My Diet for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

It’s sometimes difficult to fathom that we were once nothing more than microscopic specks in our mother’s womb.  That tiny speck, which is our beginning, becomes alive through food.  It takes shelter, steady warmth, elimination of waste, and a healthy mother eating healthy foods to give an infant a proper start.

It just makes sense that if one hopes to be a successful gardener one soon learns in the garden the necessity of reinforcing the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  Nitrogen for leaf growth, Phosphorus to produce flowers, and Potassium for strength of root and stem.  In the proportion that any of these elements are left out, the plants will suffer.

Similarly, when one or more of the nutritional elements that are needed by the infant are left out of the expectant mother’s daily food intake, the building of the infant’s body will suffer.  It is completely natural for the mother to wish for a strong, vigorous baby at the time of birth.  She also wishes for an easy, short labor, and quick recovery of strength following.  This is her natural primitive inheritance according to The Laws Of Nature and Nature’s God, if she lives her life in accordance with these laws it is likely that her baby will be born easily and healthily…but go against them and she opens herself up to all kinds of trouble.

When I became pregnant with my first child I asked myself “What is the optimal way to eat in order to grow the healthiest baby?” and I set about trying to answer that question.  Because I was young (only 19) and naive enough to believe and trust mainstream medical advice when it came to child care (that only lasted until right after he was born and I started researching vaccines however…) I followed the “accepted” nutritional recommendations for my first pregnancy and he was born just fine…I was lucky.   But with my second pregnancy and continuing research, I started to figure it out and developed this diet which I followed as closely as possible for that pregnancy and every pregnancy since then… and while breastfeeding too…

The one piece of “mainstream” nutritional advice that I take the biggest issue with is their caution against consuming more that 10,000 i.u. of Vitamin A daily as it may lead to fetal malformations….this is probably true of synthetic man-made Vitamin A synthesized in some laboratory somewheres and then put into your average pre-natal vitamin….however this is NOT AT ALL true of Vitamin A that is naturally occurring in the food that we eat, and it is the MOST IMPORTANT NUTRIENT (along with natural Vitamin D) when it comes to the proper development of your baby.

It is especially important to the proper development of your baby’s brain and I speculate that deficiencies in these 2 most important vitamins is the main reason we have such a rise in Autism and learning disabilities in the children of this country…without the proper pre-natal nutrition they start out life already on the loosing end of the bargain…and then add in things like continued improper nutrition from formula feeding and not breastfeeding, and shooting them up with toxic poisons like mercury and formaldehyde when they are not even a day old yet and well it’s no wonder the kids have issues!  It’s amazing they manage to live at all and a testament of The God who made our bodies and it’s amazing ability to adapt to and survive any number of “less than ideal” conditions!

The below diet is a culmination of my research and experience through 5 pregnancies and births and breastfeeding my 5 children.  I’m not a medical professional, although I am a Certified Nursing Assistant (instead of going to a regular high school I attended a “trade school” where I took nursing classes and became certified as a nursing assistant) but I AM NOT a Doctor….however YOU own your body, God gave the gift of your life to YOU, (NOT your doctor) therefore it is YOU and YOU ALONE who best knows how to care for it.  Don’t just unquestioningly accept what you are told, ask questions and do the research, search out the TRUTH in every and all situations.  For those who earnestly seek out the Truth, the Truth will be found by them…it’s like a Universal Law or something 😉

Now, without further adieu, here are my personal dietary recommendations for pregnancy and childbirth, gleaned from my own research and personal experience and is not only good for those already pregnant but also for those trying to get pregnant too!

1 tablespoon cod liver oil daily **Very important** make sure you at least take this, even if you do nothing else and the rest of your diet is awful the whole day.  (Vitamins A &D, Omega-3s, for optimal brain and dental development)

At least 2 servings, and preferably more, of high calcium foods daily: **All these foods contain at least 400 mg. calcium salts or more**….1 cup RAW cow or goat milk, 1 cup of organic whole milk yogurt/kefir, 4 oz. cheese (no lowfat or fat free, the fat in dairy products helps in the absorption of the calcium), 1 cup of steamed cultivated or wild greens eaten with plenty of butter, 1 cup herbal infusion (these contain highly absorbable calcium salts necessary to optimal skeletal and dental development)

4 tablespoons butter daily – preferably RAW and golden yellow in color.  Use it when cooking or to butter your bread, your veggies, or mixed into your oatmeal (saturated fat, cholesterol, butric acid and vitamins A & D)

2 or more high omega-3 eggs daily…preferably homegrown or from a local farmer who raises them free range on green pasture (These have too many nutrients to count!…what better for a growing baby than for it’s mother to eating another animal’s placenta, it’s the perfect pregnancy nutritional powerhouse!) —- Additional egg yolks daily (all the nutrients are in the yolks), added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc. **it’s OK to eat raw eggs as long as they are organic, and preferably free range, wash the egg and don’t let the egg come in contact with the outside of the shell since that is where the salmonella is…if it is there at all**

4 ounces fresh organic liver at least once a week (For Iron and Vitamin A&D) Remember, pregnancy is an extreme Iron-hungry state…be sure to get plenty of eggs, fish, liver, red meat, green leafy veggies and herbal infusions.

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week (not to exceed 12 oz. a week because of mercury…contains omega –3s, protein, minerals, Vitamins A & D…esp. in the fish eggs) particularly wild salmon, sardines, oysters,  fish eggs/roe…sushi is good too, I CRAVE it when I am pregnant..especially seaweed salad!

4-6 oz. Fresh beef or lamb daily (protein, iron, all the essential amino acids, fat) preferably organic and/or pasture raised.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc. (saturated fat and lauric acid for baby’s brain development) Lauric acid is not found in many foods, but it is found in high amounts in coconut oil and it’s one of the fatty acids unique to human breastmilk…it has anti-microbal and anti-fungal properties.

Lacto-Fermented Foods-esp. sauerkraut, fermented sweet potato, beet kvass, homemade ginger ale, and kombucha (Probiotics, trace minerals, lactic acid…all help digestion and the proper assimilation of other nutrients)

Homemade bone broth: Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Fish broth used in soups, stews and sauces (calcium, trace minerals, protein, gelatin, iron)…for more information, check out my post “The Beauty Of Broth”

Soaked/ Sprouted whole grains and legumes…oatmeal, sprouted whole grain bread, wild rice, brown rice, lentils, etc. (properly prepared whole grains contain a lot of trace minerals and B vitamins…esp. if you buy organic.)

At least 1 cup. (preferably more) of dark leafy greens daily, steamed, raw or stirfry with coconut oil or in soups. **Cabbage, broccoli, kale, collards, brussel sprouts all needed to be eaten cooked (or fermented) as they contain certain chemicals that can harm the body if eaten raw. They contain Goitrogens that interfere with thyroid function and oxalic acid which blocks calcium absorption.** Proper thyroid functioning and calcium are both very important during pregnancy.

Fresh vegetables and fruits-preferably raw/sprouted, lightly steamed or cooked with meat. Esp. good ideas for pregnancy are: Pineapple, all berries, dark purple plums and prunes, dark purple grapes and raisins, bananas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, garlic, zucchini, peppers (hot and sweet)

Use high quality moist grey celtic sea salt to taste on food (salt is very important for baby’s development…esp. the brain, contains many trace minerals, nutrients, and natural iodine)

1 Tbsp. RAW Apple Cider Vinegar taken daily.  I usually take this mixed with about 2-3 tbsp. water in the evening before bed, it is high in potassium which helps with muscle spasms from overworked and overstretched pregnant mama muscles.  The increased acidity also helps in the digestion of food, reduced stomach size and slowed digestion (because of the growing infant taking all the space) leads to heartburn because instead of quickly and efficiently moving through the stomach as it should it instead just sort of “sits there” backing up into the esophagus and causing tremendous heartburn.

6-8 cups of filtered water daily. **Very important since the amniotic fluid is entirely replaced every three hours, dehydration is also one of the main causes of miscarriage** Try to drink natural sparkling high mineral water for extra minerals, it’s great with dinner, iced with a slice of lime or lemon added, or half and half with concord grape juice (high in antioxidants).

Things to be AVOIDED while pregnant: Trans fatty acids (e.g., hydrogenated oils), junk foods, commercial fried foods, caffeine, white sugar, white flour, soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco products, pharmaceuticals….

If you crave chocolate, it’s a sure sign of Magnesium deficiency…drink lots of beef/fish broth, herbal infusions esp. nettles, and high mineral water as they are all excellent sources of usable magnesium.

Try to buy Organic food where your budget permits, if you can do nothing else at least buy high omega-3 eggs…nothing can beat them for nutrition.

Herbs For Pregnancy

(all pregnancy herbs are also good for breastfeeding and infertility)
Red Raspberry Leaf infusion: strengthens uterus so that contractions are more productive at the time of labor and delivery, increases milk production
Stinging Nettle infusion: an excellent nutritive tonic, esp. for iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamin K and for increasing breastmilk
Red Clover infusion: eases constipation, strengthens liver, and keeps breast milk rich, is also complimentary to Red Raspberry leaf
Fresh Dandelion Root Tincture: supports liver function, which is very important during pregnancy since the liver has a lot of extra work to do in supporting the baby. Morning sickness is a typical sign that the liver may not be up to par, so is itchy sensitive skin (not just on the belly) and heartburn before the 3rd trimester begins.

I usually drink 1c. of red raspberry mixed with red clover infusion, and 1 cup of nettle infusion on most days (4-5 days a week)…you should drink up to 5 cups of red raspberry infusion daily from week 37 of pregnancy till delivery. Check your local natural foods store or shop online for herbs in bulk (www.bulkherbstore.com)

Basic Infusion Recipe: 1 Qt. of boiling water added to 1 oz. of dried herb, allow to steep for at least 4 hours, store in fridge.  However I usually just leave the herbs in there and strain the liquid as I drink it. 2 qt. mason jars work really well for making these infusions.

Breastfeeding

– A porridge made from soaked (see book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, for more info.) Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), an ancient grain, is excellent for increasing breastmilk, eat it with a little raw honey and lots of butter.
– A tea made from crushed fennel seeds (1 tsp-1 tbsp. seeds to 1c. hot water) is also great for increasing breastmilk…drink 2-3 c. a day until it increases.
Fenugreek is also great for improving a lagging milk supply (and great for breast health in general). The general rule of thumb is to take 2-4 580-610mg capsules 3 times a day until your milk supply improves…if your sweat and/or urine smells like maple syrup it’s a good indication that you have reached the right dosage (taken from http://www.breastfeedingonline.com)
– Don’t eat Trans fats, it lowers the nutritional quality and quantity of breastmilk and make sure to get plenty of rest and plenty of protein and fat, making breastmilk is hard work.
– Make sure to continue taking your cod liver oil so baby gets those all important Omega 3 fatty acids and adequate levels of vitamin A & D.
– To establish a good supply of milk (esp. in the first couple months) make sure the baby is feeding at least every 3 hours or more often whether he is hungry or not. Milk supply is based upon the laws of supply and demand, the more often he eats the more milk there will be, so long as you are getting adequate nutrition, calories and rest.  There is no problem with breastfeeding for comfort, breastfed babies will not get fat. The sucking reflex is very soothing to all babies and the breast is made especially for sucking and is a much more natural than a pacifier or baby’s thumbs/fingers.
– Makes sure baby is getting a full meal while at the breast!  If the meal takes 20 minutes or less than he probably isn’t getting a full meal, esp. in the early months. But as the breastfeeding relationship is established most babies eventually become very proficient feeders (at around 6 mo.) and can finish a meal in about 20 minutes. Relaxing enough to allow the “letdown” reflex is of vital importance as this is where the fatty milk is that will satisfy your baby’s hunger and help him gain weight. (see my post “Breastfeeding Advice: When nothing else seems to work”)

Information taken from:

The Brewer Diet (www.blueribbonbaby.com)
The Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org)
Nourishing Traditions by: Sally Fallon
Wise Woman Herbal For The Childbearing Year by: Susun Weed
Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com)

15 thoughts on “My Diet for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  1. Another wonderful and informative post!! Speaking of milk and butter, I would love to see a post on how you make your own raw butter from your goats, (as well as a post on raising goats) as I am dreaming of buying and raising some baby Miniature Breed goats (Because I’m too nervous of the full-size ones! ~ I’ve read that goats can be very stubborn and challenging!!) this summer to become family dairy goats…

    • In order to make goat butter you need to separate the cream from the milk first using a separator or by letting the cream rise to the top and then skim off the surface of the milk….after you have collected enough, at least a pint, you can make a small amount of butter without a butter churn by putting 1 pint of cream in a 1 qt. mason jar with lid tightly secured and shake and shake and shake (I get the kids to do it! hahahaha)….once agitated enough by the shaking the milk solids will eventually come together as butter 🙂

      I could do a post on goats but I’ve been raising them for only about 3 years and do not feel as if I quite have the experience enough to be writing about how to raise them. I can recommend a very excellent website though:

      http://fiascofarm.com/

      Do not believe everything you read about them, yes they can be stubborn but it’s not always in a bad way…sometimes it’s just incredibly funny. I have a Saanen (the largest goat breed) named Marissa and while she is the largest she is also the sweetest goat I own…the only one that I trust around my toddler (not that the others are mean per se, just BIG and not very aware of toddlers) she will lick you just like a dog and is very kind and protective of the children, when our dog Jack was alive, perceiving him as a predator she would try and put herself between him and the kids and she even bared her horns at him a couple of times…even though he meant no harm and was just trying to protect the kids himself! I also have a LaMancha named Darlene, and a LaMancha/Swiss Alpine cross named Rosie (She’s my baby, the first goat born on our homestead… she is Darlene’s daughter and has the Mancha ears just like her momma, I call her a Swiss Mancha) and our buck is a pure white LaMancha with only one horn named Pegasus. In the years to come I home to start and establish my own LaMancha herd using Pegasus and Darlene 🙂

  2. The dangers of having only a phone for internet! I was remembering some lady heckling you about not eating carbs while pregnant and you said a baby and placenta are made mostly of protien, not bread. I spit my tea on the computer when I read that one!

  3. Thanks for posting this. My dh is having a reversal in the begining of May. Its been 10 yrs since we had our last and that was before we left the SAD. I am just starting to relearn everything for pre-preg and preg and getting into EO and herbs.
    I’m printing this one up!
    Lori G.

  4. How do you think the herbs and diet helped your labors/births? I remember reading about your 2 home births. Would you say that they were better or worse then the births where you didn’t implement such a healthy diet? I know the pregnancy(4th) where I ate very well and used RR leaf much more faithfully I had the easiest labor (first home birth). My last 2 home births were more difficult and I didn’t follow my healthy eating as closely and I hardly ever drank my RR/nettle infusion.

  5. Honestly, my last pregnancy was the easiest pregnancy and my last birth was the easiest birth….I ate very healthily, on average 4-6 homegrown eggs a day and at least 1 qt. of our homegrown raw goat’s milk per day and lots of good grass fed beef from local farmer friends of ours along with lots of RRL and red clover infusion. He was born 1 week early weighing 6 lb. 7 oz. and I blame the early delivery on the close spacing of the babies because I had just had my daughter, Charity, exactly 1 year prior. Despite his small size he was perfectly healthy, strong and vigorous with a perfectly formed head and dental arches…which is what Dr. Weston A Price (who wrote the book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”…a lot of my pregnancy diet is based upon his research) discovered is the primary sign that a baby was given adequate nutrition in utero 🙂

  6. It’s great that you are taking advantage of your ability to choose how to eat in pregnancy in order to eat wisely. I have to just eat whatever I am able to but it seems like so many people squander their choice eating unhealthily and using pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever without thinking.

  7. Altoids, with their peppermint oil, works great for me. And protein..don’t eat crackers, eat whole milk yogurt or eggs or turkey or full fat cottage cheese..some bland protein that is easily digestible. And don’t let your stomach get empty, have a protein rich midnight snack so that your stomach isn’t empty in the morning. After having 5 kids, I find that this is what works best for me 🙂

  8. What brand of cod liver oil do you use? We’ve been buying the expensive green pasture brand but it always seems to be rancid or go rancid quickly, despite refrigeration and daily use.

    • I currently use Natrol brand mint flavored norwegian cod liver oil, but that’s only because I was able to get a really good deal on it..$1.99/bottle. I have also used Twinlabs brand in the past, and green pasture. Their cod liver oil is usually fermented which makes it especially “strong tasting”. I bought their chocolate flavored one once and it was hard for me to get down and I LOVE Chocolate 🙂

  9. I found this very helpful! I’m currently pregnant and will be breastfeeding, so this was much needed information 🙂

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