Breastfeeding is one of the most incredible gifts a mother can give to her child. Our breast milk is the life source for our little ones, and we want to make sure it's filled with all of the nutrients they need.
A common concern about breast feeding is that there's not enough fat in breastmilk. In this article, we'll discuss how to increase fat in breast milk.
How to Make Breastmilk Fattier
If you think that you don't have enough fat in your breast milk, don't fret. This is a very common concern for new mothers. The good news is that there's several things you can try to increase fat in breast milk.
We'll discuss the primary factors below that affect the fat content in your breastmilk as well as how to make breastmilk more fatty.
How to Tell if it's a Problem
The best indicator of a possible issue in fat content in your breastmilk is if you're baby is not gaining enough weight. However, another possible cause of your baby not gaining weight is an aversion to eating.
Factors that Affect Fat Content in Breastmilk
Let's discuss each of the factors that are critical when increasing fat in breast milk. These include time of day, duration of feedings, frequency of feedings, as well as diet.
If you're experiencing not enough fat in breast milk, make sure you're following best practices which we discuss below.
1. The Time of Day
The time of day significantly changes the amount of fat in the breast milk. This differs from mother to mother. So, take a look at your daily feeding sessions and write your thoughts down in a journal.
Do your breasts seem to be fuller in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Take a look at your notes after a week’s time.
See if any patterns in the fullness of your breasts occur. Note the time it occurs, and you can make changes accordingly.
If your breasts are fuller when baby is sleeping, try pumping your breast milk. This way your baby can get all of that yummy goodness!
2. How Much Time has Gone by During the Feeding?
The fat content in the milk depends on how empty or full the breast is.
This will sound counter intuitive, but...
An empty breast has higher fat content. A full breast has much lower fat in the breast milk.
It's important to look at the time that has elapsed since the start of the feeding. The foremilk is full of water, protein, and other nutrients, but has less fat content.
The hind milk, milk toward the end of the feeding session, has very high fat content.
If you think your baby is not getting enough fat in their milk, pumping could fix the problem. Pump one-third of your milk. Your baby will then receive just the hind milk and not the foremilk. You could also increase the duration of the feeding.
3. The Frequency Between Feedings
The more frequent the feedings, the higher amount of fat in the milk. This is because you are not giving your breasts enough time to fill up.
Try feeding your little one for shorter amounts of time, but feed him more often.
You could try breastfeeding on demand. As soon as you feel your breasts beginning to fill, feed your little one. Give them the time they need to fill themselves up.
Mom’s diet does not affect the amount of fat in breast milk. It does affect the type of fat that is passed on to your little one.
Your child needs the right type of fat, as the fat they receive is used to metabolize vitamins. When they do not have enough vitamins in their body, a vitamin deficiency can occur. It is very important to make sure you are eating the most healthy types of fat.
Let's discuss which ones are the best.
Omega 3 fatty acids
These fatty acids improve your infant’s growth and development. They help boost the development in your baby’s brain and retinas.
They are also linked to improving the immune system. You can find Omega 3 in walnuts, soybeans, flaxseed, and fatty fish. The recommended weekly dose is two to three servings of Omega 3 in your diet.
Don’t like fish or want a yummy dessert? Try making some oatmeal and flaxseed chocolate chip cookies. They are good and good for you!
Omega 6 fatty acids
Omega 6 helps with growth and brain development. They can be found in vegetable oils and seeds. Making a trail mix is a great way to add some Omega 6 to your diet.
To do this, take some walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and any other nuts and mix it with your favorite trail mix ingredients.
If it's around Halloween, you can also roast some pumpkin seeds and mix them in. It is fun and yummy at the same time!
These fats help lower cholesterol and lower the risk for heart disease. They also help improve blood sugar control.
Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive, peanut and canola oils. Other sources include poultry, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Make sure you are limiting the amount of saturated fats in your diet. Saturated fats can be found in fatty meats and dairy.
If you are not producing enough fat in your breast milk, increase your protein intake. Protein is in fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, and anchovies.
Make sure you stay away from tuna, mackerel, shark, and swordfish. These fish have high traces of mercury.
Protein can also be found in yogurt, cheese, eggs, beans, and nuts.
Breastfeeding can be a time of frustration and self-doubt. Keep in mind that every mom feels discouraged at some point. Above, we discussed some methods on how to make breastmilk fattier.
Breastfeeding takes getting used to. Every baby is different and every mom is different. So find out what works for the both of you. There are plenty of techniques and remedies to try.
Just remain calm, breathe, and know that you are doing the best thing for your little one. You are providing the best source of food they can possibly get.
You are doing great, keep it up!