Benefits of omega 3 whilst breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the most amazing gift you can give to yourself and your baby; it feels so lovely to have your little one connected to you and to be providing them with the first building blocks of life. But it can also be very tiring (I know from experience) and it’s not just baby we need to think about, we also need to remember that baby is drawing from our stores of nutrients and we need to replace these with nutrient dense foods and liquids on a daily basis so we are not left depleted or feeling ‘wrung out’!

If you plan on breastfeeding for as long as you can then you need these particular nutrients to ensure your milk stays nutrient dense and to keep the flow strong and steady.

So what does a woman need to ensure healthy breastmilk?

Well ideally you would have followed a natural healthy diet for years before having a baby so your body is well prepped for the good work ahead and you have a great back store of nutrients. There are a few different nutrients though which are absolutely vital for laying down good health for your newborn through your breastmilk.

First off breastmilk is a liquid and you are losing A LOT of this on a daily basis so you need to be sure you are drinking enough pure filtered water- at least two litres a day. Coconut water is also a good as it contains so many minerals however be aware that it is very high in potassium and too much will make baby over sleepy.

Certain herbal teas can actually help to stimulate breastmilk production such as fennel and fenugreek tea so drinking up to 3 cups a day will help to keep the milk flowing.

Omega 3 fatty acids– You need to ensure a good high quality source of this is being taken daily as baby will need the omega 3 fatty acids for every stage of his/her development. The omega 3 fatty acids are needed for every single cell in the body, the development of the central nervous system and endocrine systems and should always be supplemented for optimal health. Organic cold pressed flax seed oil, E.P.A fish oils, Krill oil, Chia seeds and Marine Phytoplankton are all useful sources of this much needed fat.

Magnesium– This mineral is essential for the formation of strong healthy bones, teeth and cartilage. The body also uses this important mineral to keep the heart rhythm steady, supports the immune system and helps maintain muscle and nerve function. It will also ensure baby and you are calm and relaxed and sleep well. Good sources of magnesium include all the dark green leafy vegetables, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, chia seeds and raw chocolate.

Zinc– When the mother goes into labour the copper levels naturally rise in the body which help to bring on the contractions (the body is clever like that) but this lowers the zinc levels, after birth the levels of zinc remain low unless this is addressed. This is where animals eat the placenta which being a rich source of zinc brings the body back into balance. You can of course achieve this rebalance through supplementation too although the placenta is a very fast way of readdressing this imbalance and you can get it made into a liquid to drop under the tongue instead of chewing on it Zinc supports your baby’s immune system and protects him from infection, making sure our babies receive adequate zinc is a simple and natural way to boost their immunity. Helps your baby’s body quickly repair damage like cuts and scrapes, keeps your little one’s skin healthy, supports your baby’s growth and the development of his brain, helps his body more easily absorb other nutrients from his diet Best sources of zinc are CHIA SEEDS, pumpkin seeds, raw chocolate, spinach, broccoli, green peas, green beans and lentils.

Good Bacteria– Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli are normal and resident inhabitants of the human gut. Their occurrence in the intestinal tract occurs in different proportions. Ninety nine percent of the cultivatable flora in the large intestine of breast fed infants is bifidobacteria. Lactobacilli, enterococci and coliforms comprise about one percent (range one to 15 percent) of the flora. Other microorganisms are absent or insignificant. There are numerous factors in giving your infant, child or yourself bifidobacteria supplementation, and doing so will ensure numerous benefits:
Inhibits colonization of the intestine by invading disease-causing bacteria by fiercely competing for nutrients and attachment sites on the surface of the intestinal tract, produces acetic acid which inhibits the growth of Candida albicans (yeast infections) in the intestine, produces natural antibiotic substances which inhibit the growth of pathogens, encourages better weight gain through nitrogen retention, plays a protective role against Infections, provides a source of antigens which may induce the formation of antibodies – the body’s immune army response to invasion of undesirable viruses and bacteria, assists in the absorption of calcium and other vitamins and minerals, helps to produce lactase – an enzyme necessary to break down milk sugar (lactose), prevents predisposition to allergies. It’s worth noting that if your diet is really clean and green you’ll make your own good bacteria but since this is SUCH an important factor in laying down great health for your precious bundle I would always supplement as well.

There is so much I could write about the importance of good bacteria that I will have to save that for another article.

Breastfeeding your baby is the best way of ensuring a strong immune system in your infant and although it can be hard work, and you may feel like just grabbing whatever snack is to hand whatever you are eating is feeding your baby too, so fill up on nutrient dense snacks and liquids to ensure you both stay happy and healthy and enjoy those precious snuggly moments with your baby as it goes all too quickly.

Thalia Goodman

xx

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