Mama Fuel. Recipes to support breastfeeding
Mama Fuel. Filling the cup that feeds them.
It’s easy to forget your own needs when you have a newborn to care for, but feeding yourself properly and looking after yourself physically and emotionally, is key to caring for them. This is the case for all mums, but even more so if your breastfeeding. You have to fill the cup that feeds them
A mothers milk should be perfectly nutritionally balanced, but there are some ways that mamas can boost their supply and optimise their milk, and mamas should explore all options. Try increasing feeds, on demand nursing, skin to skin, expressing. What and how you eat can also play a significant role.
The fundamentals of a breastfeeding diet are to eat well and to eat often. Whilst there is limited empirical evidence into the efficacy of foods in helping lactation and milk supply, some key ingredients have been used for centuries to assist women with milk making, across the world in different cultures. These ingredients are called ‘galactagogues’ and are known as ‘lactogenic’. They increase milk supply through promoting prolactin and oxytocin.
Oats, whole grains, pulses (especially chickpeas), nuts (especially almonds), protein and lots of leafy greens all promote milk supply as well as being staples in a healthy diet. Certain herbs and spices such fennel, fenugreek and cumin also really help boost milk supply.
As a mum, time is precious, so why not try cooking larger quantities than you need, so you can turn leftovers into other dishes, saving you time the next day, and or filling your freezer. I’ve pulled together some tasty ideas for autumn and winter that will nourish you and boost your milk supply, and that are suitable for the whole family.
This Autumn and Winter, start the day with porridge
Oats are one of our most nutritious foods. They contain proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements that nourish the nerves, support the metabolism of fats and uplift the spirit. Who doesn’t conjure up happy images when presented with a steaming bowl of creamy porridge. In traditional medicine, both the seed and the leaf are used. Soak the oats overnight, to halve the cooking time.
Try topping with your favourite nuts, seeds and fruit for a turbo boost.
Spiced almond and date porridge (serves 4)
160g porridge oats
8 pitted dates (medjool are the best)
100ml almond milk
400ml almond milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
A drizzle of date syrup for serving
Toasted flaked almonds to sprinkle on top.
Soak the oats and chopped dates overnight in 400ml cold water
In the morning, tip into a pan and add 400ml almond milk and ½ tsp cinnamon. Place over a low heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 5 minutes, or until the porridge has thickened.
Pour into a bowl and top with toasted flaked almonds and date syrup.
Made too much? No worries, pour into a lined baking tin and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Leave to cool and chop into ‘fingers’ and you’ll have your own home made porridge bars for snacks through the day.
Relax with a warming Moroccan stew (make a chicken version or a vege version). Serves 6-8
It’s the chickpeas and spices that make this a real milk booster, as well as being totally delicious! Warm food also promotes oxytocin flow, and feelings of relaxation, which help with let down.
2 sliced red onions
2 sliced red peppers
8 chicken thighs or 1 small butternut squash
2 Tablespoons harissa spice
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tins chickpeas
2 tins tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato puree
Pop all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Taking shortcuts is OK! Why not serve with a packet of microwave brown rice and some greens.
Cooked too much? Turn into a soup by adding more water to the leftovers and cooking on a low head for a further 30 minutes, or turn into a ‘shakshuka’ below.
If you made a vege version of the moroccan stew for supper, use leftovers to make a quick ‘shakshuka’ for lunch. Pop a couple of spoons of the leftovers in a frying pan. Create ‘pockets’ for the eggs and cook slowly, till the whites are set and the yolk is still runny. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve with crusty wholegrain bread.