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Breastfeeding has been a part of my life for years now. I’ve researched everything on keeping milk supply high, full of fat and nutrient dense. I am still breastfeeding my toddler, which is a new experience because I didn’t breastfeed my other two boys into toddler hood.
Improving the quality of your breast milk is just as important as your supply, which is sometimes overlooked because new mothers are more concerned about the amount they are pumping or feeding. I found this resource to be super helpful and informative on breastfeeding in general, if you are feeling overwhelmed. I was even surprised at the amount of information I still didn’t know, even after breastfeeding three babies.
Understanding The Fat Content In Breast Milk:
You can increase the fat content in your human breast milk by eating healthy fats. I didn’t connect the dots between water-soluble vitamins and fat being available to baby from your blood stream into your human milk as a result of your maternal diet. Most of us are more concerned with our supply amount, rather than quality.
I wrote a post on the keto diet and breastfeeding to help guide mamas interested in losing the baby weight with the keto diet. I go over how the keto diet can be very beneficial to growing babies because mother’s are typically consuming more fat in their diet. The problem can be on the type of fat you are eating. Baby needs Omega-3s, not saturated fats. This is the fat found in plants and seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts or in fish like salmon, tuna and even sardines.
Before I get into the 5 steps to increase your nutrient and fat content in your milk supply, I have to tell you about Milk Dust! Milk Dust is your best friend for milk supply and weight loss. I hand-selected specific nutrients for breastfeeding and postpartum mamas that are really important for baby too!
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Let’s get into the 5 steps for fattier milk:
First, your milk is going to be fattier at different times of the day. The times of the day your breasts seem to be fuller are actually when there is going to be more water in your breast. The foremilk is what comes out first, which has a watery consistency to hydrate the baby. The hind milk comes after the transitional milk and after the breast is emptied, and that is the breast milk fat to satiate the baby.
Here are the steps to increase the fat and nutrients in your breast milk for baby. This is important to know because you don’t want to be looking for more fat at the wrong time. I personally didn’t look for more fat, or denser milk, but rather just ate healthy foods every day to ensure I was consuming enough Omega-3s.
Start With Extra Pumping:
I say this because you may not need to worry about the quality of your milk, but change your feeding style. As mentioned above, the higher fat content is in the emptier breast. If you know nothing about pumping, or hate it, read this. Super, super helpful!
You can give your baby more hind milk by using a breast pump prior to feeding. Pump out the thinner milk, or foremilk and save it, then have your baby nurse for the hind milk after the breast milk changes. Doing this a few times a day can help your baby increase the fat levels in their bodies, which may be all you need to do. This allows you to control the quality of breast milk your baby is consuming.
By pumping to start your let-down reflex, you can get the foremilk flowing which has more water content and therefore the fat is more diluted. Your hindmilk will have a higher concentration of fat for baby’s growth and development needs.
My sister had amazing luck with this manual pump, and I like this automatic pump. Make sure to get a pumping bra for the automatic one, so you can be hands free and multi-tasking. By changing the type of milk baby takes in for the first few months of age, they will have good infant growth and weight gain.
Protein is Essential:
Protein is so very important for breastfeeding. I talk more about my favorite protein powder in another post. I love how clean, natural, and full of milk-increasing nutrients it is. This powder will give you tons of nutrients in addition to protein to help pass that on to baby.
I have a hard time eating a lot of meat because I just don’t like it, so protein shakes are a super yummy way for me to increase my protein intake. Adding protein and nutrients gives your body what it needs to produce proper breast milk. I find that a powder is super helpful to do this. It also satisfies my sweet tooth without all the sugary drinks.
This has been shown to directly increase fatty acids in breast milk. It is also used to help with clogged milk ducts because it makes the breast milk slippery and less likely to clog. That means it is higher in fat.
In this study, the Sunflower Lecithin stopped the decrease of fat loss in breastfeeding moms. Why they say it in a double negative for the study I have no clue, but it is proving that the Sunflower Lecithin brings fat content up. You can also read this personal story of Sunflower Lecithin increasing fat content in mother’s milk. This mom used these soft gels and had great success.
Eat Low Carb and Higher Fat:
Switching your diet to a more low carb/ high fat style can help increase the energy/calories and fat in your breast milk. You can read more about the keto diet and breast feeding in this post. The research seems to point out that it is difficult to conclude that a low carb and high fat diet really increases fat content in breast milk.
One 2009 study reported that moms on a low carb diet had Infants’ with an energy intake (kcal/day) that was higher during the LCHF diet than during the HCLF diet. The estimated average maternal energy expenditure and the sum of maternal energy expenditure plus milk energy content were higher during the LCHF diet than during the HCLF diet (source). It is definitely worth a try. The idea is that the higher amount of fat in the mother’s body will translate into the breast milk.
Don’t Eat Just Any Fat:
Research has shown that the types of fats you eat will be present in your breast milk production. A study published in 2002 in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” demonstrated that the breast milk composition of Spanish mothers was lower in saturated fat and higher in monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. This reflects the traditional Mediterranean diet of Spain. It can also take 2-3 days for your breastmilk to reflect dietary changes. The fat in breastmilk is also what gives it flavor and provides baby with its first ‘taste’ of different foods.
So, you want to eat the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are super important to brain development. These are the fats found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and fish. If you can’t get the amount of fat to increase, you can ensure that the right fats are present for baby’s early life. The right kinds of fats and nutrients can be vital to baby’s brain development and so many other types of developmental needs. So you want to make sure you are paying attention to what you are putting in your body, and subsequently into theirs.
There you have 5 ways you can increase the fat and nutrients and improve your milk quality. The most important thing is you can control the types of fats in your milk, which is also considered nutrients, as well as encourage the fat content of milk to increase for your growing baby. The female body is an amazing thing and it responds to the demands of your baby, adjusting the composition of your breast milk as your baby ages.
If you are struggling to lose the baby weight as a breastfeeding mom, I have a little program, where I go over the best way to lose the baby weight, specifically for breastfeeding mamas. I have meal plans, healing foods, milk-boosting supplements, recipes, shopping lists and much much more. I walk you through healing your core, strengthening your pelvic floor, Pilates and cardio workouts and so much more.
If you are looking for a more in-depth plan that goes over healing postpartum, properly nourishing your body for milk supply, a meal plan and recipes and workouts to lose the baby weight, please check out my new program, The Postpartum Cure. So many mamas are having tons of success with just the little bit of help and knowledge! I highly encourage you to check it out now, because I add more content monthly and increase the price as more information, videos and details are added!