourself to drink more liquids, thinking that increasing your fluid intake will increase your milk supply.
One thing you CAN indulge in that will help support your production is high-protein snacks. While there aren’t any strict rules regarding diet for a breastfeeding mom, focus on choosing healthy options. Leafy greens like spinach, collards, and turnips are great for production, as are oats and grains.
Consuming high-calorie and high-protein snacks will keep you energized while also boosting your supply. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can choose beans, lentils, granola, and sun butters. All of which are high in protein and will help you feel full longer.
Save or print this little cheat sheet of recommended servings and food stuffs you should start including in your diet for optimal production support:
Keep in mind that for each baby you’re feeding, you need to consume 400 to 500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding. Keep high-protein snacks on hand to eat while you’re breastfeeding or pumping. If you can’t eat and feed or pump at the same time, make sure you’re eating directly before or after.
If you are looking for some snacks and treats that are chock-full of supply-boosting power, check out our Milky Mama Treats! Our Lactation Brownies and Lactation LeMOOnade are some of our most popular treats that support mama's breastmilk supply.
Breastfeeding your little one provides lasting benefits for you both, but keep in mind that you have to replace everything that your body is giving away. Take in the appropriate amount of water for your body size, eat a good amount of protein, keep your fiber intake in check, and only eat one potential allergen at a time. You have to take care of you, in order to take care of your baby. Keep this in mind as you choose your meals.
Quick aside regarding allergens: increase your intake of one potential allergen (i.e. whole milk, eggs, strawberries, nuts, etc) at a time. Observe if or how your little one reacts. This will help you determine if your baby has any sensitivities or potential future allergies.
The most important idea to keep in mind is that YOU must be nourished first. Keep a balanced diet, with proper liquid intake, and monitor the foods you are eating for any reactions. Drink to your thirst and treat yourself ;) to all the yummy snacks you want, mama!