Breastfeeding 101 lactation nutrition

The decision to breastfeed your infant is one that will stay with your child long after the first year or two of life. In addition to the physiological bonding that breastfeeding facilitates between mother and child, breast-feeding has proven benefits for the development and health of your child. Here is breastfeeding 101.

Benefits of Breastfeeding include:
• Higher IQ scores later in childhood
• Enhanced neuro-developmental performance
• Lower incidence of the following conditions: allergies and asthma, bacteremia and meningitis, childhood lymphoma, chronic constipation, diabetes, gastrointestinal infections, infantile eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, iron deficiency anemia, lower respiratory tract infections, sudden infant death syndrome, and urinary tract infections. (

Exclusive Breastfeeding:
“Exclusive breastfeeding means that an infant receives only breast milk with no additional foods or liquids, not even water. The benefits of exclusive breastfeeding on child survival, growth, and development are well documented. Exclusive breastfeeding also provides health benefits for mothers. Breast milk is 88 percent water. Studies show that healthy, exclusively breastfed infants under 6 months old do not need additional fluids, even in countries with extremely high temperatures and low humidity. Offering water before 6 months of age reduces breast milk intake, interferes with full absorption of breast milk nutrients, and increases the risk of illness from contaminated water and feeding bottles.” (

Nursing on Demand:
“Breastfeeding on demand requires such a small sacrifice of time in the grand scheme of your life, yet is invaluable and will pay off continually throughout your child’s development.” Natalia Rose
Approximate Frequency and Timelines for Breast-feeding
• 2–4 weeks = up to 10–14 feedings per day*
• 4–8 weeks = 8–12 feedings per day*
• 8–12 weeks = 8–10 feedings per day (should be getting close to every 2–3 hours)
• 3–8 months = 5–6 feedings per day
• 8–12 months = 2–3 feedings per day
• Beyond 12 months = 1–2 feedings per day
*If the baby naturally transitions to feeding every three hours before the specified timelines, how wonderful for you and your baby! However, this is not typical, so be prepared to feed more often for a period of time. Your baby will be able to maintain a three-hour schedule when his or her stomach gets large enough.

Plants that support and increase breast milk supply/production:
Fenugreek, Goat’s Rue, Fennel, Red Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa, Nettle, Blessed Thistle, Milk Thistle and Anise Seed.

*Add Avocados, Flaxseed Oil, Cold-pressed Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil to your ‘diet’ to ensure you and baby are receiving enough raw fat, vital for postpartum healing and your baby’s brain development.
*Add Oats, Brewer’s yeast and Flax seeds to homemade breads and baked goods as these ingredients work together to support lactation; adding vitamins, nutrients, and overall wholesomeness.

Image Credit: Erin Dieguez

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Maggie Bijl was so empowered by her birthing experience (the good, as well as the bad) that she is now an advocate for homebirth and childbirth education, as well as a Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Sacred Pregnancy Instructor, Mother roaster, and Birth Doula, as well as a Mom. Contact for more information.