“You mean to tell me that I can exercise and eat for fat loss, and STILL keep my milk supply?”
I smile to myself as I get ready to answer this same question that I’ve answered numerous times with hundreds of clients.
“Yes! You can absolutely keep your milk supply while still focusing on your health, your personal goals, and your baby’s health. There are just a few key factors that you will need to follow nutrition-wise in order to be able to do so.”
Hi! I’m Andrea, owner of MommyFIT. I’ve spent the past two years teaching thousands of clients (most of them moms) about their health and coaching them through their fitness journeys. A large majority of my clients are pregnant or breastfeeding, and it has been my favorite thing to help new mamas reach their health and fitness goals while still keeping their milk supply!
There are three main factors, in regards to food, that I have found crucial in keeping a mother’s milk supply up: quality of food, quantity of food, and adequate protein intake. Let’s break these down a little further.
The nutritional components of your food do matter when your body is working to feed a little one. “Empty” calorie foods like chips, sugary cereal, soda, candy/dessert don’t do much to help your body produce adequate milk. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy those while breastfeeding (I certainly did) but, it’s important that 80% of your food intake is filled with nutrients that will maximize your body’s milk-making ability.
Focus on filling your diet with the following:
- Whole grains: Whole grains are turned into glucose, which is the body’s primary energy source. Some great whole grain options include: Kodiak Cakes oatmeal or pancake mixes, bread, or pasta.
- Leafy greens: Leafy greens supply you, and your baby, with vitamin A, calcium, iron, and folic acid. Kale, spinach, arugula, and romaine are all fantastic leafy greens to help you fit these nutrients into your diet.
- Berries: Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries are packed with antioxidants and fiber. Berries are a perfect quick snack and also make great toppings or add-ins for your whole grain pancakes and oatmeal, too.
- Healthy Fats: Healthy fats provide your body with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, omega-3, omega-6, and antioxidants. Avocado, eggs, nuts, and seeds are great sources of healthy fats to include in your breastfeeding diet.
Did you know that your body burns an extra 300-500 calories per day from breastfeeding alone? You definitely want to take this into account when nursing. What I tell my clients (those that aren’t tracking their food) is to eat how they would eat pre-pregnancy but add in an extra snack or two throughout the day to help ensure they are getting those extra calories needed.
Here are three 300-500 calorie snack ideas:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt topped with berries and 2 tbsp granola.
- 1 serving Kodiak Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix or toaster ready items topped with one tbsp of pure maple syrup. This is one of my personal favorites. I buy the toaster ready flapjacks and waffles for when I need something quick and easy — #momlife.
- 2 eggs scrambled with a piece of whole wheat toast on the side…with butter, of course.
- 1 “Lactation Cookie” (see recipe below)
Adequate Protein Intake
I’ve found this to be the one nutritional point that gets overlooked the most, but consuming adequate protein while breastfeeding is essential. Protein serves as your body tissue’s building blocks and promotes growth. When nursing, your body uses protein to produce breast milk and sustain your growing baby. It helps your baby grow new cells in his/her organs, muscles, and brain.
Protein-rich foods include animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, poultry, and seafood. Additionally, beans, nuts, lentils, and seeds are great vegetarian protein options.
I encourage new moms to aim for 10-20 grams of protein each time they eat. Next time you sit down to eat, check the nutrition labels on your food to see what your protein intake looks like at each meal and adjust as needed.
Overall, being a mom is tough and breastfeeding is as well. It was no doubt the toughest part of the newborn phase for me as a new mom; even more than waking up every hour at night.
Remember to give yourself grace, focus on what you can control, relax and rest as needed, and more than anything…snuggle and love that little babe that is right in front of you.
Because that is the most important thing of all.
Oatmeal, whole grains and protein help to boost milk supply so these are great for a little bite to eat for calories fiber and whole grains when nursing.
- 1 ½ cup Kodiak Cakes Chocolate Chip Flapjack Mix
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup quick oats
- 2 tbsp. butter, softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp. liquid egg whites
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir the Kodiak Cakes mix, quick oats, and protein powder together.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Mix in egg, applesauce, liquid egg whites, and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. The batter will be thick.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop cookies onto the prepared pan and bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
About the Author
Andrea is a mom, nurse, wife, and a lover of all thing’s fitness, health, and nutrition. She is a firm believer that you do not need an expensive gym pass, organic food, daily three-hour workouts, or special genetics to be fit. Fitness to Andrea is fitness of the mind and body. It is feeling good in your own skin and learning to take care of and love your body no matter what size or shape it is.
“I am no fan of special ‘diets’ or secret supplements to weight loss. I truly believe that ‘healthy’ should be a lifestyle which cannot be found through fad dieting or quick fixes.”
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