Nutritional health during lactation

Breastfeeding, or lactation, is the natural way in which the mother of a newborn can feed her child instead of relying on cow’s milk or artificial formula preparations.

For example, mother’s milk is much easier to digest, prevents constipation, lowers the incidence of food allergies, and protects the baby from infectious diseases. Nursing also promotes healthy oral development, satisfies suckling needs, helps establish good bacteria balance in the gut of the baby and enhances bonding and skin-to-skin contact between mother and child. Breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother in that it reduces the chance of haemorrhaging from the placental site, gives the mother opportunity to rest, and encourages the uterus to contract, returning to its pre-pregnant size. The quality of breast milk however, depends highly on the diet of the mother. The following are essential to a breastfeeding mother’s diet…

– Drink between 1.5 – 2L water per day (filtered)

– Increase amount of protein

– Boost amount of friendly gut flora by consuming pre-biotic foods and taking a decent high dose broad spectrum lactation specific probiotics.

– A Multivitamin supplement high in activated B Vitamins (ie NO FOLIC ACID, but folate instead) is essential to provide both mother and baby with nutrients for growth, repair and energy.

– Eat plenty of eggs, nuts and seeds, vegetables, salads and plant proteins. Limit your intake of refined grains (white bread, biscuits, etc)

– Mum should be decreasing consumption of cow’s milk (this can increase chances of baby forming food allergies and asthma and eczema.)

– In recent studies, mothers who consumed garlic increased their babies’ desire for milk, and the babies nursed longer. Garlic is good for both the mother and the infant by increasing immune function. However, it can be a gut trigger in some infants.

– Almost all drugs have been found to enter a nursing mother’s milk including alcohol, antibiotics, antihistamines, aspirin, caffeine, Valium, marijuana, nicotine, codeine and morphine. Some of the effects of these drugs can have on an infant include diarrhoea, rapid heart rate, restlessness, irritability, crying, poor sleeping, vomiting and convulsions. In addition, some of these drugs can accumulate in an infant’s body and cause addiction.

Bone broth for mum and bubs:

– Helps broaden baby’s palate, Breast milk (and formula) are quite sweet, so offering this nutrient dense savory beverage helps to diversify your baby’s palate, strengthens growing bones & teeth, 

– Bone broth is rich in an easily digested and assimilated form of calcium & magnesium, which are essential for your baby to build strong, healthy bones and teeth, helps build connective tissue & joints, contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are among two of the most important nutrients for joint care and will assist in the development of your baby’s joints. 

– Bone broth is also a great source of hard to find nutrients gelatin and collagen, which are key in building and supporting connective tissue. These nutrients also aid in building cartilage and bone and this is why your broth gels when cooled. Just lightly reheat before serving, do not boil as this destroys a lot of the nutrients. 

– Reduces the risk of allergies, another wonderful benefit of collagen is its ability to strengthen the intestinal lining, which greatly reduces the risk of allergies and food sensitivities. 

– Supports immunity & digestion, The specific amino acids in bone broth perform a wide variety of functions including boosting the immune system and improving digestion.


– Alfalfa, dandelion root and leaf, fennel, horsetail and raspberry leaf are all beneficial for promoting lactation and increasing the nutrient quantity in breast milk.
– Small amounts of Sage tea can be used to slightly decrease and overproduction or fast let down of breastmilk (Consult your practitioner about a suitable dosage as over consumption can reduce milk supplies too much).
– Nettle leaf has a tonic effect and contains iron in addition to many other nutrients. These can be found in the form of tea. Chamomile Tea taken by the mother has a beneficial effect on babies with sleep disturbance.
– Catnip – for mother and baby (nerve tonic and great for fatigue and depression Cinnamon and Ginger can be used as digestive aids in small doses.

Foods that commonly cause colic or cause aggravation:

– Brassica Vegetables not cooked enough eg broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower High sulphur foods like onions, brussel sprouts, garlic for some, eggs Chocolate, Full cream milk
– Soft drinks INCLUDING DIET OR ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED DRINKS Coffee and too much black and green tea

Essential nutrients and where they are found:

– Essential Fatty acids (Omega oils): Fish, flaxseed oil, linseeds and their oil, olive oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds. (Flaxseed oil can be applied directly onto babies with dry skin irritations)

– Free form amino acids: Found in high protein foods such as eggs, lean organic red meat, free-range chicken, nuts and seeds, legumes (beans, lentils etc), Tofu, brown rice and vegetables. Bone broth.

– Calcium: soy, almond, rice & goats milk, sardines, salmon, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds and tahini, almonds, broccoli, carob, kelp & seaweeds, oats, prunes, tofu, yoghurt (low fat). Bone broth.

– Zinc: Beef, baked beans, cashews, egg yolks, ginger, herrings, liver, milk, lamb, oysters, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, wholegrains, brown rice.

– Magnesium: meat, fish, seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, brown rice, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, kelp, lemons, lima beans, nuts and seeds, soybeans, tofu and whole grains. Bone broth

– B Vitamins: Brown rice, eggs, legumes, fish, free-range chicken & whole grains.

– Folate: Barley, buckwheat, brown rice, organic beef, free-range chicken, green leafy vegetables, legumes, lentils, mushrooms, oranges, root vegetables, salmon, tuna and whole grains.

– Vitamin C: Fresh fruit and vegetables. Excellent sources include berries, citrus fruits and green vegetables.- Vitamin E: Almonds, Beef, Corn, Egg yolk, nuts, safflower, sunflower, wheat germpage2image66057920

– Vitamin D: Fish, cod liver oil, dairy products (limit these), eggs, oats, sweet potatoes, safflower and olive oils.

– Iron: Eggs, Fish, liver, organic red meat, free-range chicken, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, almonds, avocados, kelp, chlorella (chlorophyll), soybeans, alfalfa.

– Chromium:  brown rice, lean organic meat, whole grains, dried beans, free-range chicken, corn, eggs & mushrooms.

Supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding is highly recommended as assimilation and absorption of minerals and vitamins from your diet can be limited, especially if you, the mother has underlying problems such as low stomach acid, hypoglycaemia, Candida, food sensitivities, imbalance of intestinal flora and parasites. It is essential that supplementation be monitored by a health professional during both pregnancy and breastfeeding.