Spicy food is one of those general words that gets thrown around when a Mum is breastfeeding and her baby is unsettled. Many then ask should I avoid the spice while breastfeeding? Here is what we found...
It’s fine to eat spicy food while you're breastfeeding. Traces of what you eat enter your milk, but it shouldn't unsettle your baby if you eat spicy food. In fact, it may benefit your baby. ... If your breastfed baby seems upset or irritable, you could try eating a milder diet to see if makes a difference.
Generally, the dominant flavors of your diet – whether soy sauce or chili peppers – were in your amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Fetuses swallow a fair amount of amniotic fluid before birth, so when they taste those flavors again in their mother's breast milk, they're already accustomed to them.
“Nursing moms don't need to be scared of spicy foods, says Paula Meier, Ph.D, director for clinical research and lactation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and president of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation.
By the time the baby is breastfeeding, Dr. Meier says, she is accustomed to the flavors Mom eats. "If a mother has eaten a whole array of different foods during pregnancy, that changes the taste and smell of amniotic fluid that the baby is exposed to and is smelling in utero," she says. "And, basically, the breastfeeding is the next step going from the amniotic fluid into the breast milk."
In fact, some items that mothers choose to avoid while breastfeeding, such as spices and spicy foods, are actually enticing to babies. In the early '90s, researchers Julie Mennella and Gary Beauchamp performed a study in which mothers breastfeeding their babies were given a garlic pill while others were given a placebo. The babies nursed longer, sucked harder, and drank more garlic-scented milk than those who had no garlic exposure.
Moms will restrict their diet if they suspect a correlation between something they ate and the child's behavior — gassy, cranky, etc. But while that cause-and-effect might seem enough for a mom, Dr. Meier says she would want to see more direct evidence before making any diagnosis.
"To truly say that a baby had something that was milk-related, I would want to see issues with the stools not being normal. It's very, very rare that a baby would have something that would truly be a contraindication to the mother's breastfeeding.”
Support in bras is oh so important.
Did you know:
That a pair of D-cup boobs weigh in at 7 to 10kg. “That’s more than enough to pull your trunk forward, force you into a hunched-over running posture, decrease your stride’s efficiency, and up your risk of injury,” McGhee says.
If you haven’t noticed, pretty much the only thing keeping your breasts up during a run is your bra’s shoulder straps, which take a lot of weight. When straps are thin, the pressure can be so great they not only leave dents in your shoulders but hit the brachial plexus nerve group, causing numbness in the pinky fingers.
We recommend a razor back or full back and should support for high-intensity exercise.
How much your boobs bounce depends almost entirely on breast size and elasticity of the skin covering your breasts, McGhee says. However, skin tends to lose its elasticity with age and “excessive breast bouncing.” So, the more your breasts bounce, the more they will bounce during future runs. Add in breastfeeding or post breastfeeding and your lady friends could be dragging on thin ice mid run….
How much do breasts bounce? Measuring the bounce of both bare and bra-covered breasts during treadmill workouts, McGhee found the average 38D moves about 13cm from top to bottom during running. Smaller breasts bounce about 7.5cm, which can still be uncomfortable. And breasts don't just bounce in an up and down motion; some larger breasts bounce in figure-eight shapes.
While they can’t completely eliminate bouncing, high-support sports bras can cut the range of motion in half (approximately), McGhee says. The goal is for the breasts to move in unison with your torso and not bounce independently of one another.
During pregnancy there is evermore of a concern. When you're pregnant, your body has very high levels of oestrogen and progesterone, hormones that stimulate your breasts' milk glands and milk ducts, respectively. The result of all this can be a big change in bra size, but growth usually slows or stops at the end of the first trimester. No special foods, massages, exercises, or creams affect breast growth during pregnancy, so spend your money on a good supportive bra instead.
While you are breastfeeding you should drink extra water, but you don’t need to overdo it. Hydration while breastfeeding should follow the commonsense “in and out” principles of hydration: If you use more fluid, you must take more in.
“Lactation involves specific physiological responses of the mother and requires both an increased supply of nutrients and water (IoM, 1991).
Breast milk contains, on average, 87% water (EFSA, 2010), water content varies depending on the time of day. During a single breastfeeding episode, foremilk (the milk obtained at the beginning of breastfeeding) has higher water content and keeps the infant hydrated, whereas hindmilk (milk released near the end of breastfeeding) contains two to three times more fat than foremilk (Riordan and Wambach, 2009).
Since breast milk is produced using maternal body water, a milk volume of 750 mL/d at 87% of water equals a significant extra water loss for the mother, compared to the daily normal losses. Maintaining water balance can therefore be challenging for lactating women.”
Surprisingly enough if you consume more water your breast milk production does not necessarily increase(like my mother told me) instead the maternal health suffers and becomes at risk of dehydration.
Here’s how to get the right amount of water to maintain hydration while breastfeeding:
- Drink enough water to quench your thirst plus a bit more, since thirst is not a completely reliable indicator of fluid needs.
- Carry a water bottle with you in your diaper bag like this one from @realactivemovement
I get in the habit of drinking a glass of water every time I breastfeed, plus a couple more each day. Try to keep with the principle of when baby drinks, mother drinks. Mums who train also need more water due to replacing the extra bit from sweating it out as well!
Nearly 1 in 5 breastfeedingwomen are affected by mastitis. In these cases, it usually develops in the first three months after giving birth.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is usually the result of a blocked milk duct that hasn't cleared. Some of the milk banked up behind the blocked duct can be forced into nearby breast tissue, causing the tissue to become inflamed. The inflammation is called mastitis. Infection may or may not be present.
If you think you have mastitis, see your medical adviser. There can be infectious and non-infectious mastitis.
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms of mastitis can make you feel as if you are getting the flu. You may begin to get shivers and aches.
Some mothers who do not have any early signs of a blocked duct get mastitis 'out of the blue'.
The breast will be sore like it is with a blocked duct, only worse. It is usually red and swollen, hot and painful. The skin may be shiny and there may be red streaks. You will feel ill. It is common for the ill feeling to come on very quickly.
- Poor attachment to the breast
- Nipple damage
- A long break between breastfeeds
- Breasts that are too full
- Blocked milk ducts
- Stopping breastfeeding too quickly
- Overly tight bra
- A baby with tongue-tie who is having problems attaching to the breast
It is important to start treatment at the first signs of mastitis.
- Continue to breastfeed or express from the affected breast.
- Place a heat pack or warm cloths on the sore area before feeding or expressing to help with your milk flow.
- Gently massage any breast lumps towards the nipple when feeding or expressing or when in the shower or bath.
- Continue to breastfeed or express your sore breast until it feels more comfortable.
- Place a cool pack, such as a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth, on the breast after feeding or expressing for a few minutes to reduce discomfort.
- You can take tablets for the pain such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. They are safe to take while breastfeeding.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day (up to 8 glasses).
- Rest as much as possible.
- If you don’t start to feel better after a few hours, you should see a doctor as soon as you can.
- If antibiotics are prescribed by your doctor, take as directed. It is safe to continue to breastfeed when taking these antibiotics.
Info from www.thewomens.org.au and ABA
Contrary to some opinions, working out as a breastfeeding mother does not affect milk supply. There are studies that show that the taste of your milk may change due to lactic acid levels in breast milk after vigorous exercise. But don’t worry – this does not make the baby unwilling to breastfeed and it’s not harmful for baby! Lactic acid disappears quickly from breast milk, even after a strenuous workout.
But, keep in mind you’re probably safest with a workout plan involving moderate activity. Research has shown that exclusively breastfed babies of mums who regularly exercise grow at the same rate as mums with a more sedentary lifestyle, which means breast milk is nutritional whether you work out or not. Remember that your body also has to work to make breast milk in the first place, which burns calories—an extra 400-500 calories a day on top of that. Making up those extra calories with healthy snacks in general, and even more so if you happen to be working out.
Studies have shown that exercise and breastfeeding can be combined without affecting milk supply. La Leche League International suggests the following when exercising while breastfeeding:
- Wait until the baby is at least six weeks old or more.
- Start the exercise slowly and gradually.
- Be sure to consume liquids to replace those lost by sweating.
- Some kinds of exercise can be done with baby.
- Walking briskly, mild aerobic exercises, and water exercises are ideal in the beginning.
- Other good exercises for later on are swimming
〰️That hydration is key when you’re exercising as a breastfeeding mum. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts.
〰️Consider getting a supportive high-impact bra as your breasts may change significantly from pregnancy to post-pregnancy and through breastfeeding and your old sports bras might not do the trick anymore. A bra with adjustable straps will help accommodate the changing size of your breasts throughout your journey. You can also try investing in one of our nursing sports bras that have easy flaps that open when you need to breastfeed or pump.
〰️Pumping or feeding before an exercise class will also help to keep the size in check.
Taking time to nurture your own development isn't selfish. The well-being of mothers impacts the well-being of children and families in powerful and far reaching ways. We cannot pour from an empty cup.
Motherhood and stress, understanding your triggers and learning to respond rather than react. In mothering we are faced with screaming kids, tantrums, constant want for your attention, demands of breastfeeding etc. Mindfulness of emotions and getting clear on your values is extremely helpful to identify what is going on first rather than reacting. If we do become reactive to the external triggers/stress one of the ways to help yourself is to change the scenery.
Karen Holmes explains it well in relation to Mums.
Mindfulness is probably the most scientifically investigated form of meditation to date, and to put it simply – it involves ‘training our attention’. Through this, we learn to focus on those things that are most useful and most helpful in our lives, allowing us to live more consciously and fully.
Given that a lot of mothering is done in automatic pilot mode, where we are literally multi-tasking the day away, living more mindfully can help us get on top of negative or worried thinking patterns – those pesky ‘what if…?’ scenarios.
A simple and quick mindfulness meditation:
Sit comfortably, preferably with your back firmly against a chair.
Place your feet on the floor and connect or root yourself with the floor.
Close your eyes, make sure your jaw is soft, and drop your chin a little.
Feel your breath and notice your belly rising and falling.
When you feel your thoughts wandering, simply notice this and return to the breath.
When you’re ready, lift your chin and open your eyes.
Bring your awareness slowly back to your surroundings.
Notice how you feel.
Breastfeeding is hard work and in those first few days, weeks and months you want to do all that you can to meet your baby’s needs.
Some woman struggle to get enough supply whilst others are like a leaking cow- it just keeps on coming! For some they are left on a solo journey to try and navigate their way through the jungle of breastfeeding.
The BREASTFEEDING ASSOCIATION offered the below advice which we found beneficial. Remember there are also lactation consultants that are only just a phone call away.
How to make more breastmilk: Demand = Supply
To build your breastmilk supply, the following ideas may help.
- Provided that your baby is correctly attached, you will find that the quickest and most successful way to boost your supply is to breastfeed more often. Offer a breastfeed every 2–3 hours during the day, for a few days, or increase the number of feeds by offering the breast in between your baby's usual breastfeeds.
- Here is an easy way to do this. If your baby does not settle after a feed, try offering another quick little ‘top up’ breastfeed. Those few minutes of extra feeding and cuddling may be all that is needed to soothe and satisfy him.
- Let your baby finish the first breast before switching to the second breast.
- Or, you may find it helps to change sides several times during a feed, whenever your baby's sucking seems to become less strong. Some people find that this encourages the baby to suck more strongly and stimulates a good let-down reflex.
- You can also try massaging your breast. Stroke it towards the nipple on all sides as your baby feeds. Take care not to disturb the nipple in your baby's mouth.
- If your baby is awake you can offer little ‘snack’ feeds without waiting for baby to cry for them.
- You can try offering the breast to soothe your baby for a few days, instead of other comforting strategies (eg a dummy).
- You may find that your baby has fussy periods when he wants to breastfeed more frequently. There is more about this in the Fussy periods and wonder weeks article on this website.
- Although they vary greatly, many new babies need 8–12 or more feeds in 24 hours. Babies generally feed less often as they get older. Babies also generally feed more efficiently as they get older.
- To increase your supply, you will need to fit in more feeds than is usual for YOUR BABY. Feeds do not need to be very long, just more often. In each 24 hours some feeds may be only 5–10 minutes long, others may be 30 minutes or longer, particularly when baby feeds to sleep slowly and contentedly.
- Help your milk to let-down quickly. Relax and enjoy feed times. Try to remove distractions (turn your phone off, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door), then settle with baby into a comfortable chair. Breathe deeply, relaxing each part of your body separately as you may have learned to do at antenatal classes. Have a drink on hand, a book or a magazine, listen to the radio or watch TV. For more ideas, see the let-down reflex article on this website.
- Babies vary greatly in the amount of sucking they seem to need. There is no need to worry if your baby is contented with a fairly short feed. Some babies however love to continue sucking long after the flow of milk has dwindled to a trickle. This is fine too. Your baby will let you know how long his feeds need to be.
- A baby who is well attached and positioned is more able to drain the breast well. For more information, see the Attachment to the breast article on this website.
MORE FREQUENT FEEDING MEANS MORE MILK!
- Feed your baby more often than usual.
- Check that baby is well positioned at the breast.
- Allow the baby to decide the length of a feed.
Struggling with a low milk supply can be very upsetting and frustrating. Remember that any amount of breastmilk you provide your baby is valuable. If you have tried these ideas and are still finding low supply to be a problem, speaking with an Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor on the Breastfeeding Helpline , a lactation consultant or your medical adviser may help.
Nursing or Breastfeeding is hard enough without having to coordinate the juggle of stripping clothes off or trying to hold up the top to access the breast. How exactly do you dress to make breastfeeding easy while still feeling confident about how you look?
Many new mums find themselves struggling to find clothes that make them look and feel good, but also allow easy access to breastfeed or pump. Luckily, nursing clothes have come a long way. That is why we put our creative juices into action so that you can find pieces you love to wear that are fully functional.
When you are sweaty from a gym class or exercising in public the last thing you want to do is try to wrestle with a normal crop whilst trying to appease the screaming/hungry baby.
The breastfeeding or nursing crops are designed for a one hand easy drop down action to allow for you to easy access the breast. The inner modesty panel allows for some coverage of the breast if feeding in public so that there is little need to cover yourself and the baby. Once the baby is attached to the breast the appearance is the same as if you are wearing a normal crop.
Our nursing crops are also designed with a larger/sturdier underband to offer more support. The engineering of a supportive crop requires anchor points as well as the straps to harness/reign in the breasts or secure them. By having a band that is just large enough to offer a decent anchor point though not too big to make it impossible to get out of is our mission. As each collection is launched we try to offer a different aspect as we know that everyone is different some people have big breasts and a small rib cage or small breasts and a large back. We also know that each woman changes during the pregnancy and postnatal period so we are endeavouring to offer a big range of choices. With the new NAUTICAL nursing crop the back adjusts up to 3 sizes and the straps also adjust allowing for changes in the body to occur without having to purchase a new crop.
The breast size also changes when you are breastfeeding. Up until about the three month mark the breasts are quite engorged whilst the milk supply is establishing itself. Also before and after a breastfeed the size of the breast; as well as the shape changes. To allow for these changes the crops come with removable breast pads. By taking them out there is more space for the breast allowing for that slight difference.
An individuals activity or exercise choice also affects their choice in what they want from a crop. For our runners they prefer the sweetheart crop which offers more support and coverage with the razor back design, our yoga/pilates and weightlifting Mummas prefer the String It nursing crop whilst the Mums who like a little bit of everything go for the Nautical.
As you can see the science to designing a fashionable and functional nursing or breastfeeding crop is not so simple. The breasts are an ever evolving part of our bodies that changes with puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding and after- MUMMACTIV’s mission has always been to provide fashionable and functional activewear to keep Mums stylishly active no matter what stage they are at.