I highly encourage new mothers to nurse their babies. I think that nursing is the surest way to feed your baby, taking advantages of the hundreds of thousands of years our bodies have been figuring out what our babies guts need to become established and keep them healthy. Along with obvious advantages nursing has, like creating a bond between you and your baby,breastfeeding also has many other less noticeable benefits to your baby, such as getting gut cultures off to the right ratios, and providing your baby with their first immunity boosters. I will talk more about that later but first lets talk about the foundation to being able to breastfeed well. As I experienced with my first child, nursing is not always easy.
I was only able to breastfed my first daughter for a couple of weeks. My milk acted like a drug putting her to sleep almost as soon as she had latched and when I was able to feed her she acted almost hyper followed by a crash where I would have to check on her just to be sure she was still breathing. After my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies I came to the conclusion that I had sabotaged my first daughters feeding. Before my eldest was born my eating was typical of Mexico, less refined foods then here in the states, but still based heavily on flours, grains, and starches. Unknown to me, I had severely damaged the delicate workings of my own guts, and was so chronically poisoned by gluten (which I am intolerant to) that I had stopped even seeing how badly it was hurting me. After my eldest was born I passed this chronically unhealthy gut culture to my newborn daughter. I was also having problems with my milk production, I produced lots of it right after eating bread or rice and nothing at all some other times. I felt exhausted after feedings and had zero energy to keep taking care of my baby.
When I became pregnant with my second daughter I had been eating all kinds of meat and fish (basically all you can hunt) and plenty of vegetables, fewer fruit ,nuts and zero sugar, auf wiedersehen grains,legumes and dairy! wohoo!
Constipation? gone!, energy? back!, sleep? wonderful, mood swings? none, (well less), cravings? nothing at all really. I never felt hungry before going to bed. I had enough energy to take care of my oldest and go to Crossfit twice a week. On July 23 of 2009 I decided to attend the 5pm class at Crossfit Seattle. I ended up having my second daughter at 9:30 pm that same afternoon after less than 10 minutes of pushing in the squat position (yes! no more chronic back pain and birthing the way your body is designed to was possible for me). You might have heard that is common for some women to have a bowel movement right before giving birth. If my constipation was as severe as it was with my first daughter it would have certainly had happen again and this time it didn’t. Birthing was a lot easier and recovery was 10 times faster.
My daughter had immediately latch to my breast without problems and I never suffered from producing enough milk, I never once burped her after a feeding, she never had constipation problems, never got sick and slept wonderfully during the night for about 12 hours.
Why then, you might think, that she was so different from my eldest? I am convinced the answer is that EATING RIGHT really makes a difference. What we eat has a same effect on both mother and baby composition of the gut flora. A diet of convenience rather than nutrition, full of processed foods has a serious impact on our gut. Babies are born with a sterile gut. Breastfeeding is the only opportunity we have to populate our babies gut with healthy bacteria to lay the basis of our future health. Bottle fed babies create a series of different bacteria which later predisposes them to health problems. In the 60′s and 70′s when breastfeeding became unfashionable, many medical problems arose from that fashion and have become obvious, like diabetes, autoimmune disease, obesity and neurological conditions.
I can keep going on and on about how important eating right is but I have done it for the second time now (with my third child) and believe what I suspected was only further confirmed. Childbirth does not have to be a mega painful stage, your body can cope with the trauma and will release a natural pain-killer. your body was made to birth, if you nourish your body right the experience can be a small price to pay.
Want to have a baby after this discussion? Eating right is important for your health and recovery after a pregnancy but it also has an impact in your daily life and in your baby’s future.
Follow me on how to make hardy and healthy foods 100% from scratch all right here on healthyguts.net where I feed my real foods and you can do it too.