It seems like everywhere I turn someone else I know is expecting.
It feels like yesterday that Ella and Jaxon were born! The best thing anyone did for me during those early days was bring me food. I was nursing on-demand nonstop as my babies built my milk supply, and it was the hungriest (and most thirsty) I ever was in my life. There’s no time, arms, or energy to clean, cook, shower … you name it! Having things around that were quick and easy to eat was a lifesaver.
I found out about these cookies shortly after Weezy was born. I struggled a lot that first month as a new mom getting into my groove with nursing. I made a ton of mistakes and am so grateful to have figured it out after finally getting some help (it came the hard way, but that is another blog post). I ended up exclusively nursing Weez for two years, and by the time Jaxon was born I was much more relaxed and prepared with no issues at all.
For a healthy milk supply, aside from nursing on demand (Mike was cool with not feeding the kids bottles those early days, and I was cool with waking up through the night to nurse because it was easiest for us) I loved sipping on tea made from 1 teabag of Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk Tea + 1 teabag of Pregnancy tea (the taste is much better and also my uterus was still recovering so I thought the raspberry tea still had benefits!). I also snacked on these lactation cookies (which also helped my slowed digestion).
Lactation cookies help to boost and maintain milk supply. They are made up of oatmeal, Brewer’s Yeast, and a bunch of other goodies to make them taste good. They are lower in sugar than other cookie recipes I’ve seen, and my cousin still hits me up for the recipe once a year when she loses it and is craving it (her kids are past nursing age lol).
I have been using HEAB’s recipe for years, but realized that I have changed it enough to post my adaptions here for reference. I know so many mamas who are expecting, so I thought I’d just put it up!
Before I post the recipe, here are a few of my new mom tips for breastfeeding. This is a sensitive subject, and everyone’s situation is different. Here are things that worked for me, and that I experienced that may help give you some tools or comfort during this time.
- Let the hospital know you plan to breastfeed. They can give you tips for after the baby is born and be sure to help you get lots of skin-to-skin and support as you and your baby get acquainted.
- Before your milk comes in, the colostrum is important! This contains high concentrations of leukocytes, protective white cells which can destroy disease-causing bacteria and viruses. It is like nature’s vaccine. It also plays a really important role in your baby’s gut-health. I have had moms get upset thinking their babies needed formula the first two days in the hospital before their milk came in, not knowing this fact so I wanted to put that out there.
- Talk to more than one lactation consultant in the hospital. I got different tips from different girls that were extremely helpful. It should not hurt (aside from just the newness of it), so they can definitely help you with latch and whatever personal struggles you may come across with nursing.
- Don’t become overly stressed about how much milk your baby is getting. One of the difficulties in breastfeeding is not having a way of seeing how much milk you’re making for your baby. When your baby seems like they’re always hungry, it’s easy to worry. How much milk you can pump is not at all related to how much milk your baby is getting. As long as your baby is making at least five or six wet diapers a day, your supply is just fine.
- If you have a reason to worry about supply (because your doctor, pediatrician, or lactation consultation gave you a reason) there are usually local breastfeeding support groups you can go to weigh the baby after feedings to help between pediatrician appointments.
- Drink TONS of water. This one is easy because you will be super thirsty. Don’t skimp, water for mom = more water for baby.
- Do count the amount of wet diapers to help indicate if baby is getting enough. This is a great article to help you know if your baby is getting enough that first week.
- Don’t rely on the pump to measure your supply early on. Your baby is always going to get more from you than a machine. Also, babies nurse on demand to help you build supply. Only use a pump early on if you need it to build supply (a lactation consultant can help you determine that).
- Know that it gets better. When Jaxon was a newborn, I got only 45-Minute stretches of sleep at a time, no lie. He was up every two hours, and by the time I nursed him, burped him, and got him (and myself) back to sleep, I’d finally snooze and he was up again. It was rough, especially the 4:30am wake-up … but by week 7 he slept through the night. Every baby is different, and every experience is different, just know there is a light at the end of the sleepless night tunnel! My experience with how I handled this as a first-time mom and a second-time mom was night and day, much more relaxed the second time … so don’t feel bad if you lose your shit when you’re lacking sleep … motherhood isn’t easy!
- Cluster Feeding: this one was really hard for me with Weezy. I was exhausted, I needed my body to myself for a minute, I didn’t understand why she was so hungry all the time, and thought it was my fault (my supply). Knowing that this will happen is helpful and can shift your mindset to make you more relaxed. Cluster feedings have more to do with times of rapid change than with your supply. I was expecting this as a second-time mom and just told myself that my ONLY job those early days was to adapt to whatever my baby needed.
- The baby senses your emotions: If you are feeling anxious or uncomfortable, that can make the baby anxious and uncomfortable. I loved nursing in a dark room, dim light, soft music or ambient sounds.
- Everyone says this tip, but I am reiterating it because it is true. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Seriously. The house is going to be a mess. Don’t try to do 5 million things when the baby sleeps. Sleep, especially the first 2 weeks. Once you feel better and adjust to your new lack of sleep schedule, then you can start doing more. My favorite naps were naps with my babies.
- Go easy on yourself! Breastfeeding is a huge adjustment and can take a lot of time. The beauty of breastfeeding is that after you and baby figure out how to latch, how to hold, what to eat, what to drink, and how to sit, one day, you’ll realize you’re doing something amazing, and it’s all been totally worth the sleepless nights.
- 2am is prime milk time! My supply was always on overload first thing in the morning, and it would drop at night. However, 2am is the best time for milk so as your baby gets older and sleeps longer stretches, this is a great time to pump if you are trying to build a supply for going back to work.
- Kelly Mom is a GREAT resource for all things breastfeeding.
- Mother’s Milk tea by traditional medicinals was great for my supply.
- EAT! You need more calories now than when you were pregnant, and your body will tell you this! I swear it felt like I was eating 3,500 calories some days very early on when my supply was being established. This is NOT the time to cut calories for weight loss (trust me, I know how much some of you want to get back into pre-pregnancy shape, been there!)
- Some moms will hold onto extra weight while nursing. Think about it, you are creating food for another human, you need the extra fat! I wrote a whole post about my experience with this. I never lost the last of my baby weight until my kids were finished breastfeeding. I nursed Ella for 2 years and Jaxon for 1 year. I promise you, after you are finished your metabolism will be back. I looked at it as such a small part of my life that I will never get back with my babies. I struggled (and still do) with body image issues, so this was difficult for me. It wasn’t a lot of weight, just the last few “pounds.” However I feel now it is easier for me to stay in shape than before I had kids and I am 36. Let me know if you need to talk about it, I am an email away! Many people say nursing melts the baby weight off of you and I feel like it is a myth. Sure, for some, but after my experience and writing about it, I found I was not alone by a long shot!
PHEW, I think that is it! Know that these are just general tips from one mom to another. Everyone has a different experience and whatever happens, a loved and fed baby is a happy baby, whether it is breast milk or formula.
Here is one of my favorite things to bring a new mom. The ingredients are supposed to be great for milk supply, and these are also just a great snack to have around when you are hungry as anything with no hands or time to prepare food.
High Fiber Lactation Cookies
adapted from Heather Eats Almond Butter
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 TBSP coconut flour
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 8 ounces of Kerrygold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 3 TBSP Brewers Yeast
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life) or raisins
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take the oatmeal and coconut on a foil-lined cookie sheet and toast for about 8 minutes.
Add cooled oatmeal and coconut shreds to a bowl with the rest of the dry ingredients and mix. Set aside. Cream together butter,vanilla, sugar, and maple syrup. Add dry ingredients and mix, then add eggs one at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Place batter in the fridge for at least a half hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll batter into even-sized balls after they set in the fridge (I use a TBSP cookie scoop), spread them out on a Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. They are going to spread flat. Allow them to sit on the cookie sheet to cool (not on a cooling rack) firm up after you remove them. Sometimes I put them in the fridge before bringing them to mom!
Enjoy this precious time, mamas! They grow up so fast.