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Breastfeeding and need to increase your milk supply?

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I am currently going through the oh so joyous patch of pregnancy: feeling exhausted, nauseas, sensitive to food smells and generally I’m just a whole lot of fun to hang around! The morning sickness (which for me hits by mid afternoon and I feel the worst at dinner time) has really decreased my appetite. I’m trying to eat what I can, but it’s bloody hard to stomach it. I’m still breastfeeding my 11 month old and with the sickness and lack of food, I can feel the effects it’s now having on my breastmilk and it is noticeably lower. This, of course, leads to a grumpy bubby and I’m sure its part of the reason for her waking up more during the night lately. You can see the cycle here and a wakeful baby means Mum is even more exhausted. It’s not ideal, so I’m trying everything I can to find food I can eat, hold down and boost my milk supply. Phew, the challenges us Mum’s face!

I came across this recipe for Lactation Cookies and decided to give it a try. The key ingredient that is meant to boost your breastmilk is the Brewers Yeast so you cannot substitute this ingredient for something else! It is not that easy to find but I’ll share the link to the online store where I purchased it from – I believe it can be found at most major health food shops. The oats are also another important lactogenic.

I purchased the Brewers Yeast and Flaxseed meal both from the following website, they delivered in approx 2 days so fairly quick turn around: http://www.aussiehealthproducts.com.au/

I managed to prep and bake the cookies in under 30mins and the recipe was very easy to follow, even if you aren’t a whiz in the kitchen. It made 14 cookies – I made mine fairly big and chunky as I like soft centres in cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self raising wholemeal flour (if you have plain flour, add 1/2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/2 cup low fat butter (for a healthier option, use organic, virgin coconut oil instead which is super good for you!)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (if wanting to reduce sugar, you could try just 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (optional, for flavour)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, for flavour)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brewers yeast (do not substitute with bakers yeast or any other yeast).
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (use himalayan salt if possible)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups oats (get the thicker cut oats if you can) 

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 170C or 338F
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar then add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, let sit for a few minutes before adding to mix.
  • Add the dry ingredients (apart from the oats and your additional ingredients) and mix well again.
  • Finally, stir in the oats.
  • Make the biscuits (I use a desert spoon as a rough size guide) and place them onto a lightly greased or lined baking tray. Flatten them a little with your fingers or a spatula – if you like a soft centre, don’t squish them down too much.
  • Bake for around 10-12 minutes depending on how well cooked/crunchy you like your biscuits – I prefer them a little soft and lightly cooked. 

Overall, they smelt delicious – and that is saying a lot given my food smell sensitivities lately! They tasted OK, mind you I put a generous sized 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast as I’m fairly desperate for this to be the golden solution to my milk supply shortage! This will make the cookies have a slightly bitter taste so you definitely need to balance it out with a generous dose of brown sugar – or you could try adding in choc chips etc.

Besides the cookies, I have also been having a couple of cups of Weleda’s Nursing Tea. The tea contains Fenugreek seed, Anise seed, Fennel bitter seed, Caraway seed and Lemon leaves. It tastes OK, I am pretty used to it now. There is a health warning on the packaging to avoid this tea if you suffer diabetes and are allergic to any of the ingredients – you definitely need to review this for yourself. My Natural Baby currently don’t stock Nursing Tea but you can purchase this for $16.25 for a pack of 20 tea bags from one of my favourite online shops: http://www.nursingangel.com.au/

Along similar lines, you could buy fresh fennel and add it to salads, soups, curry etc. In general, a healthy diet high in protein, iron, B vitamins and essential fatty acids is important to maintain your energy levels and milk supply.

I hope they help solve any milk supply issues you are going through but if not, I also found these resources to be really useful:

You can’t go past the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) website for expert information and how to get in contact with lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/

I am a member of ABA and personally I have found the support groups to be so beneficial. You are joined by like-minded mum’s who are also great advocates of breastfeeding and natural, attachment parenting ideals.

The Royal Women’s Hospital have some great fact sheets available on lots of topics including breastfeeding: http://www.thewomens.org.au/Breastfeeding

Pinky McKay’s website and blog are full of helpful articles on breastfeeding and other parenting matters: http://www.pinkymckay.com.au/

I’d also recommend following Pinky on facebook as the community posts from other mum’s are also really insightful and helpful.

I hope by sharing my own personal experience, that this helps other Mum's in similar situations or just trying to increase breastmilk supply in general. Good luck on your own adventure :)