For a sleep deprived mother coffee becomes life...
The caffeine helps to get through the sleep deprived days. So the question often gets asked how much coffee is too much for the breastfeeding mum.
Statistics show that nearly half (46%) of Australian’s drink coffee and that having children increased the weekly coffee consumption by 2.4 cups (7.2 v 9.6 cups per week).
Most breastfeeding mothers can consume a moderate amount of caffeine (eg a few cups of coffee or tea each day) without it affecting their babies. Caffeine does transfer to breast milk but in very low concentrations (0.06%-1.5% of 300mg of caffeine) Newborn babies however can be particularly sensitive to caffeine. This is because it can take a newborn baby a long time (ie half-life of 50–100 hours) to process caffeine. By 3–4 months, however, it takes a baby only about 3–7 hours. (According to ASN)
Caffeine content in common drinks and food1,2
Caffeine level (mg)
145 mg/50 mL shot
Formulated caffeinated drinks / ‘Energy’ Drinks
up to 80 mg/250 mL can
Instant coffee (1 teaspoon/cup)
60–80 mg/250mL cup
10–50 mg/250mL cup
up to 54 mg/375 mL cup
20 mg/100 g bar
Tips to combine breastfeeding and coffee:
- Pre term or ill infants may experience larger issues with metabolizing caffeine, you may want to limit caffeine intake during these times.
- Studies have shown that ingesting less than 300mg/day of caffeine should not cause issues for infants. Be wary of what products contain caffeine, so you can track how much you have consumed.
- If caffeine affects your sleep, try not drinking any coffee after 2pm. Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing.
- If you find caffeine intake effects your little one, but still need one, try having a coffee as soon as you breastfeed. This gives you the largest amount of time to process the caffeine before feeding again as peak levels occur about 60-120 mins after consumption.
- If caffeine does have an effect on your child, try giving it a few weeks/months and trying again. The half life (time it takes for the body to get rid of half the dose) reduces significantly with age ( eg 97.5 hours for infants- 2.6 hours at 6 + months).
So the take away is you can still enjoy a cuppa but just be mindful of how much you are ingesting.
- A new study finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
They already know that exercising during pregnancy is beneficial to the unborn baby but they wanted to also understand the WHY. When they did their original study they found that the health benefits from fit mums transferred to the pups, proving that they were, in fact, passed through breast milk and not simply inherited genetic traits.
Researchers followed about 150 pregnant and postpartum women using activity trackers and found that those who had more steps per day had an increased amount of a compound known as 3SL in their breast milk, which they believe is responsible for these health benefits.
They are now trying to see if they can extract this 3SL so that maybe they can add it to baby formula to help Mums who were maybe on bed rest or can’t breastfeed.
Dorothy M. Davis states: “Exercise is also great for your overall health during and after pregnancy, so anything you can do to get moving is going to benefit both you and your baby."
So there you have it even more reason to get out and get moving with your bump on board!
Information from the study was published in ScienceDaily.com
Many woman struggle in the first few weeks/months of breastfeeding until they establish their supply and/or get the hang of it. A number of lactating woman also feel that they are not producing enough in order to meet the demands of a newborn baby. This can often be the thought due to having a screaming baby, one that keeps searching for a suck, poor weight gain etc, not thriving etc etc.
Here are a few tips to maybe get things flowing:
- Allow lots of sucking:Breastmilk is produced on demand, and the sucking stimulates your body thinking there is more demand for milk.
- Pump between feeds: This will also trigger the supply-and-demand cycle in your body to produce more milk.
- Lots of skin to skin contact: This will release a hormone called prolactin. Prolactin stimulates oxytocin (the feel good hormone). Both prolactin and oxytocin can help stimulate breast milk production.
- Drink more water: to avoid dehydration. Institute of Medicine recommends arounds 3.1 L compared to 2.2 L in non breastfeeding mothers.(This changes according to activity levels/environmental needs etc)
- Manage stress when possible: Outsource tasks if they are becoming too overwhelming. Listen to relaxing music during nursing sessions.
- Empty breasts during feeding: The more milk that is removed the more you will make.
- Consider fenugreek tea: Fenugreek is one of a few herbs that has data to support its use as a galactagogue (substance to help increase milk supply).
- Make sure you are getting the additional 500 calories (a day) to help aid the increase in nutritional demands.
For further assistance see your local Lactation consultant or call the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
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.
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.
She is the founder of ADOFitness and is an accomplished fitness industry professional, personal trainer, nutrition/prep coach, posing instructor, competitor, endorsed athlete, NPC judge, and cover model. Although her career began in the financial business world, this transitioned to full time personal training after her introduction and newly discovered love for bikini bodybuilding competitions in 2010. After extensive misguided nutrition and training advice, she was left with an unhealthy relationship with food and a damaged endocrine system. Her real passion then developed into helping herself and others reach their fitness goals in a healthy and sustainable way. Knowing she wanted to have children, she decided to stop competing and seek out an endocrinologist and hormone specialist. She began healing and restoring her body to a healthy state through proper nutrition and exercise. While she and her husband still had unexplained infertility challenges, they were blessed to conceive their son via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Her miracle baby was born in December of 2016, which she proudly says is her greatest accomplishment to date! Her goal now with ADOfitness is to help others optimize their health with sustainable and realistic nutrition and exercise programs that focus on internal AND external health.
We wanted to check in with Amber and see what her pregnancy and Breastfeeding journey was like to help other Mums....
1.How did your exercise regime change in your pregnancy?
Due to some complications up front, I was on medical bedrest for about the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy. After that time, once I was cleared to workout, I didn't perform HIIT or direct core work any longer. I also lifted a little lighter than usual. Other than that it didn't change a whole lot.
2.If there was a change, why? Energy, not sure about what to do etc
The only thing that held me back was fear of miscarriage due to complications with a subchorionic hemorrhage. Once that cleared up, nothing held me back other than understanding that direct core work and HIIT should be avoided part the second trimester.
3.What exercises did you do in your pregnancy?
Strength training, yoga, walking, and some jogging.
4.Number one top training tip for mums to be?
Listen to your body! Understand when you need to slow down, maybe eat a little more, or not push as hard!
5.Did you breastfeed?
Yes, 30 months!
6.If so, do you think your active pursuits effected your supply?
No, I think a lot of factors affect supply but keeping water intake high, eating enough of the right foods, and properly bonding with your baby to establish your supply is key.
7.How did you balance feeding and exercise?? - tips
I would pump if need be and that way my son could be fed by our nanny or my husband if I was working out. I took it slow at first and made sure I didn't see a dip in my supply with my expenditure increasing. I noticed the biggest dip when my stress was high and when my water intake wasn't high enough. If I focused on those two things I didn't have any issues!
Wow what an incredible lady with so much knowledge in the fitness industry to share with Mums at all levels whether you want to get back into activity or you want to compete on stage.
If you want to check out more of Amber’s amazing journey head to https://www.amberdawnorton.com
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
– James Baraz
"When we stay in the present, we make wiser choices and take things less personally."
- Saki Santorelli
“There could not be a better time to learn mindfulness than during pregnancy and early motherhood. For one thing, this is a time when most people have a strong motivation to become the best person they can be in a relatively short period of time. When you realize the full enormity of the responsibility you have taken on by becoming a mom, the primary source of care for another whole human being, not to mention one that you love more than you thought you could ever love, there is a really high level of motivation to try your best to get yourself into the best mental and emotional shape possible. I've talked to so many pregnant women who have for the first time in their lives encountered within themselves a deep and very sweet drive to learn new ways of being-quick! They don't want to pass on negative patterns to their child, and want to do everything possible to transmit a healthy foundation for the rest of their child's life.
Also, this is a great time to learn mindfulness because you are already open and somewhat vulnerable. The downside of this can be feeling off-balance or a little exposed, needing more help from others than usual and being at the mercy of your body's functions and your baby's needs. The upside is that this state of being provides a sort of malleability-some of your defenses are down, you may be feeling more sensitive than usual, and this is a great time to learn new skills! It makes you open-minded in a way that perhaps you are not when you've got everything under control. Since mindfulness has a lot to do with being in touch with the sensations in your body, and being aware, new moms are in a prime state to learn it! In fact, pregnancy and early motherhood, nursing and sleep disturbance, weight gain and weight loss-these all in some way force you to be in your body. For those of us who live most of our lives above our necks, this can actually be a great blessing.
Let me tell you a bit more about how mindfulness transformed my experience of motherhood!
Several years ago, as I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, I began to read about mindfulness.
Of course! I thought, I just need to be more mindful! Thank goodness I read this book!
And then I tried to be mindful.
Without any of the meditating….
I didn’t want to waste my precious time sitting on a cushion doing nothing! I mean, I had all this parenting I had to do!
But I realized that mindfulness didn’t work if I just read about it and liked the idea of it.
Once I started meditating...
... my life started to change.
I discovered a peace and stillness at the core of my busy life.
I smiled more. I laughed more.
I found a new way of being and doing and mothering.
I realized I could respond much more skillfully to my children ~ even when they were driving me crazy!
I learned to be kind and compassionate to myself.
I knew that mindfulness had transformed me as a mother.
I knew I should start teaching this to others.” By Cassandra Vieten
Over the coming weeks we will share ways to practise mindfulness no matter what stage of motherhood you are at. (Pregnant, Breastfeeding, Postpartum, menopausal- we all deserve a bit of time out...) These practises should be short and not impact upon your day and be an extra chore to do...
During pregnancy or while breastfeeding your baby, be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods.
What Nutrients Do Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women Need?
The essential nutrients (including protein, calcium, carbohydrates, fibre, foelate, healthy fats, iodine, iron, vitamin A, vitamin b6, b12, C and D)to help you and your baby thrive. They're found in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, dairy products, and lean meats.
Sometimes trying to get that extra bit of fuel is troublesome so once a week we are going to share a recipe for a snack or meal that can be ready to go. Breastfeeding is quite time consuming so having something ready to go to enjoy is super important to help keep the right fuel going in.
This week we are sharing one of our favourite energy balls that are refreshing and a great source of protein.
Lime and Coconut energy balls
- 1 cup packed pitted dates (soak in warm water first if very dry)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened fine coconut
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp fresh grated lime zest
- 1 cup raw cashews
- Place the cashews in a food processor and mix until mostly broken down.
- Add the dates and process until a dough forms.
- Add the coconut and lime and process until well mixed.
- Roll into balls and store in the fridge. Makes 15 balls.
Recipe from: Runningrealfood.com