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Breastfeeding And Pumping On A Plant Based Diet

by | September 29, 2018

Vegan moms who want to breastfeed are fully encouraged to do so. Here are some tips and tricks for breastfeeding and pumping on a plant-based diet.

Eating a vegan diet while breastfeeding and pumping is an excellent way to keep your body healthy, but there are certain vitamins and nutrients that you will want to watch or increase/decrease your intake of, to ensure your baby is getting everything they need.

Keeping tabs on your intake of certain nutrients, or taking some extra supplements in the morning is a small price to pay to ensure prime health and nutrition for your baby.

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A vegan mother who is getting enough calories and protein should have nothing to worry about when it comes to the quality of her breast milk.

Breastfeeding creates a lot of extra effort for your body, which means you need to up your caloric intake to give your body the energy it needs to feed a child.

Studies show that most women produce an abundant supply of milk when they consume between 1,800-2,200 calories per day. Consuming less than 1,500-1,800 calories can cause a stark drop in your milk production, and puts you at risk for not being able to produce enough milk for your baby.

Of course, no two women are the same – your caloric needs may vary greatly depending on your lifestyle.

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Are you very active? Is your weight in a healthy range? Is your baby breastfed exclusively, or does he also eat some solid food?

All these variables will affect how much you need to eat. Be sure to listen to your body – if you’re hungry, eat!

Fluid intake is also important while nursing.

Depending on your age and activity level, you’ll need ½-¾ ounce of water per pound of bodyweight, per day. So, a 150-pound nursing mother should drink anywhere from 75-112 ounces of water per day – basically, 10-12 cups.

Vegan Breastfeeding Supplements & Important Nutrients

Below is a list of the nutrients vegan breastfeeding and pumping moms should make sure they’re getting enough of while nursing.

Vitamin B12

While there are some vegan food sources of B12 – mushrooms and nutritional yeast, for example – these usually won’t cut it as the sole providers of this vitamin, so supplementation is the only option here.

Vitamin B12 is non-negotiable when it comes to baby’s – and moms! – health.

This vitamin is responsible for maintaining the health of nerve cells, keeping blood cells healthy, and creating DNA.

People who are deficient in B12 will experience serious health complications and may experience symptoms like weakness and fatigue, digestive issues, and mental problems.

Vitamin B12 is vitally important for mom’s health, as well as healthy brain development for baby. Make sure you’re supplementing your B12 intake, especially while nursing.

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While there are some vegan food sources of B12 – mushrooms and nutritional yeast, for example – these usually won’t cut it as the sole providers of this vitamin, so supplementation is the only option here.

Vitamin B12 is non-negotiable when it comes to baby’s – and moms! – health.

This vitamin is responsible for maintaining the health of nerve cells, keeping blood cells healthy, and creating DNA.

People who are deficient in B12 will experience serious health complications and may experience symptoms like weakness and fatigue, digestive issues, and mental problems.

Vitamin B12 is vitally important for mom’s health, as well as healthy brain development for baby. Make sure you’re supplementing your B12 intake, especially while nursing.

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Calcium

Calcium is responsible for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones, and promoting healthy enzymatic activity within the body.

It’s an important building block of a healthy body!

There are many plant-based sources of calcium that are even more bioavailable than those from dairy products, without the cholesterol or saturated fat.

For plant-based calcium, turn to cooked collard greens, fortified foods like soy milk and orange juice, and cooked white beans.

Dried fruit, like figs, can be a calcium-rich source of calories.

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Iron

Essential for the transportation of oxygen throughout the body via red blood cells, Iron is another important nutrient nursing moms should make sure to consume enough of.

Like calcium, there are plenty of plant-based food sources of iron, and consuming them with foods high in vitamin C will help your body absorb this nutrient more efficiently.

You can supplement iron, but it can cause nausea and constipation, and food sources are more efficiently used by the body anyway, so try to eat your iron if you can.

Vegan sources of iron include cooked lentils, tofu, mushrooms, and nuts.

Consume these foods with other foods that are high in vitamin C, like tomato sauce or orange juice.

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DHA (Omega-3)

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is responsible for the healthy development of your baby’s brain – being deficient in this nutrient can lead to serious defects, and compromise your baby’s mental health.

Plant-based foods like hemp seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts contain small amounts of this nutrient, but honestly.
Like B12, you are best off consuming a multivitamin rich in omega-3, or a specific omega-3 supplement to make sure you’re getting the amount of this nutrient you need.

By ensuring you’re getting enough calories, proteins, and nutrients like B12, DHA, and calcium, your baby can not only survive, but thrive with breast milk from a vegan mom.

Are you thinking of/already are breastfeeding and pumping? Let us know what worked for you in the comments.

back to school, dealing with in-laws, breastfeeding and pumping,



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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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One Response to “Breastfeeding And Pumping On A Plant Based Diet”

  1. Green Lactation Smoothie (Kiwi Banana Spinach) - My Pure Plants
    February 14th, 2019 @ 7:27 am

    […] Breastfeeding on a Plant-based Diet by Raise Vegan […]

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