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Is it possible that Whole 9 just doesn't work for breastfeeding?

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Hi there. I am on day 6 of my Whole 30 while breastfeeding my 6 month old. I am really struggling to make enough milk for him. Each day my supply seems to go down more and more. I am trying to eat as much as I can. Here's what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Turkey/Apple hash with fermented veggies on the side.

Lunch: Cauliflower 'rice' with chicken, carrots, onion, and celery.

Dinner: Roasted chicken (2 drumsticks and a thigh) with sweet potato

Snacks: 2 Larabars, 1 cup sweet potato mashed with coconut oil and butter, kale chips, 1 can of coconut milk mixed with a cup of cold brewed coffee.

I also drank at least 100 ounces of water.

I don't want to give up on eating in the way my I believe to be the healthiest, at the same time I need to make enough milk to feed my baby. His weight percentile has been dropping steadily over the past 2 months. In every way other than this, eating a strict paleo diet feels like the absolute right thing to do.

Is it possible that strict paleo isn't right for my breastfeeding needs? Is it possible that my body is so screwed up by decades of eating crappy food that it just doesn't know how to work any other way? I could really use some suggestions. Thank you in advance.

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I guess anything is possible as we are all different and nothing is one size fits all.

Your food sounds yummy! Maybe you just need more of it? Can you increase the size of your serves and see if that helps?

Totally not paleo so please feel free to ignore, but I always had oats for breakfast when I fed my kids exclusively as that seemed to help me with milk production.

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why do you think your supply is going down?

Is your baby getting plenty of wet and dirty nappies?

Its all about supply and demand, the more they feed the more you make. Are you feeding on demand?

Expressing is no indication of supply if that is what you are doing. As babies are way more efficient than any pump.

Are you eating when hungry?

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To Ayla - I feel like my supply is going down based on my baby's reaction to nursing. Today he seems unsatisfied and has been pulling and pushing my breasts. Also, a week ago I would wake up in the morning with full feeling breasts. Not so much the past couple of days. He may be going through a growth spurt and that is why he seeming frustrated at the breast. I can't really hear him gulping for very long either. He has wet diapers throughout the day - today it was 4 or 5 but they weren't soaked. Just moderately wet. One or two poops a day. I am feeding on demand. For the past few nights I've started waking him up to nurse one extra time a day. I do try to eat when hungry and even when I'm not if I don't think I've eaten enough calories for the day. Eating paleo leaves me not as hungry as usual. Honestly, I have been trying extra hard to eat more than I even think I should.

Renee - Would you suggest the 4th meal as well as the snacks I've been including in an effort to keep calories up?

Thanks ladies. If you can't tell, I'm feeling a bit stressed (I know, not good for milk production). I greatly appreciate the support.

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Six months is a huge growth spurt time and a huge time for baby to get way distracted when nursing. First, eat way more than you're eating at each meal, and add a fourth meal, as suggested above. Second, nurse in places with few/no distractions. Third, expect shorter nursing sessions as baby gets older - he just gets really fast at getting the milk. Fourth, consider getting a nursing necklace for him to hold onto while nursing.

This isn't about Whole30, it's about nursing a six month old. You can do this!

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Applesauce- it looks like you've gotten some sound advice from experienced mamas here. Do keep us posted and let us know how everything turns out!

Glimmer- I do understand that you mean well, but I'd ask you to keep your suggestions to Whole30 guidelines in the W30 focused threads, please.

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I would agree with Renee - add in a fourth meal. If you are, indeed, having lowered supply - it probably means you need more food. I went through a period like that at the beginning of my W30 and found, by adding a fourth meal, that my supply went WAY back up.

I've also found that I have random spurts where my milk goes down a bit regardless of what I'm eating. So just keep eating enough, pumping/nursing and hydrating. It will come back up! If it's not - what you're describing does sound like typical growth spurt behavior.

Good luck! :)

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Hi Applesauce - some of what I'm going to write might be duplicating others' posts, but I hope it helps.

Please do not worry about your diet having an effect on your milk supply, the type of food you consume shouldn't have much effect on your milk, your supply is based on demand, the more your baby feeds, the more milk you make. Eat more food if you like, and you can express after a feed if you wish.

It is wise to eat a healthy diet whilst breastfeeding as this will help YOU to feel much better, have more energy, sleep better (when you get the chance!) and will help your immune system etc - The Whole30 includes many nutrient dense foods which will ensure your nutrition needs are being met. Once your body adjusts you will probably have more consistent energy levels throughout the day which is important when you are dealing with the lack of sleep/broken sleep with a baby.

I would add that you don't need to stress about feeling stressed, as this will not reduce your supply either - it may have an effect on the initial let down of your milk during a feed/expressing session, but probably not your supply.

As a breastfeeding mother of a 7 month old (on day 2 of Whole 30 and battling the chocolate demon and winning yay!), I understand the tendency to look at your own diet as a way of explaining any change in your baby's feeding patterns or behaviour. Sometimes we look for something concrete or tangible to grasp onto because our babies cannot tell us what it is, and its difficult to not know and just go with it.

Other things going on in babies at 6 months - changes in sleeping patterns, more awareness generally of the world around them, starting to eat solid food, starting to sit up or even crawl, growth spurt, teething issues, faster milk feeds, more interest in trying to grasp things/do things/ play with things/eat food, therefore maybe less interest in milk. Depending on the individual.

If your baby seems happy and healthy through observation and nappies (diapers) are ok, then don't worry about him dropping on the percentile charts. It is normal for that to happen after the first few months. Breastfed babies tend to put on weight much faster than formula fed babies at the beginning then it tails off. Where did he start off on the chart?

If you are concerned about your calorie intake and milk supply then you can increase the amount of food you are eating, your body may send more hunger cues if your baby is going through a growth spurt.

Lastly, from my experience, I started a eating a Paleo diet when my baby was 3 or 4 months old and to be honest I don't think she noticed at all when I cut out grains etc. Started a Whole30 a month later (which was actually a Whole7...) and no effect again. But it is soooo tempting to go "oh a ____ nappy that must have been something I ate". Didn't keep much of a tight reign over my eating the past 4 weeks and now doing January Whole30 - and it WILL be a Whole30 haha! My babys nursing habits and everything else have changed here and there every so often and my supply has changed but it has had nothing to do with my diet as far as I can tell.

Lastly, the best thing about Whole30 is that its sooo easy to prepare food for your baby starting solids - none of the "I can't give her what I'm eating because its too unhealthy for her......oh....right.....ok....so I need to prepare something separate for her to eat.....if only I could eat whole unprocessed foods then she can have some of mine and it makes mealtime less of a hassle......ahhhh I see..."

Let us know how you are getting on? Is baby still getting frustrated?

All the best ;)

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Hi again. Thank you all for commenting and sharing your helpful suggestions. It is amazing to have support from people I've never met regarding something so personal and important.

I've been waiting a few days to reply to see if I noticed any dramatic changes. I've been stressing myself out so much over the past 7 days or so trying to figure out what I'm doing right or wrong. The only thing good about stressing out to the level I have been is eventually it passes and I'm too wiped out to stress anymore. I think I'm almost there.

So I've really been trying hard to eat as much as possible. I know we're not supposed to be counting calories but from years of previous experience I am very good at being about to eyeball a meal and know how many calories I'm eating. In the past week I had one day where I ate close to or over 3000 calories (New Years Eve day) and the next day did seem to be my most robust milk supply day lately. I am having a hard time eating quite that much every day, plus there are other members in my household that would like to eat too. I haven't been nearly as hungry as I usually am so it is a bit of work to keep remembering to eat. It seems a little crazy that I would need to eat 3000 calories daily to keep up a good supply.

I've also started pumping as much as I can after my baby nurses. Let me tell you, with 2 kids under the age of 3 that is no easy task. Also, I don't think I can keep that up for very long. I also discovered in my exhaustively compulsive Internet searching something called 'power pumping'. I implemented this strategy last night. We'll see if it leads anywhere.

My milk supply seems to be holding steady and possibly increasing slightly from what I can tell with all the pumping. My baby still seems to be a bit unsatisfied in the evenings. Today and even tonight he has seemed quite content.

mrsmaggie - I hope you're still fighting the good fight against the chocolate demon. I have gone a few rounds myself today. I found your post to be very calming. I greatly appreciate the part when you suggest to not stress about my stressing. It actually brought a tear to my eye because on top of everything I've been trying to force myself to 'let it all go.' How did you get so wise? You asked about my baby's percentile. He went from the 50th to 25th to now 10th. But, I thought about that a lot today and realized that for most of his life he has been in the 25th percentile, and once jumped up to 50th. Overall he is basically on the same curve. He is happy, intelligent and may just be a little smaller than the average. I'd love to hear how you do with your W30 and what changes if any you experience.

So, I think things are looking better. I was close to running out and buying dark beer and/or oatmeal a couple times. Maybe some of the calmness that comes with eating well is starting to sink in. Today was day 9.

Most kind regards

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Yes you are doing very well, especially with pumping and all. It is hard with an older toddler/pre schooler. As theres generally more milk for pumping in the morning, I always plan to do it then but I have my older one going "Mummy mummy this mummy mummy that" or "Mummy can I help you?" -cue suction dial getting turned to maximum OMG! So cannot relax to let the milk flow! Then I think why did I bother trying to pump? By the evening I'm usually done in/tidying up/sorting out washing etc. Although I am liking the fact that I feel energized now following dinner instead of stuffed and drowsy with pasta or something.

I am still beating the chocolate demon, its just that theres more temptation as the goodies from Christmas are in the house, however my pure stubborn nature (a good quality at certain times for willpower) has ensured I will not touch it.

As for cheese, I am finding that is more of a temptation actually. I had to cover up a pack of Gorgonzola with baby wipes while it was at the table at dinner time yesterday and that surprised me but it worked and as I could not see it, I didn't want it.

The most difficult thing I think is getting over the habit of snacking when tired, really what my body needs is a nap when in the past I have had a bit of chocolate with a coffee or whatever else, but when you don't have the option of getting a rest what do you do?

For everyone - are you the only person in your family doing Whole30?

I bought Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan and its fab, I have been using the recipes and my husband is happy to eat what I make as we both like to try new things, but he will have pasta with a meat dish and I will have kale or salad or something.

Hubby is a teacher and off on his holidays until Monday which has freed me up somewhat to concentrate on preparing food, I am a little apprehensive about finding the time to do all the food prep whilst looking after a 3yr old and a baby who has just started crawling.....however I am so determined I WILL succeed!

Applesauce you sound very organised, any tips?

Do you have your energy back now by day 10?

Best wishes

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A couple of quick thoughts. Make sure you are getting enough fats. Coconut oil and milk are great but maybe try to get more in your meals. Also Alfalfa supplements boost milk supply. They do not contain gluten. There are also teas that you can find to help boost milk production. The one I have used in the past has no added sugar and is made by EarthMama Angel Baby.

Baby's health and nutrition are most important, here-- especially if you are breastfeeding exclusively. Whole30 and a strict Paleo diet are awesome but don't feel bad or guilty if you have to supplement your diet for a few months and then go back to it later. It's such a small portion of your life and yet such an important time for your baby's growth and development.

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