Benefits of breastfeeding:
• Provides your baby with all nutrients needed for his or her first 6 months of life.
• Strengthens baby’s immune system, digestion, and neurological development.
• Lowers risk of maternal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease
• Encourages release of oxytocin in the mother which helps with relaxation/ stress reduction
• Increases postpartum weight loss
How Our Bodies Make Milk:
•Two hormones involved: Prolactin and oxytocin.
•Prolactin is needed for production and secretion of milk. Oxytocin stimulates milk ejection.
•Removing milk from the breasts often(baby suckling/ pumping) maintains milk production.
• Eat a balanced diet. Lactating women require ~ 500 additional calories/ day and an additional 25g/day of protein.
• Eat more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, chromium, copper + iodine
• Consider supplementing vitamin D, B12 and iron if your levels are low. Anemia can reduce milk production.
• Breastfeeding women require more water intake. Aim for 2L water/day.
• Limit and reduce coffee intake. Coffee is a diuretic.
• Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1-2 drinks per week.
Prepping for Breastfeeding:
• Use Skin to skin: It is the best step to encourage an infant to latch and begin feeding.
• Avoid bathing baby until after first feed
• Purchase a breast milk pump to have on hand
• Be open to different feeding positions. Reclined position can improve latch.
• Be on the lookout for baby’s lips flanged out, and mouth covering your areola to indicate a good latch.
Things to Avoid When Breastfeeding:
The following can inhibit milk let down and lower milk production:
• Peppermint (tea, oils, candy, gum)
• Street drugs and cannabis
• Psuedo-ephedrine (decongestants)
• Losing too much weight (more than 2.2lbs/week) and very strenuous exercise
Not Everyone Is Able To Breastfeed, And That’s Okay:
• Surgeries or health conditions for mother and/or baby may make breastfeeding challenging. Speaking to a Lactation or Breastfeeding Consultant can help.
•If you are unable to breastfeed, do not worry. There are many infant formulas + pasteurized donor milk that can offer your baby proper nutrition.
See Your Osteopath:
• Osteopathic treatment improves blood flow to/ from your breasts helping with milk flow
• Promotes lymphatic drainage to prevent clogged milk ducts + mastitis, stiff neck, shoulders and back.
• Improves hormonal balance and relaxation