Posts in Breastfeeding
Boost your milk supply with lactation bites!

Different foods can help you increase your milk supply

If you’re breastfeeding, you have 100% wondered how you could make more milk and chances are in your search you have come across a wide variety of recipes for Lactation Cookies.  Do they work? They certainly can.  Are they good for you?  It depends.

Lactation cookies can include a wide variety of ingredients - just watch out for the sugar!

Lactation cookies can include a wide variety of ingredients - just watch out for the sugar!

Too much of a good thing

The problem with most lactation cookies is simple:  they are cookies!  Most lactation cookies are full of sugar & fat and don’t have a whole lot of nutritional value which is really what your focus should be throughout your postpartum period, especially if you are breastfeeding.  That being said, for many people they really do work wonders for boosting supply so, what is a lactating person to do?! Make a healthy, nutrient packed, galactagogue loaded Lactation Bites, of course!

Nutritious and delicious Lactation Bites

The key ingredient in most lactation boosting recipes you will see is brewer’s yeast, and for good reason. Brewer’s yeast is loaded with good things and is a big favourite for many people when it comes to boosting milk supply.  The only draw back to brewer’s yeast is that it is VERY potent and bitter tasting and is not easily masked in a recipe.  For these Lactation Bites, we decided to work with the malty taste that comes with the brewer’s yeast.  Who doesn't love a warm and spicy ginger cookie flavour?!

Brewer’s yeast is used to make beer, and people have taken it as a dietary supplement for many years. Brewer’s yeast is made from a fungus, and it is highly nutritious. It contains iron, protein, and B vitamins, as well as chromium, selenium and other trace minerals. Brewer’s yeast is also believed to be a galactagogue, used by nursing mothers to help make more breast milk.
— Donna Murray RN, BSN
Roll your Lactation Bites in cocoa, shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, or whatever you like!

Roll your Lactation Bites in cocoa, shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, or whatever you like!

How to make Lactation Bites

Ingredients

2 cups of cooked chick peas: low in fat, high in protein, and packed full of nutrients chick peas make a great base

1/2 cup apricot paste – apricots are high in fibre, vitamin A & C and have been shown to help increase the production of prolactin, one of the key hormones for the production of milk

1/2 cup milled flax: loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids!

1/2 cup oat flour: Nutritious and comforting, oats are great for a lactating mother.

1/4 cup of maple syrup: a natural alternative to processed sugars

1 tsp  Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

2 tbsp pf fresh grated Gingergood for just about everything, ginger has long been relied upon by pregnant women and nursing mothers

2-4 tbsp of brewer’s yeast: iron, protein, B vitamins, and much more, brewer’s yeast is a powerhouse! (NOTE: add to taste but be mindful that this yeast has been known to make people gassy)

1-2 tbsp water if needed to get the right consistency

How to whip'em up!

In a blender, purée 1 cup of dried apricots (organic if possible) with 1/3 cup warm water to create a thick paste.  In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a loose ball.  Roll into balls, 1 tbsp at a time.  For extra crunch, you can roll the balls in toasted coconut or crushed nuts or even a little cocoa powder!  Whatever you like – dream big!  Store them in an air-tight container or in freezer bags and enjoy a couple each day with a large glass of water or Mother’s Milk tea.

Pro Tip!!  Eating these as a snacks in the early afternoon (as well as loading up on water) can help get you through that early evening supply dip that most people run into sometime between 3pm and 7pm.  

Baby's latch and breastfeeding pain

Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt.

One of the biggest worries expecting parents have when it comes to breastfeeding is pain.  Fair enough!  We worry about the pain of childbirth which is a "one time" event so it is totally reasonable to worry (or at least wonder) about pain that could come along with breastfeeding for months on end.  The good news is, when things are happening properly, breastfeeding should not hurt.

Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

If it hurts, fix it!

Breastfeeding is not something you should just "get through". It should not hurt or be uncomfortable long term. Of course for the first few days nursing your baby may be awkward or uncomfortable as you both learn the art of getting a good latch and figure out which positions work best for you. The learning curve can feel steep but breastfeeding should get easier and more comfortable as you go! If you are having pain or struggling, chances are there is something you could work on to get back on track.

Sore nipples are no fun.

Some of the most common breastfeeding problems start with baby's latch.  Your baby needs to have a big mouthful of breast - not just nipple - to allow them to nurse effectively.  Breastfeeding is about more than sucking!  Babies use their jaw, tongue, and cheeks to draw milk from your breast. 

Some signs of a poor latch include: 

  • Clicking or "smacking" noises as your baby is nursing
  • Baby's cheeks are sucked in/ dimpled while feeding
  • Sore nipples
  • Cracked or chaffed nipples
  • Nursing feels "pinchy"
  • Baby is coming on and off your breast
  • Baby doesn't seem to be getting full up
  • Your milk supply is not increasing

If your nipples are sore or breastfeeding is generally becoming more difficult or more painful don't wait!  Reach out to a lactation consultant or your care provider right away.  There are quite a few reasons that your baby may not be latching on properly many of which are simple enough to correct with the right help!  New nursing positions, supporting your breast differently, seeing a chiropractor or cranial sacral therapist, and looking for tongue ties are all possible solutions to your baby's latch troubles. 

Breastfeeding can feel great!

We hear a lot about the challenges that come with breastfeeding but it is important to remember the big picture!  These challenges will likely only make up a fraction of your overall breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding can be great!  

Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

Breastfeeding can be empowering.

When things are going well, breastfeeding can be a really positive experience. Because of all that wonderful oxytocin flowing through your system, you may find nursing to be really relaxing and comfortable.  Breastfeeding is a great way to soothe a fussy baby and it is pretty convenient when you are out and about!  Breastfeeding can be part of the very special relationship you have with your child - something just for the two of you - and with the right support it can be a really beautiful experience. 

Breastfeeding should not be painful. PERIOD.

If you are having trouble with sore nipples go back to the basics and make sure your baby is latching well!  Some good questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is baby starting out nose to nipple?
  • Is baby's mouth open wide?
  • Does baby have more breast below than nipple than above in his/her mouth?
  • Are you bringing your breast to the baby OR are you bringing baby to breast?

Still not sure what to do?  Call in the reinforcements!  A postpartum doula, lactation consultant or other peer support people can all help you find your way and save your nipples from poor latch pain!