Since I have a back log of reader questions, I thought I’d answer them all weekly. Many of them are about breastfeeding on a raw food diet or plant based diet. Here’s the first in the series.
A reader asks:
“I would be interested to know what supplements you take to enhance your breastmilk?”
Great, important question. While breast is best 99% of the time, moms need to know that nutrients are not created out of thin air. If it’s not in your body, it’s not in your milk, simple as that. There is at least one publicized case of a baby who died at 11 months of age because the mother was deficient in nutrients and therefore her milk wasn’t adequate.
So, what do I personally take when I’m breastfeeding? I took a variety of things with baby #1 and #2, but here are the most important ones. Also, keep in mind that my diet wasn’t 100% vegan (I believe in the nutritional benefits of pastured eggs, pastured butter, etc) and wasn’t 100% raw either although I eat a lot of raw foods. Things vary with the seasons and food availability.
– A food-based, prenatal multivitamin: I use New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin, because it’s gentle on the tummy and full of good stuff (including the very important vitamin B12). I take at least 2 capsules a day. Gwinneth Paltrow swears by them, and said in an interview: “It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant, I swear to God. I have double-processed blond hair, and it’s so long and not damaged. Those vitamins, they are the trick!”
– Probiotics: Probiotics are super important in breastmilk, as they will boost your baby’s immune system. Franklin has rarely ever been sick, which may be linked to his own resulting gut health. I drink Cocobiotic regularly, get probiotics from my prenatal vitamins, and drink Ke-Vita and kombucha. I also eat yogurt, and drink homemade kefir (made with Body Ecology’s Kefir Starter.)
– Choline sources: Making nut milks kind of got put on a back burner these days, but when I make them, I always add 1 T non-GM soy lecithin (Healthforce Lecithin Powder.) Choline is super important for the baby’s brain, and I also use lecithin powder when I am pregnant. I also eat eggs regularly; they provide food based vitamin D, and since we’re talking about vitamin D…
– Vitamin D and vitamin K2: It’s amazing how no one knows about vitamin K2. It’s ultra rare in modern diets, yet crucial to many of the body’s functions. If you’re vegan, you need to supplement with vitamin K2. I take between 5,000 and 10,000 IU of vitamin D every day along with vitamin K2, all packaged up conveniently into a couple of small sublingual pills (Franklin gets 1,000 IU of the equivalent product daily). I use either Michael’s Naturopathic Progams Vitamin D3 5000 IU with Vitamin K2 or Thorne’s Vitamin D/K2 Liquid.
– Chlorella: Chlorella has been found in a Japanese study to clean breastmilk very well. It is a great addition to any diet even during pregnancy and while breastfeeding because even though chlorella is detoxifying, it does not dump toxins into the bloodstream but instead binds to them and eliminates them in the digestive process. I use Chlorella Tablets from The Raw Food World.
These are the main supplements that I take. I sometimes take others like E3Live but they are not as crucial as the ones I listed above.