- Get toxins out of your breast milk
- Find out the best foods for brain development
- Discover these nutrient-dense foods for breastfeeding
- Build up your baby’s immune system
Not everyone can breastfeed their babies (see the end of the post for help with alternative options), but many studies show that if you can, you give them an incredibly healthy start thanks to immune system and developmental benefits.
Our guide will help you and your baby along this incredible journey:
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, your milk is the only source of nutrition for the baby, so it’s best to keep a clean diet and lifestyle to maximise the quality of the milk.
Chemicals in the food we eat can all make it into breast milk. This includes:
- Vegetables and grains sprayed with pesticides and grown with chemical fertilisers
- Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals that eat pesticide treated grain
- Animal products where the livestock are routinely treated with antibiotics and hormones
- Heavy metals that accumulate in fish, particularly large fish like tuna and swordfish
- Pollution in the environment
- Cigarette smoke
- Mould in food or your environment
- Foods and drinks packaged and/or heated in plastics especially BPAs
- Chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries: parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Choose organic produce and organic animal products whenever possible. If you can’t always afford to buy organic meat go to your closest farmer’s market, get to know the small farmers that don’t use hormones and antibiotics routinely and have grass-fed meat.
- If the above is not possible then choose some organic vegetarian and vegan alternatives. Quinoa is a fantastic ‘pseudo grain’ that is high in protein.
- Try organic coconut oil, which is a fantastic non-animal source of fats.
- Drink plenty of filtered water (1.5-2 litres per day).
- Store food in BPA-free containers – glass is great!
- Make a few cups of herbal tea per day, ideally cleansing ones that support the liver such as nettle, fennel and dandelion.
- Include cleansing superfoods in your diet such as Organic Burst Wheatgrass, which has an alkalising effect and contains lots of fibre.
- Organic Burst Chlorella is the ultimate detoxification helper because it has been shown in numerous studies to remove alcohol, heavy metals, chemicals and environmental pollutants from the liver and bowel.
- Chlorella has been shown to reduce the dioxins found in breast milk.
"Reduce toxins from your diet to maximise the quality of your breast milk with these tips."
Build Baby’s Immune system
A newborn doesn’t yet have enough healthy bacteria in the gut, this is why their immune systems are so weak at this stage. Good bacteria need to enter the baby’s digestive system to begin a healthy colony of bacterial flora for protection against allergies, food intolerance, infections, diarrhoea and diseases in later life.
Babies get their first sources of bacteria from the birth canal and breast milk. As well as containing probiotic strains, breast milk contains a special type of lactose (milk sugar) that encourages important bacterial flora in babies’ intestines.
If the baby was born by c-section, or if you or they have had antibiotics soon after the birth, use a good-quality probiotic supplement. Take it internally yourself, and you can also put some of the powder on your nipple when feeding.
Foods for good gut bacteria:
- Fermented foods like pickles Sauerkraut
- Kombucha (a natural fermented tea)
- Kimchi Kefir
- Natural organic yoghurt
- Coconut oil for antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasite support
- Organic Burst Chlorella helps to balance gut bacteria
*A recent study found that the immune cells found in breast milk were significantly higher in women taking chlorella – this means the little one will have immune system support.
"The superfood chlorella has been found to increase the immune cells found in breast milk."
Fat is an important part of the composition of breast milk (about 50%) because the baby needs essential fats to develop their brain and nervous system. Evolution dictates that brainpower gives a human baby the best chance of survival!
Interestingly, this is very different from the nutritional needs of a baby calf, whose mother’s milk (cow’s milk) contains more protein and less fat so its body mass will grow rapidly but not its brain.
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is a particularly important fat for rapidly building the cells of the brain and nervous system. It is found in high quantities in breast milk, in fact this is the richest source of GLA. These fatty acids are helpful against inflammation and necessary for proper mental and emotional processes.
Fat is rich in calories, so the extra 400-500cals that most breastfeeding mums need are best obtained from nutrient-dense, fat-rich foods...
Best fats for breastfeeding:
- Oily fish, particularly smaller ones like anchovies, sardines and salmon (avoid tuna and swordfish because they contain heavy metals) are rich in DHA – the essential fat that provides the building blocks of all new cells and that is found in high quantities in the brain and nervous system. Eat fish 3-4 times per week and use a high quality fish oil supplement on days you don’t.
- For extra energy and easy to absorb fats (this is important for a baby’s undeveloped digestive system), eat 1-2 tbsp organic coconut oil per day. It is an incredible source of medium-chain triglycerides and saturated fats that are used for fast and sustained energy. Add to green vegetables, quinoa porridge, in cooking or straight off the spoon.
- Eggs (go for organic) contain good levels of healthy fats, cholesterol and choline that are all important for infant development. Eat 2 eggs most days – go for your favourite breakfast style, hard-boiled in a salad, or whip up a frittata for lunch or dinner.
- Spirulina is the next highest food source of GLA after breast milk! Take 1tsp Organic Burst Spirulina powder once or twice a day in a glass of water with lemon juice, or disguised in a green smoothie.
"When breastfeeding, make sure you have plenty of high quality fats in your diet."
A diet rich in a wide array of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (the numerous helpful compounds found in plants) is important for everyone’s health, and especially in breastfeeding women because nutrients you eat go into breast milk.
The best way to get enough is to challenge yourself to eat all the colours of the rainbow every day – go for purple sprouting broccoli, avocado, orange peppers, watermelon, Organic Burst Spirulina (blue-green), carrots, cabbage, kale.
Here are some nutrients to focus on that are often found to be low in infants:
- B Vitamins – miso, tempeh, meat
- Vitamin D – fish, exposing your skin to the sun
- Iodine – sea vegetables, seafood
- Vitamin A – green and orange vegetables (for betacarotene that converts to Vit A) or organic animal liver (1 portion 1-2 times per week is enough)
- Selenium – nuts and seeds
Our final topic is incredibly simple but doesn’t always spring to mind: Hydration! You need to produce enough fluid to deliver all the strengthening nutrients to your baby by drinking more.
Just as you need more calories when breastfeeding, you also need a comparable increase in fluids, this might equate to around 1 litre extra per day.
The good news is your body will remind you to keep drinking – lots of nursing mums say they get incredibly thirsty, which is a sign their body’s messaging systems are working well!
Best ways to stay hydrated:
- Water – go for filtered or bottled mineral water (from a glass bottle).
- Herbal teas, especially the cleansing ones mentioned above, but avoid peppermint as it may reduce your breast milk supply. Teas that are said to increase your supply include: Raspberry Leaf tea, Fennel, Nettle and Milk Thistle. Your local health-food shop is likely to stock a specific ‘nursing tea’ or ‘mother’s milk tea’ – give one a try!
- For a comforting, warming drink to get you through a long day or night of feeding, try this Organic Burst Hot Maca Latte recipe: Whisk 1 tsp Organic Burst Maca* into your mug of warm plant-based milk and add 1tsp pure rice syrup or your choice of sweetener.
- Organic Burst Baobab is an incredible fruit powder from Africa that contains electrolyte minerals that help to replenish and hydrate your body – simply mix 1tsp into water and get extra Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and more!
Just remember to listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty. Concentrate on nutrient-dense foods and you’ll know you’re doing the right thing for yourself and your precious baby!
End note: How to choose formula alternatives
If breastfeeding is not an option for you, it’s worth trying to find a milk donor in your area - you may be lucky and have a friend who has plenty of milk to spare!
Things to be aware of regarding formula milk:
- Avoid soy formulations - they contain toxins like high doses of aluminium.
- Commercial formulas can contain additives like preservatives that you my not be happy about.
- Steer clear of any non-fat milk ingredients - fats are important for your baby!
- Look into home made baby formula recipes - The Weston A. Price Foundation has created some recipes that mean you know exactly what’s going into your baby.
Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
Human Milk Composition: Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013 Feb; 60(1): 49–74.
Dioxins: Chemosphere: 61; (9): 1244–55 2005
Fluid intake: Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes