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The 4 Phases of Breastfeeding + Milk Supply Meal Ideas

Let’s go ahead and put Breastfeeding on the list of Top 10 Trending Topics of this year. Yep. Right up there with the Brangelina divorce (see? I manage to stay relevant), the 2016 Presidential Election, and Game of Thrones EVERYTHING (JonSnow4Ever). I know, I’m totally wondering as well how the method by which a woman feeds her baby can be a trending topic? But you know, to each their own. What can I tell you, it’s a weird world we live in (see: Presidential Election). 

However, if you are a breastfeeding mom (or plan to be), then do yourself a favor and read up on the 4 Phases of Breastfeeding a Baby below. ‘Cause, at the risk of sounding like a 14 year old, the struggle is real. So.Unbelievably.Real. If you’re still going strong with your breastfeeding game, keep doing what you’re doing girl, and power to you, virtual fist bump.

Phase 1: Feeding a Newborn aka Netflix & Nurse

Feeding a newborn baby can be extremely difficult. Nobody can really, fully prepare you for what it will be like since every baby is so different. But here’s the basic rundown:

Nurse.Sleep.Nurse.Sleep.Change 1,352 diapers.Nurse.Sleep.Nurse.Sleep.

Basically: nursing a newborn baby is a 24/7 job. If you are a first-time mom and don’t currently have another kid to chase around the house, you will often find yourself wondering what to do with this time. Allow me to share a few ideas with you:

  • Re-watch the entire Gilmore Girls series on Netflix
  • Use your other hand (or big toe) to scroll through Pinterest to pin craft ideas for when they are 4 years old
  • Rest a bowl of Crockpot BBQ Chicken on your hip and eat it with one hand (this is oddly specific mostly because I have done this)
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while because soon, talking on the phone while breastfeeding will become an Olympic Sport

Phase 2: The Awakening (3-6 Months)

It is around this point that your baby will, in essence, realize they are alive. This suddenly makes breastfeeding a challenging task because anything and everything will distract them from nursing. If you come across any blogs that promise they can get your baby to sleep through the night at 6 weeks, I wouldn’t waste your time. By the time they hit 3-4 months, they’ll be waking up again. Here’s why.

  • If and when your husband walks into the room to say “hi” to you, your baby will pop off to look up and will not resume nursing. Because your baby has now become so easily distracted and so aware of everything around them, they may not nurse as much during the day, thus allowing the 4 Month Sleep Regression to rear its ugly head. Do yourself a favor and Google it. 
  • Your days of powering through seasons of Top Chef are numbered because suddenly, that little sleepy baby realizes there is a TV on behind them and they’d rather watch Padma belittle amateur chefs than breastfeed (somewhat understandable).
  • When they get closer to 6 months old, your trendy nursing scarf will become obsolete as your baby will no longer want to be covered when you are trying to nurse them at Starbucks (sorry for the free show, everyone!).
  • At this point, you will generally not be able to accomplish anything unless you multitask by nursing and babywearing. Once your baby realizes they can do this, it’s all over for you. I’m sorry in advance.

Phase 3: I See the Light (7-12 Months)

At this stage, you and your momfriends will start talking about how your baby has suddenly stopped nursing so much. You feel like they barely nurse at all anymore and you can’t believe it! Before you start stowing away your frumpy nursing bras, read on.

  • Generally at this stage most babies start crawling and pulling themselves up. Life is so exciting, mom! I don’t have time to eat right now. This newfound independence will most likely cause them to nurse less during the day, but may also cause them to wake more at night.
  • Nursing in public will become the ultimate struggle for your wiggly, independent, easily distractable baby.
  • You may think your milk supply has dropped since you’ve stopped feeling let-downs. Trust that this is nature’s way of helping your body adjust to your baby’s new breastfeeding schedule.

Phase 4: The Hunger Games (1 Year & Beyond)

Welcome to the WWE arena where breastfeeding your budding toddler is like wrestling a greasy watermelon. Mom, you have become a jungle gym and you may develop bruises and or lose hair from your generally aggressive 15 month old who wants to nurse but apparently also thinks they are climbing Mount Everest.

  • At this point you may start to wonder how you still have milk. But if your baby/toddler is still nursing frequently, you apparently do.
  • Remember in Phase 3 when you thought your little one had finally slowed down? It’s funny ‘cause now they’re 1 and suddenly nursing like they are 4 days old. HOLD ME, MOMMY.
  • Nursing in public…HA. I’m sorry, that was a joke. There is no nursing in public. Unless of course you’re okay with letting it all hang out. In that case, power to you sister.
  • You may begin to wonder where in fact your little one is storing all of this food. As in, they just ate 3 scrambled eggs, a piece of avocado toast, and an entire orange and then proceeded to nurse for 30 minutes.
  • If you continue to nurse after 1 year, prepare yourself for the questions from inquiring minds (random strangers) who apparently are super SUPER interested in your personal life. Oh and be sure to bring snacks, lots of snacks, because you’re not you when you’re hangry. 

And now for some #mealplanmonday inspiration!

If you’re looking to increase your milk supply, there are definitely certain foods that can help. In general, though, I don’t think there’s any magical solution. It pretty much always comes down to the basics: lots of water, exercise (when you get the go-ahead), healthy diet, and sleep (I know, I laughed, too). If you are truly worried, meeting with a lactation consultant is always a good idea.

The following foods (among others) are said to be good for boosting your milk supply:

Papaya

Papaya Avocado Salad from Skinnytaste

Strawberry Papaya Salad from Taste, Love, and Nourish

Papaya Smoothie from Skinnytaste

 

Rolled Oats

No-Bake Pumpkin Yogurt Bites with Cranberry-Oat Crust from Because I Said So Baby

Apple Peanut Butter Overnight Oats from Hello Nature

No Bake Granola Bites from The Many Little Joys

 

Spinach

Spinach-Banana Yogurt Bark from Because I Said So Baby

Creamy Sweet Potato & Spinach Noodles with Cashew Sauce from Pinch of Yum

Baked Eggs with Wilted Baby Spinach from Skinnytaste

 

Eggs

Greek Scramble from Because I Said So Baby

Egg & Tomato Breakfast Melts from Skinnytaste

Kale, Egg & Feta Toast from Well Plated By Erin

 

Salmon

Lemon-Herb Salmon Burgers from Pinch of Yum

Sesame-Ginger Salmon from Damn Delicious

Pesto Salmon & Veggies in Foil from Cooking Classy

(Psst…these recipes are also perfect for toddlers & pregnant women!)

Note: this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

Don’t Forget to Pin It!

What to expect at each phase of breastfeeding plus healthy meal ideas to help boost your milk supply!

 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, lactation consultant, or a nutritionist. Man, these disclaimers make me feel great about myself! But seriously, I’m just sharing my experiences and what I know worked for me. If you have real concerns, always check with your doctor! 

Have any breastfeeding tips to share? I’d love to hear about your experiences during the 4 phases!

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa
    October 3, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    Such a great post! I am in phase three so it can be a struggle, plus my supply is dropping so hopefully some of these foods will help.

    • Reply
      Marla
      October 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

      Phase 3 is certainly a struggle! I hope so! I always felt like eating oatmeal helped me.

  • Reply
    Valerie CottageMakingMommy
    October 3, 2016 at 4:13 PM

    You put together a great list. I love the advice to watch the entire Gilmore Girls series.Lol

    • Reply
      Marla
      October 3, 2016 at 8:09 PM

      Thanks, Valerie! I seriously forgot how much I loved that show!

  • Reply
    Angela Kim
    October 4, 2016 at 1:39 AM

    Great tips! As a breastfeeding mom starting all over with a third time, this list really helped. I forgot how active our babes can get and am totally looking forward to the “awakening” or not. That’s such a perfect way to put it by the way! As of now my son just latches and feeds…I guess I’ll be missing this one day!

    • Reply
      Marla
      October 4, 2016 at 8:24 PM

      Haha yes! And it feels like it changes totally over night. Like one day they’ll be nursing no problem and then the next they’re popping off and looking all over!

  • Reply
    tahneerose
    October 4, 2016 at 2:35 PM

    This is great! I am going to try this out. I am slowly finding I have less and less milk these days! thank you!

    • Reply
      Marla
      October 4, 2016 at 8:26 PM

      I hope one of these foods works for you!

  • Reply
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