How to Improve the Quality of your Breast Milk

How to Improve the Quality of your Breast MilkAlthough breast milk has the same general nutritional make-up from mother to mother, there are some difference based on the mother’s diet, behaviors and habits surrounding breastfeeding. Surprisingly, it may be breastfeeding practices that are more effective at increasing the fat content of breast milk, but diet may change the types of fats that make up breast milk. Today we’re reviewing how to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Keep in mind that the biggest indicator of your baby’s growth when it comes to breast milk is the volume she is receiving, not the exact fat and calorie content. So even though you can improve the quality of your breast milk, for pure growth purposes, ensuring your baby is getting plenty of it is most important.

Your Diet and Your Breast Milk

Every mother’s breast milk make-up is different, which is somewhat related to your diet, and somewhat dependant upon how your body makes milk. However, moms need a wholesome diet to have enough energy to make breast milk, not to mention take care of an infant. Therefore getting plenty of protein, eating plant foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and staying hydrated are essential.

Also, eating healthy fats helps determine the quality of fat in your breast milk. Saturated fats are unhealthy and can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a variety of cardiovascular problems for you and your baby. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and essential fatty acids found in many whole foods like nuts, natural oils, avocados and fish are much better choices to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Prenatal Vitamins and Your Breast Milk

Your doctor probably advised you to continue taking prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. That’s because it is not only a broad spectrum multi-vitamin, it also contains critical nutrients that your baby needed in the womb and still needs now like folate, iron, calcium, Vitamin D and DHA. While you are likely getting some of these in your regular diet, supplementing is a great way to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Breast Emptiness and Your Breast Milk

Empty breasts produce fattier milk. That’s why it is important for you to drain your breasts fully during feedings and to encourage your baby to feed frequently and for long enough to get to the hind milk. When your breasts are full, there is more foremilk, which contains less fat. Hind milk comes later in feedings and is packed of nutritious fats for your baby.

Breast Compressions and Your Breast Milk

Interestingly, massaging and performing breast compressions can increase the fat content of your breast milk. It helps dislodge the sticky fats in hind milk that get stuck to milk ducts so it is more readily available to your baby.

Breast milk is best for your baby no matter how you serve it. But improving the quality of your breast milk is like the cherry on top of a really healthy ice cream sundae!

Sources: Parenting Science, Kelly Mom, BabyCenter, American Pregnancy, Joyful Abode and BreastMilk