In infancy, growth directly reflects nutrient intake. A healthy infant will double in weight within 5 months and will triple within a year. A healthy infant is likely to feed every 2-3 hours for 10-15 minutes on each breast whilst displaying adequate growth. Breastmilk contains all the nutrients your baby needs for its first 6 months of life. Breast milk contains water, fatty acids, carbohydrates, and protein. Breastfed infants don’t actually require additional water supply (Whitney & Rolfes, 2013).
It has been found that breastfed infants are less likely to have allergies, sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), are protected against cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. However, feeding a baby solids too early (<4 months) or too late can increase the risk of allergies. Breastfeeding is not only good for the baby, it’s good for mum as well. Breastfeeding mothers have lower rates of breast cancer, osteoporosis, type II diabetes and can assist in weight loss post-partum (Whitney & Rolfes, 2013; Raising Children Network, 2015).
Milk supply is a common concern for mothers, where there may not be enough or there may be too much. Infants may not be getting enough milk if they have less than 6-8 weight cloth nappies (or 5 very wet disposables) in 24 hours or if they are losing weight. Infants also require extra feeds if they are born premature, under 1500gm of birth weight or are ill (Raising Children Network, 2015).
The only alternative milk to breastmilk is infant formula until 12 months of age. Infant formula is recommended for use if mum is ill and cannot breastfeed for a couple of days or if mum is lacking in breastmilk supply (Whitney & Rolfes, 2013).
Additionally, some daily sunshine is recommended to prevent Rickets (Wagner & Greer, 2008).
A newborn requires 1800-2000 kilojoules (KJ) per day and can obtain all of the required macronutrients from breast milk sufficiently. If possible, breastfeed exclusively until the baby can eat solids (around 6 months of age). From this point, you can give your baby a combination of breast milk and solids until 12 months of age (Whitney & Rolfes, 2013).
Mum needs nutrient dense foods, plenty of water and sunshine. During lactation, her energy requirements increase by 1800-2000 KJ/day (Kleinman & Greer, 2013).
A day on a plate
Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 cups of veggies
Morning tea: smoothie – milk, banana, berries, flax meal
Lunch: wholegrain wrap, salmon, 1 cup veggies, pesto
Afternoon tea: yoghurt, chia seed, walnuts, dates, passionfruit
Dinner: chicken, brown rice, 2 cups of veggies, coconut milk
Supper: chamomile tea
Breastmilk friendly omelette
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 free-range organic eggs
- 2 cups of veggies (choose from spinach, tomato, onion, pumpkin, mushroom, parsley etc.)
Use 1 tsp of coconut oil to line a frying pan. Whisk 2 eggs and pour into pan, top with veggies & cook for 5 minutes. Serve warm.