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Confession: My Diet Wasn’t Nutrient Dense When I First Started Breastfeeding But I Still Had A Healthy Baby

Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.

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Confession - My Diet Wasn't Nutrient Dense When I First Started Breastfeeding But I Still Had A Healthy Baby Follow Me on Pinterest

Have you heard? There is a rumor floating around, thanks to the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), that a woman should ONLY breastfeed IF she is eating the perfect, nutrient dense diet as outlined by the WAPF.

There is no other way to say this, so I am going for it.

THIS PISSED ME THE HECK OFF!

Now I am ALL FOR mothers eating the most nutrient dense diet that they can afford and that they have access to. However, I would NEVER tell a breastfeeding mother NOT to breastfeed if she wasn’t consuming organ meats, grass-fed beef, fermented cod liver oil, and the like. I certainly would offer what information I could about how to boost the nutrients in her breast milk (coconut oil consumption being a biggie) but I would never suggest she stop breast feeding.

You see, the WAPF seems to think that their recipe for homemade formula somehow is BETTER than breast milk from a mother who is not eating a traditional diet. And while it could have some nutrients that are lacking in a mother’s breast milk when she is consuming every addictive aspect of the standard American processed food diet, homemade formula is still missing sooooo much.

Did you know that the breastfeeding baby/child’s saliva “talks” to the breast milk? Yep – the two communicate which is why breast milk is the perfect food. It knows when baby is fighting off a germ and therefore, rushes to supply it with the proper antibodies. NO FORMULA can do that.

Breastfeeding is also so much more than nutrition. And yet, the WAPF never mentions any of the other amazing benefits of breast milk both for baby and the mother. And they claim to be advocates of total health. Ha.

Anyway, I want to take a minute to debunk the claims of the WAPF from my personal experience, both as a breastfed child and as a breastfeeding mother.

I was breastfed until I was three years old. My mother was underweight, battling her own host of health issues. Her diet wasn’t perfect. It was carb heavy. Now of course, the 70′s were a different time in-so-far as our food supply is concerned, but even so, she was not getting close to the nutrient requirements outlined by the WAPF. And yet, I was a happy, well-nourished, chunky baby.

My mother’s milk was rich! I have read all of the journals she kept when I was a baby and seriously, I barely breastfed. My mother produced liquid gold and I was satiated for long periods of time. I was always well above average in both height and weight, and developmentally I hit milestones early. To this day, I have never had a cavity, have strong, well developed bones that don’t break, and a well-functioning brain. (Maybe too well-functioning…it never shuts off!) So despite eating a less-than-WAPF-perfect diet, my mother gave me what I needed.

Tiny is now four years old and we are still enjoying a successful breastfeeding relationship. For the first 9 months of her life, I was NOT consuming anything close to the diet I am today. I didn’t exactly eat the typical standard-American-diet, but my eating wasn’t great and I certainly did not cook as much as I do from scratch. And you know what, Tiny is just fine. Her immune system rocks! Despite being born with neutropenia, she is able to fight off her illnesses quickly and without any complications. She is a small child, smaller than I was as a baby, but she grows steadily, not dropping off her little curve. She is happy, bright, with gorgeous hair, skin, and nails. She is rock solid, not one to break bones.

The only regret I have is NOT fixing my gut health before getting pregnant or during pregnancy. Since Tiny was born via c-section she came into this world already battling improper gut health. I didn’t realize the impact that would have until she was 14 months old. However, had I not breastfed because I had a less-than-perfect diet, Tiny’s gut health would have been even more precarious. Breastfeeding helped her gut more than any homemade formula ever would.

For me, the bottom line is that we don’t need to give mothers ONE MORE REASON TO FEEL GUILTY. We pile enough on them as it is, often times to the detriment of successful breastfeeding. So do some research about breastfeeding and proper nutrition and then DO YOUR BEST! Your baby will get what he or she needs. Your body will make sure of that.

I wrote a pretty comprehensive post which discusses all kinds of things related to breastfeeding. There are tons of links to check out as well. So be sure to visit my post Breastfeeding Lists, Advice, Links, and More. Here are a few other posts I have written about breastfeeding as well:

Keep Calm and Breast Feed On!

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This gathering of breastfeeding support comes in response to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAPF) continued stance on breastfeeding, which we all have a great concern with. While the WAPF does support breastfeeding as the best option for feeding babies, it does so with a caveat. Breastfeeding mothers must follow the strict tenants of the WAPF diet and mothers who are not following their nutrient dense diet recommendations would be better off feeding their babies homemade formula (based on the WAPF recipe). In addition, they are outspoken against using donor milk.

The bloggers sharing posts today are concerned with the confusion this may cause breastfeeding mothers. Not only does research support the myriad of health benefits of breast milk for babies regardless of the mother’s diet, it also outlines additional benefits of breastfeeding such as better bonding, deeper trust, and a long list of other emotional benefits. Let’s not forget the health benefits for moms!

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Comments

  1. That pisses me the “heck” (not my first choice of words) off too! Unlike with pregnancy, breastfeeding actually priorities the baby, meaning that deficiencies will be felt in the mother first while the baby receives reserves. Breast milk is also much more complicated than simply food being transferred from the mother’s lips to her child. UGH!

    My diet is (improving but) less than perfect as well and my son was around 95% in weight just from my milk, and super healthy. Other than a couple very mild colds, he has been sick exactly once in over 2 years, and that only lasted 24 hours. Breastfeeding helps fill gaps in nutrition, not the other way around!

  2. Thank you for posting! This is my big “beef” with WAPF! Their infant feeding recommendations were not made with the colsultation of someone trained in lactation and it is such bad info. Even if mama has a SAD diet there is still NOTHING that we can create that comes close to breastmilk, in terms of nutrition and in terms of immunity. Keep fighting the good fight, sister!

  3. When I was born, in the 60s, my parents had nothing. They were picking pecans to make money and pecans were all they had to eat. My mom told me that if I hadn’t been breastfeeding, I’d have starved.

    Growing up, my most persistent nickname was Amazon. I’m 6’0 tall (that’s 5″ taller than my mother), I’ve never had a cavity and I score in the 98th percentile on intelligence tests. Clearly, breastfeeding makes babies robust no matter how limited the mother’s diet.

    – Aislyn

  4. …or pecans are really underappreciated. ;)

  5. Well said! I can’t believe that WAPF has taken this stance. Utterly ridiculous of them!

  6. I couldn’t agree more with your bottom line! Thank you so much for organizing this support party! We mamas need it!

  7. Thank you for posting this! I’m sure Dr. Price would be rolling in his grave if he knew Sally Fallon was using his name to promote such a ridiculous proposal. I agree with a lot of the recommendations of the WAPF but this is absolutely unbelievable! I’m happily nursing my 6 mth old now :)

  8. Formula should be kept for what it was intended, to save starving babies. It should never be recommended over breastfeeding, such a dangerous recommendation! Do they realise that formula, whether it is home-made or commercial, will never be able to replicate the hormone, antibodies etc that breastmilk contains and which is SO important.

  9. I’m really happy that you wrote this. I completely agree that nursing your child is always the best option.

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