10 Amazing Tips to Improve Breast Milk Quality
Choosing to breastfeed is giving your child a special gift. All studies have proven that when it comes to the nutrition newborns need to grow and thrive, breast milk is best. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not always simple for a lot of mothers. They often have problems that include not making enough milk and not having the quality of milk they thought. Fortunately, these problems are not insurmountable.
Below are 10 things that you can do to make higher-quality breast milk.
1. Drink a Lot of Fluids
When you breastfeed, you lose a lot of fluids in your body, so it’s crucial that you replace those fluids on a daily basis. While there is no set amount of fluids that you must drink, if you aim for 8-10 glasses per day of water, fruit juice, or milk, you should be fine. Just remember that the baby is going to consume a lot of fluids each feeding time and there has to be enough fluids in your body to provide that to them.
2. Eat as Though You’re Still Pregnant
When you’re breastfeeding, it is not a time to diet or restrict the number of calories you consume. Just like when you’re pregnant, your body needs extra calories. According to many sources, it takes an extra 300 to 500 calories per day to make enough breast milk to feed your baby. You also need to eat nutritious foods, focusing on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. In a way, you are still “eating for two,” since the baby will be consuming what you consume through the milk.
3. Try to Avoid Things That Aren’t Good for You
Learning how to improve breast milk quality includes avoiding things that are harmful to the baby. This includes alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, among others. Remember that while you’re breastfeeding, the baby will get at least a little bit of the foods and drinks you consume, and you don’t want them to get any of the things that they simply don’t need. If it’s bad for you, it’s bad for them.
4. Learn to Manage Your Stress
If you’re overly stressed, it can affect both the quality and the amount of breast milk that you produce. This is sometimes tough for first-time mothers who just got home and have a newborn, but it’s still important. When the baby sleeps, try to do some deep breathing, practice yoga, or meditate so that you can keep your stress levels as low as possible. If you’re too stressed or you feel tense or worried a lot, it’s going to affect your breast milk.
5. Get as Much Sleep as Possible
Again, this is difficult for first-time moms, but instead of doing housework or laundry when the baby sleeps, it’s best if you try to get in a nap as well. The less sleep you get, the harder the body has to work to make milk for the baby, affecting both its quantity and quality. It’s natural to be sleep deprived when you’re the mother of a newborn but try to sleep as much as possible anyway.
6. Consider Taking Supplements
A lot of nursing mothers continue to take their prenatal vitamins just like they did when they were pregnant. While this isn’t necessary, it’s still a good idea to take supplements when you’re nursing. This is especially important if you know that you’re not getting the vitamins and minerals you need because you’re too tired to eat right. It also ensures that the baby will be getting those nutrients as well.
7. Pay Attention to Your Diet and Baby’s Reactions to it
Many newborns have sensitive stomachs, so if you eat foods such as broccoli, onions, cabbage, or garlic, the baby may react to it. If you notice a rash or fussiness several hours after you eat a particular food, it may very well be that that food doesn’t agree with your child. Keep a diary if you have to, but it’s also a good idea to avoid foods such as these from the very beginning, at least for the first few months.
8. Consider Pumping and Storing Breast Milk
The more often you breastfeed, the more milk you make. If your baby starts to eat less for a few days, which is not that uncommon, you might want to consider pumping and storing your breast milk. This will keep your milk production coming in regularly, so you always have enough. These scenarios are no reason to panic, but if you are worried about how much milk you have coming in, pumping can help.
9. Pay Special Attention to Any Unique Diet That You May Be Following
If you follow a special diet, such as if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, keep in mind that you have to make sure that your baby is getting enough protein, iron, and calcium. Supplements help, but you should also eat more of the foods that add these nutrients to your diet. These include leafy green veggies and dried fruit for iron, soy milk and yogurt for calcium, and lentils and nuts for protein.
10. Try to Nurse Frequently
Babies can have sporadic eating schedules when they first get home, but if you try to nurse frequently, it increases the odds of making both a lot of milk and a higher quality of milk. Trying to nurse every two to three hours is a good idea, but of course, you have to be ready to feed the baby whenever they’re hungry. It’s not an exact science, but nursing frequently is a smart idea.