Breastfeeding Norfolk Blog

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A little About Breastmilk and the Mother's Diet

Nikki Adlam

Breastfeeding mums don't need any special foods to make the perfect milk for their babies. Eating fattier foods does not create more fatty milk, and drinking more water does not make breastmilk more watery. This is just a small sample of the things that some mums have to deal with that are told to them by others and then fed back to me. I'm sorry if that sounded a bit ranty! 
As far as extra calories go its reckoned that on the basis of most women producing at most 750mls per day for one baby that approx 500 extra calories daily are needed. Fat is laid down over pregnancy too so some of these calories come from this "depo" fat. Really though; the best thing is for each mum to drink to thirst and eat as needed as the food and liquid intake will certainly rise. Those fat deposits (or depo fat) being gobbled up through breastfeeding is an amazing process. It's the reason why breastfeeding mums generally return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster than mums who don't breastfeed. This process really kicks in and tends to show itself physically in mums from about 4 months post-natally. 
Some mums suspect that their babies may have a cows' milk or soy protein allergy caused by her own diet, and transferred via her milk. Their babies may be very unsettled with lots of wind and frothy green poos consistently, as well as being sick after feeds. For those mums I would suggest that the first thing to do would be to get her positioning and her baby's attachment at her breast checked, rather than the first response being to rush to withdraw dairy and soy from her diet. 
I will add here a few words about lactose intolerance in breastfed babies. This is rare. Babies are born with lactase which is the enzyme that breaks down the key component in breastmilk, lactose for digestion. If a baby doesn't have enough or any of this he or she will be very poorly indeed with very little or any weight gain from birth. Breastfeeding Network has a really nicely put together and referenced document. To download this go to:…/lactose%20intolerance.…
Come and see us at the Thursday 10.00-12.00 group session at West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre, Off Earlham Rd, Norwich, NR2 4BX. Private consultations are also available. Just get in touch.
Breastfeeding mothers are doing the most incredible things with their own bodies for their babies. Just think about that for a second or two :) 
With all good wishes