Over time your baby grows, and so too do their nutritional needs. Their developing brains and growing bodies need more fats and nutrients. But what about your breast milk? Does your baby need to take more milk?
Breast milk is a magical substance. It truly is all your baby needs in order to thrive in their first years. You might think that your baby needs to take in more and more and more milk. Before you exhaust yourself trying to build up an inexhaustible supply of milk, keep reading.
With Breast Milk It’s Quality over Quantity
As long as you are taking in proper nutrition, the makeup of your breast milk changes. Your body knows what your baby needs, and it changes the makeup of your breast milk too. Pumping moms might notice that over time, the quantity of milk their baby takes might not change all that much. The reason for this is that as a baby grows, the mother’s milk contains an increased amount of calories. The milk is actually denser, higher in fat content. This means that the milk your baby drinks at three months is not the same three ounces that they drink at six or even nine months.
As your baby reaches new milestones, your breast milk does too! You can actually see this change if you express your breast milk and store it in the refrigerator. The fat content in your milk will rise to the top and form a layer on top of the breast milk.
Do I Need to Change My Diet for My Milk?
When moms learn that the content of their breast milk changes to help meet their babies’ evolving nutritional needs, a common question is “Do I need to change my diet?”. You should continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet, in combination with a prenatal vitamin. Yes, prenatals are designed for pregnant women and babies but they contain all of the important nutritional elements breastfeeding moms.
The following are just a few of the vitamins and minerals you need to be ingesting to ensure that your breast milk has the proper nutrition for your baby.
DHA is essential for healthy brain development. Do you ever hear moms talk about fogginess or say that they have “mom brain”? Your body is taking all of the DHA you have stored up and giving it to your baby. Their brain develops healthily but our memory suffers a bit. This means that it’s important to continue to take in more DHA.
Believe it or not, iodine is also important for brain development. Your baby needs iodine and the only way for them to get it is by making sure you take it in. A good multivitamin is a great source of this iodine.
Just like with DHA, your body is working hard to support your baby’s growing bones. Your body will actually give your baby all the calcium you are taking in through your diet and then some. Make sure your daily multivitamin has calcium and speak to your doctor or nutritionist about how much you should be taking in.
Your little one is building their army of red blood cells. Moms also need to maintain their own levels of iron as well. Making sure that your daily vitamin has enough iron will help ensure that both you and your baby stay healthy.
Other Ways Your Breast Milk Changes
There are small changes in the makeup of your breast milk over the course of a day. Some milk will have more hormones like right before bed, to help your baby sleep. If you or your baby are sick, your milk will contain antibodies to help your baby either stay healthy or fight infection. You can learn more ways your milk can change in this post.