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Welcome to Motherhood!
I was welcomed into the world of motherhood mid-December of last year. It was one of the most memorable days of my life – incredibly surreal. The first time I got to see and hold my baby boy I was filled with so much emotion; love, concern, excitement and worry. Late in my pregnancy we found out by ultrasound that there were some issues with his bladder and kidneys. But the doctors couldn’t be sure of the cause or severity until after he was born.
We spent less than 30 minutes with our son before he was taken to the NICU. This is where he would make his home for the next three and a half weeks. We didn’t know what to expect or what might help or hurt his development and ability for his kidneys to function properly. So we wanted to make sure I had a postpartum regimen that would help me to be healthy and produce good quality milk for him.
For the first 48 hours after delivering, I spent all my time feeding and pumping, then grabbing a quick bite and trying to nap until the next shift. During that time my husband tried to figure out our living situation. He made some calls and arranged a way for us to stay on the hospital campus while our son was in the NICU. This was one of the biggest blessings we experienced during those hard weeks! The hospital had RV hookups for families with babies in the NICU. A spot opened up a few hours before we were discharged and a couple from our church graciously drove their RV over, getting us set up just in time. This way we could be with our son each day and for every feeding.
In addition to taking care of our living arrangements, my husband also helped research ways to help me produce good fatty breast milk. It took about 3 days before my milk came in, but when it did I was quite the milk-producing machine. It was so awesome! Even the nurses kept talking about the quantity and fattiness of it. This was of course my first baby and first time breastfeeding. But it sure was a successful experience and I believe wholeheartedly that my postpartum regimen had a lot to do with it.
My Postpartum Regimen
During the first few weeks I ate constantly. If I wasn’t feeding, pumping, or sleeping I was eating. I did have snacks throughout the day (and night) but my main regimen revolved around three main meals.
First thing in the morning I would have my Apple Cider Vinegar drink. I usually mix 2 Tbsp. of Bragg’s ACV in about 8 ounces of water and honey to taste. There are variations where you can add lemon and cayenne and cinnamon for example. If you are just starting off, I recommend you try with less ACV at first because it can take some getting used to.
Next I had bone broth collagen by Ancient Nutrition. I typically mix the bone broth collagen with hot water and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos to taste. Some people like to put it in a smoothie to make it more palatable. But I prefer to just drink a cup of it quickly. We use the pure flavor but they do offer a variety of others for you to choose from. If you’re looking to add some more healthy fats you can mix some oil in. The mixture we make typically consists of things like coconut, palm, olive oil and ghee. I don’t use a whole lot but it makes it even richer and is so good for you!
I also took 1 DHA capsule with breakfast.
Breakfast and Dinner:
At breakfast and dinner to aid in breast milk production I took 2 nettle capsules. I would also try to make sure I had some sort of dairy, usually raw milk, raw cheese, or some organic yogurt. We purchase our raw milk from Organic Pastures.
I also tried to have some type of fermented food for the good bacteria. This was usually sauerkraut or Kimchi.
The only difference in my meals is that at lunch I would take 1 iron supplement and not have any dairy. Dairy and other calcium rich foods interferes with the absorption of iron. So you want your dairy consumption to be a couple hours apart from taking an iron supplement (source).
When it came to food, my goal was to eat as much protein and good fats as possible. This typically included wild-caught fish and pasture raised meat and fats like ghee, coconut oil, and avocados. Nearly everyday for awhile I made a delicious sandwich slathered in guacamole, followed by canned Alaskan salmon, spinach, and cheese (if it wasn’t lunch time when I took my iron supplement).
As far as supplements go, each meal I would take 1 prenatal, and 3 fenugreek. A note on the fenugreek: if you use it to help boost your supply you can increase by one capsule each week maxing out at 7. At that point you can stop taking it altogether.
I also took a tsp of cod liver oil each meal.
The most unpleasant thing I ate was a raw garlic clove with honey. You’ll want to smash the clove up and let it sit for about 10 minutes before adding honey. The recipe I tried originally when I was trying to get rid of a UTI without antibiotics, called for a tsp of honey. When I tried just using a tsp of honey, it burned my throat on the way down and on the way back up. I have learned that the only way I can comfortably take the garlic is by covering the garlic in as much honey as necessary. I also immediately chased it down with water. It is much easier to eat it if you use a garlic press or chop it up real fine.
If you are looking to increase milk supply in particular and you want an amazing breath freshener after the garlic, you can also take some dry herbs. I combined about a tsp. of both fennel and dill, mixed with a half tsp. of cumin seeds.
Please feel free to share your experience and tips with breastfeeding and breast milk production! And be sure to let me know if you successfully tried any of things I did!