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Best Breastfeeding Diet for High-Quality Breast Milk

… not all breast milk is created equal.”

How many times have you read, or heard, that what you eat does not affect your breast milk? A study in the scientific journal Lipids says otherwise.

A 1999 study (Lipids in Human Milk) showed a very wide range of fat content across 224 Danish mothers, from 18 grams to 89 grams per liter of milk. That means some babies get the equivalent of 2% milk while others get the equivalent of jersey cream.

Lactating women on high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets have been found to experience a decrease in their milk fat levels, which is associated with infant neurological problems and failure to thrive. (source)

Almost all traditional cultures, living by the wisdom passed down from generation to generation, understand the important role a mother’s diet plays in the quality of her breast milk, and therefore the health of her baby.

In some provinces in China, a new mom is given “a diet very high in animal fat that includes 6-10 eggs a day and almost 10 ounces of chicken and pork for at least a month after the birth of her infant. This diet ensures that the level of fat in her milk is as high as possible.”

The Maasai Tribe in Africa traditionally would not allow couples to marry until both spent about 6 months “consuming milk during the wet season which is when the grass is green and the nutrient content of the milk is very high.”

Other cultures’ fertility and nursing foods include fish eggs, organ meats, raw dairy, and egg yolks, the common denominator being that all these foods are extremely nutrient dense and therefore beneficial to both mother and baby.

In fact, after traveling the world to study diets and nutrition of non-Western (traditional) cultures, Weston Price published a book entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. His findings?

The book concludes that aspects of a modern Western diet (particularly flour, sugar, and modern processed vegetable fats) cause nutritional deficiencies that are a cause of many dental issues and health problems. The dental issues he observed include the proper development of the facial structure (to avoid overcrowding of the teeth) in addition to dental caries. (source)

Based on his findings, the Weston A. Price Foundation suggests the below diet for pregnant and nursing mothers:

Cod Liver Oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day, which is provided by 2 teaspoons high vitamin cod liver oil (Green Pasture brand).

1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows (learn more about raw milk on our website, A Campaign for Real Milk, www.realmilk.com)

4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows

2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens

Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.

3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week (If you have been told to avoid liver for fear of getting “too much Vitamin A,” be sure to read Vitamin A Saga)

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs

Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat

Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D

2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.

Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages

Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces

Soaked whole grains

Fresh vegetables and fruits

AVOID:

  • Trans fatty acids (e.g., hydrogenated oils)
  • Junk foods
  • Commercial fried foods
  • Sugar
  • White flour
  • Soft drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Drugs (even prescription drugs)

IMPORTANT WARNING: Cod liver oil contains substantial levels of omega-3 EPA, which can cause numerous health problems, such as hemorrhaging during the birth process, if not balanced by arachidonic acid (ARA), an omega-6 fatty acid found in liver, egg yolks and meat fats.  Please do not add cod liver oil to a diet that is deficient in these important animal foods. It is important to follow our diet for pregnant mothers in its entirety, not just selected parts of it.

(Diet excerpted from the Weston A. Price Foundation website)

Obviously, this is not a diet that works for all women, and, frankly, not all women can even at this much food in one day!  The main takeaways, though, are: eat real, unprocessed foods, only healthy fats, and high quality, nutrient dense animal proteins.

To see a photo gallery of babies born into and raised in accordance with the Weston Price dietary guidelines, go here!

 

If you enjoyed this article read our other articles on breastfeeding and breast milk:

7 Amazing Facts About Breast Milk Every Mom Needs to Know

Reese

Reese Leyva is a first-time mom whose countless hours of reading about and researching pregnancy, birth, and gentle/respectful parenting have led her to one inevitable conclusion - moms and babies are amazing! When she's not writing or studying to complete her certification as a Childbirth Educator, she's playing in the dirt with her super cool infant daughter or cooking alongside her nifty artist husband.

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