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Breastfeeding and Paleo: My Tips

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

What I learned about maintaining milk supply while on a paleo diet.

I blamed my paleo diet for my insufficient milk supply, but I discovered the real culprits were dehydration, infrequent feedings, and the stress of trying to do too much.

Here are my top five tips for a successful paleo breastfeeding experience:

1. Rest, rest, rest, and rest. Meditate, pray, slow down, and s-l-e-e-p. This is one of those things everyone tells you when you have a newborn, but it is truly the number-one thing that increased my suffering milk supply. Stress is the enemy of lactation, so don't sweat it if you find resting a challenge. Give yourself some grace and find restfulness in whatever ways you can.

2. Feed (or pump) frequently! The more she nurses (and the more completely she nurses), the more milk you will produce. It's kind of like a spending budget in an organization where if you don't use it you lose it. This was huge for me. I had been trying to stretch time between feedings as much as possible, prioritizing my to-do list. This is not the time to stretch yourself.

3. Stay hydrated! Guess what makes milk a liquid? Yep, water! Breastfeeding requires hydration. Fun fact: drinking too much water can actually flush out your electrolytes and make you effectively more dehydrated. I learned this the hard way--in the ER.

Start by drinking the 64 recommended ounces of water a day. Add coconut water as desired or hydration pouches as needed.

This is not my everyday go-to, but if my hydration needs get intense, I'll reach for one of these. I don't love the taste (a little sweet for me), but I definitely prefer them over sports drinks--plus they're more natural, lower in sugar, and higher in electrolytes than most. They may be especially helpful if you are prone to migraines while breastfeeding (me!). I also give them to my kids when they get tummy bugs.

4. Try lactation teas and/or fennel oil. There are many herbs believed to increase lactation. Fennel and fenugreek are common enough to cook with, but some, like blessed thistle or shatavari, may be best accessed in tea form.

We do a lot of teas from Traditional Medicinals, and Mother's Milk is definitely one of my breastfeeding go- tos. The original version has fennel and fenugreek, but the harder-to-find Shatavari Cardamom is my favorite. The flavor is pretty subtle but very pleasant. I also love the flavor of Milkmakers Coconut Lactation Tea.

Another way to supplement with fennel is by taking fennel oil. You could make a tea of sorts by adding one drop to a mug of hot water, or place a drop in a veggie capsule to take like a pill. I took one drop directly each day. Essential oil ingestion is a highly debated topic, but the Young Living Vitality line was created for just that purpose. If you do choose to ingest, make sure to select a brand you trust and follow product guidelines. Use this link to purchase Fennel Vitality at retail, or click here to learn more about Young Living products or to purchase a starter kit for access to wholesale prices.

5. Up your carb intake. Ketogenic (super-low-carb) diets can be a healthful and effective way to shed pounds, but they can be dangerous in certain circumstances--like pregnancy or breastfeeding. During lactation, ketosis (a bodily state of deriving energy from fat instead of carbs) has a higher likelihood of turning into ketoacidosis (ketosis gone toxic), which can be life-threatening. The good news is that paleo allows for whatever carb load you require. Fruit, paleo baked goods, sweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables are all great ways to increase your carbs while continuing to fuel yourself well.

To learn more about my personal paleo breastfeeding experience, click here.

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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