So I thought it's about time I wrote a follow up to my earlier post and updated what I have been eating during the middle and end of my wonderful pregnancy. Yes, I have loved it and am one of the lucky ones who seem to be blessed with a fairly trouble free pregnancy. Ok, I've had pretty much all of the typical symptoms; nausea, irritable bowel, puffy ankles, aches and pains and restless nights, but I've managed to cope with them all and see them as 'baby making it's nest' pains rather than negative problems. I'm able to cope with when I see them easier when I see them in a positive light, as well as eating the right foods, rest, exercise and massage to nurture this body which is nourishing our little one!
Tonight I am experimenting with 'Lactation bars', as they are affectionately known on most resources I've found, or as I like to call them my 'mummas little helpers'. They are basically delicious superfood bars that can be enjoyed by everyone, not just milky-making mums! They contain lots of ingredients known to increase the production of breast milk, so when nursing a new born, when energy is perhaps lacking and milk flow needs to be encouraged, these are your ultimate comfort food! I have tested these out on my partner and friends, and everyone loves them , so don't be put off if you are not in the breast feeding world. I actually want to make lots of different versions of these, and will make them a regular snack in our house. I researched the ingredients thought to increase milk supply and came up with these oaty crunchy slices using all lactation-productive foods. Everything in these tasty little slices is not only likely to boost your milk, but is also really high in iron and good fats, essential things to get in after birthing a baby and recovery post partum. Although I am a few weeks away from reporting the results, I am enjoying eating these everyday knowing that I am filling my body and baby with amazing foods! I shall of course let you know if I think they do the trick.
Ingredients that are thought to increase milk production:
Oats ~ Rich in nutrients and nourishing to the nervous system. Oat s have long been recommended for lactating women, though I think the main reason that they are great for breast feeding, are that oats are the ultimate comfort food. A bowl of oatmeal helps us to relax, is warm and satisfying and thus helps us relax into the joy of nourishing our babies. Oats are well used in herbal medicine as a nervine tonic, and could help with any post natal depression.
Flax/chia seeds ~Are both high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids which are important for cardiovascular health, brain development and skin health. Eating enough Omega 3 during pregnancy is important for fetal development, brain and eye health, so keeping the dosage up during breast feeding will mean that your baby keeps getting enough of these good fats. As breast milk is made up of fats, getting enough yourself will mean that you wont deplete yourself. Chia seeds are especially hydrating and high in protein. You can read more about them here.
Coconut~ Whether fresh, dried. the water or in oil form, coconut products are amazing for lactating mothers, as coconut contains lauric acid which is an important component in breast milk. This fatty acid has antibacterial properties, which could help boost the immune system of the newborn. Have you ever noticed how a coconut resembles a breast?! Its shape, holes and leaking milk from inside if you are to pierce one is totally imitating a human breast. I love the idea that foods which resemble parts of our body are good for that part, and coconuts and their milk has to be the most obvious one! I feel that coconuts are natures gift to nursing mums, and all of their properties are amazing for us whilst beginning to breast feed. I am planning on drinking lots of coconut water whilst in labour, as it is so hydrating, sweet and easy to stomach. Coconut water is also amazing for weaning older infants, as its taste is very similar to mothers milk.
Fenegreek~Has been used for centuries as a herb to increase breast milk supply. They are excellent for digestive disorders and contain lots of minerals. Be warned however, eating lots of fenegreek will make you smell like an Indian takeaway! You will almost certainly wear a curry aroma if you eat alot of it, as I found out when I started sprouting fenegreek seeds and consuming them daily! Maybe not a great thing unless you really need it.
Molasses~ Anemia can contribute to low milk supply and is common in new mums after losing blood during birth. Enzymes needed for energy production and metabolism are dependent on iron. Blackstrap molasses is iron rich, and a traditional remedy for low milk supply. It also tastes great, and can be used to sweeten oatmeal porridge, used in cakes or eaten straight.
Buckwheat: Contains rutin which helps decrease blood pressure, helping us stay relaxed.
Mummas Little helpers
Makes about 20 bars
1c oats (traditional rolled oats)
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp fenegreek powder (optional)
In a high speed blender or food processor, grind the cashews as finely as possible. Pour into a bowl, then do the same with the oats, forming a fine flour. Combine in the bowl with the chia seeds, coconut oil, molasses and fenegreek and form into a dough using your hands. Press the dough into a baking tin lined with cling film, and set in the fridge while you make the topping.
1/2c coconut oil, melted
1/3c honey, slightly warmed
1/2 c buckwheaties (sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat)
1/2 c goji berries
1/2 c hemp seeds
1/4 cacao nibs
In a bowl, combine the coconut oil and honey until you have a paste. add all the dry ingredients until you have a chunky mixture, then spread ontop of the base. leave to set in the fridge before cutting into slices. Will keep in the fridge for many weeks and can also be frozen.
If you dont have any buckwheaties on hand, you could use puffed rice or chopped nuts such as almonds or brazils.
You could substitute the goji berries for any dried fruit chopped small.
For an even more decadent treat, you could drizzle some dark chocolate ontop of these bars! New mums especially need all the energy they can get!
Crunchy, oaty, super slices full of good fats and lactogenic herbs! Not just for the mums out there.. everyone loves these!