With my first, due to an innumerable amount of reasons, I stopped breastfeeding at four months. Do I wish I had continued? Absolutely. But I simply did not have the education and resources I do now and was under extreme circumstantial stress, so I don’t look back. It is what it is, and my son is healthy and happy and gleaning the excellent benefits of our diet and lifestyle now! Yipee!
With my second child, I am still breastfeeding her at 9 months old and have no plans to wean until its right for us both. I’ve been practicing baby led weaning with her, and I know that she’s getting prime nutrition from my breast milk as she explores this amazing world of food. My diet is rich in raw and lightly cooked nutrient dense foods. It’s extremely low in processed foods and sugar. And wow… when I really cinched back into this way of eating around when Z turned 3 months old, my breast milk supply shot up, and my body has kept pace beautifully. I also have improved physical and mental stamina, and I dropped the rest of the baby weight. Sound too good to be true? Stay tuned. There’s more.
Z is so happy and healthy and loves to nurse. Am I saying that this won’t be the case if you eat less than the ideal plant based diet? No absolutely not. The body is amazing and creates breast milk from whatever you have. But herein lies the problem. Your body will put baby first, and if all the good nutrition in your body is going to your baby, where does that leave you? Hungry, tired, exhausted, and pale? No thank you. I’d prefer to be radiant, energetic, and full of vitality thank you very much. So I eat fresh plants. Lots of them. Every day.
My tips for breastfeeding on a plant-based diet?
- Eat when you’re hungry! If you’re eating raw fresh fruit and vegetables, you can eat those whenever you want and you definitely don’t have to worry about gaining weight! And especially if exercising moderately to heavily you’re going to need to eat to support that. I’ll burn between 500 and 1000 calories on a longer run. I’m HUNGRY afterward, and I’ve found it’s important to milk supply for me to snack while I’m running, too! Sounds like the life to me!
- replenish with plenty of hydrating fruits and vegetables, especially with exercise, and of course drink adequate water
- take a vegan whole foods based prenatal multivitamin to fill in gaps if you feel you need it. Vegan mothers especially need to make sure they’re getting enough calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and B12. Super important.
- I love a good bowl of oatmeal right now while I’m breastfeeding. When I wean I’d like to not, but right now it really does the trick and my body craves it
- pack on the dark leafy greens!!! So much protein, so many rich vitamins and minerals you and baby need.
- Protein intake: Ah yes, where do I get my protein? Well protein powder is somewhat controversial in the plant-based world. Do we need it? Do we not? For right now, my body does not respond well if I don’t get enough and I immediately see a drop in milk supply. Not to mention the protein is important after a long run. So my current favorite protein supplements to throw in some almond milk or water with greens are from Vega and Sun Warrior. My whole family loves them so its a great buy for us.
So there are my tips on breastfeeding for now! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for our friends and neighbors reading this, or anything you’d like to add!