Breastfeeding 101: Understanding the importance of fats in breast milk

Breastfeeding 101: Understanding the importance of fats in breast milk
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Moms and moms-to-be, you’ve likely done your research about breastfeeding and if it’s right for you and your lifestyle. But, for those who are wondering, we’ve got the basic info about how healthy fats such as coconut oil impact breast milk nutrition!

Understanding breast milk

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is in breast milk anyway? The easiest way to answer this question is to say that mature breast milk contains water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, as well as white blood cells, antibodies, enzymes, and other substances that impact and empower your baby’s immune defenses.

The more detailed explanation is to say that beneficial components of breast milk are being discovered all the time; there are at least 200 that are known at this time. For example, researchers believe that a fatty acid in breast milk promotes the growth of babies’ brains and retinas and may enhance cognitive development.

It’s also important to note that during the course of breastfeeding, breast milk changes from foremilk (high in water and lactose) to hindmilk (high in fat and calories). The quality of the milk you produce also increases as your baby gains weight and appetite.

Why healthy fats matter for breastfeeding

So, now that we know fats are a crucial component of breast milk, it makes sense that healthy fats should be part of both mom and baby’s diets.

While, breast milk is a complete source of nutrition for a baby, that’s only the case if you, as the breastfeeding mom, eat a well-rounded, nutritious diet yourself to ensure that your body continues to make milk as long as you choose to breastfeed. Mothers should be consuming a diet chock full of healthy fats, and coconut oil is a perfect example. In fact, it’s one of the better fat choices a mother can choose to consume, as it contains lauric acid, which is antimicrobial and can help protect your baby from getting sick. Further, healthy fats also fuel a baby’s growth and development, especially when it comes to his or her brain and nervous system.

How coconut oil increases breast milk supply

While breastfeeding is a great source of nutrition for your growing baby, perhaps you’re one of the many women who struggle with breastfeeding and milk production. Insufficient milk supply could be the result of a medical condition that affects your baby’s ability to breastfeed effectively, such as ankyloglossia, cleft palate, neurological issues, metabolic issues, or malabsorption of nutrients. If those aren’t the cause of breastfeeding issues, the issues could be related to you as the mother. In those cases, Primary Lactation Insufficiency (resulting from inadequate glandular tissue as a result of breast abnormalities, breast or nipple surgery, or other issues) or Secondary Lactation Insufficiency (resulting from inappropriate feeding routines or supplement use that causes diminished milk synthesis and insufficient supply) are likely to blame.

If Secondary Lactation Insufficiency is to the cause of a decrease in milk supply, you may be able to turn things around with dietary changes. For example, essential fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids help increase milk supply because they help with the production of hormones which then assist in regulating milk production. Coconut oil, of course, contains essential fatty acids, which may help you increase your milk supply.

Final thoughts

If you’re not sure which coconut oil is the best to use for you and your baby, we’ll make it really easy for you: Pure Baby was designed for both of you, and the uses for mom and baby almost seem endless!

That being said, if you are struggling with breastfeeding or lactation in any way, we recommend reaching out to your OB/GYN or a lactation consultant for assistance before making any health or dietary changes that could affect you or your baby.

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