Unless a medical condition keeps you or your child from breastfeeding, don’t abandon the practice for the first six months! It will help your kid grow into a healthier adult. Breastfeeding is important for both you and the baby for various reasons, including:
So, now that you know how important breastfeeding is, let us take a look at the factors that can affect the quality of the milk produced during lactation:
Everything you eat during the time you are also breastfeeding won’t pass into your milk. The part of the food that makes it into your stomach or gut won’t be going in the breast milk. Instead, the parts that get digested and then passed into your blood will end up in it.1
It is true that some nursing moms can eat what they want to and it doesn’t affect their milk. For most mothers though, strongly flavored foods could change how their milk tastes. The good news is that when the fetus is growing inside you, it swallows quite a bit of amniotic fluid. What you eat during the pregnancy will become a part of the fluid as well. If they find something in your milk that resembles those flavors, it doesn’t surprise them.
Even so, certain foods can make your baby gassy. If you suspect it was something you ate, then test it to confirm your doubts. Avoid it for a few days and then reintroduce the food in your diet again. If the baby responds in the same way, you will know exactly which food to blame.
A perpetuating myth that surrounds lactation is that if you don’t eat well or consume large quantities of food, you won’t be able to produce high quality milk. As this study2 shows, it is time to dispel this myth. Even the malnourished states of the Brazilian mothers in this study didn’t affect the quality of their breast milk. How much you eat has nothing to do with the amount of milk produced.
That said, here are some factors that can affect the quality of the breast milk:
Some parents might think that the mother consuming cow’s milk could have a positive effect on the breast milk produced – they’d be wrong. In fact, if you have been doing that, it could trigger an allergic reaction in your kid.
Contrary to popular belief, children aren’t sensitive to the lactose in the milk but the dairy protein can cause issues. Not all babies will behave that way but if yours doe, try cutting back on the amount you drink. If that doesn’t work, then you might have to give it u. However, most kids will outgrow their sensitivity to dairy protein in a few months. If you find otherwise, then your baby has a true allergy to it.
Don’t depend on breastfeeding to reduce the chances of conception. However, don’t begin to take birth control pills either. Some birth control pills only contain estrogen, which can reduce milk production. Use this breast milk interaction3 list for guidance.
Caffeine will find its way into your breast milk. While staying away from coffee would result in a sleepy you, sticking with it would mean your baby’ body won’t be able to process caffeine efficiently. If you can’t give it up, adopt the same precautions as you would with alcohol.
Just like many foods and beverages, alcohol passes through to your baby via breast milk. Some babies will begin to drink less milk because alcohol changes the way it taste. If you don’t want to stop drinking completely, then try having it just after you have nursed or express milk. This gives your body ample time to process as much of alcohol as it can. If you combine this with waiting two hours after a drink before you breastfeed, it will reduce the amount of alcohol that reaches your kid.
In most cases, a 12-ounce beer, an ounce of hard liquor, or a 4-ounce glass of wine won’t harm your baby. Long-term exposure and repeated contact will affect them. Chronic alcoholism will also result in reduced milk production.
Most chocolate also comes with a dose of caffeine. That means as a nursing mother, you will have to stay away from it. If you don’t want to eliminate chocolate entirely from your life, then consume it in limited amounts. The best way to test is to check your baby’s poop after you have had some chocolate. Due to its laxative effect on the baby, chocolate might result in runny baby poop. If that is the case, try reducing your intake. If the condition still persists, then you will have to forgo the chocolate!
We hope you find this guide useful. Let us know about your experiences while breastfeeding. We’d love to know what you have to say!