The As and Bs of breastfeeding

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Mother nurses her newborn baby.
Mother nurses her newborn baby.

It's essential to your baby's development and packs a punch of health benefits. Let's get milk-acquainted. 

What's in breastmilk that makes it so good for baby?

1. Proteins whey (60%) and casein (40%). These proteins promote digestion and stave off infection.
2. Fats in breastmilk are a primary source of energy for your baby. They are also necessary for brain, retina and nervous system development. 
3. Vitamins A, C, D, E, riboflavin and niacin. These vitamins are vital to the health and development of your baby. For this reason, mothers need to ensure that they get adequate nutrition and vitamin intake. 
4. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in breastmilk. It accounts for about 40% of the total calories provided by breastmilk, making it a significant energy source for your baby. Lactose also helps reduce the amount of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach, which improves the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It can also help keep disease at bay.

Eat for milk production

  • Garlic can help stimulate breastmilk production and increase your supply. Not keen on the taste of garlic? Try a supplement instead. No more garlic breath! 
  • Oats are an incredible source of nutrients that are good for you and baby. They help build, maintain and increase your milk supply, and are thought to ease feelings of anxiety and depression. 
  • Carrots are full of beta-carotene, which is believed to enhance lactation. Carrots sticks are also a great low-calorie option to snack on when you’re peckish. 
  • Fennel contains phytoestrogens, which are believed to promote lactation and breast tissue health. Fennel seeds are also thought to increase breastmilk supply and help prevent colic in babies. 
  • Spinach is an excellent source of calcium, iron, and vitamins K, A and folate – all of which are important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. This nutrient-dense superfood also increases the nutritional value of breastmilk and assists with lactation. 
  • Cashews, almonds and macadamias are known for boosting breastmilk production. They are also high in good fats, essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that improve the quality of breastmilk.  
  • Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, an important nutrient for mothers who breastfeed. Increasing your intake of calcium is vital to your own health and crucial to your baby’s development.   
  • Ginger can help elevate and support a healthy production of breastmilk. It can also increase the let-down reflex, which is the natural reaction that allows your breastmilk to flow out of your breasts to your baby. This will ensure that your baby gets a sufficient milk supply and grows at a healthy pace.  
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