Are you struggling with breast feeding but really want to continue?

Read and watch these videos to learn about the 3 most common causes of breast feeding problems that I see in my osteopathy clinic

Issues with breastfeeding is common for mothers and it doesn’t matter whether you are a new mum or have become a mother for the second, third or fourth time even.

Over the years as an osteopath at The Perrymount Clinic I run in Haywards Heath, I have had hundreds of mothers through the doors for Cranial Osteopathy treatments for their babies, stating at the same time that breastfeeding is an issue for them also.

I will always recommend they contact a local lactation consultant, but with my years of practice and dealing with mothers on a first hand basis, I have identified the same issues time and time again that make breastfeeding problematic in the first place.

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TIP: Be sure to have your technique, set up and baby's latch checked by a lactation consultant and also have a specialist in tongue-tied examine your baby too

In summary, these issues are as follows:

Firstly, not feeding well off the mothers’ right side, preferring the left breast. A poor latch on this side can cause the mother to be very sore. The baby then gulps air, aggravating wind and colic.

Secondly, the baby is a ‘grazer’, wanting to feed continuously even if you know they shouldn’t be hungry. Infact, these ‘sucky’ babies are just lightly feeding and sucking more so to settle themselves.

Thirdly, the baby just seems unsatisfied, is always hungry, wanting more. This can be down to bad diet choices of the mother. More on this below.

If these points seem familiar, then here is an explanation of them in more detail:

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Christian Bates has been an osteopath and naturopath for 19 years and has helped 1000’s of babies and parents using cranial osteopathy and an all round approach to babies health. He is the author of the award winning Calming Colic book and has written other e-books of mother and baby health which are offered as part of The Happy Baby Project.

1. Does your baby only turn it’s head one way?

Let me firstly address the problem of your baby not feeding well off your right side. It is most commonly the right side, but it can also apply also to those whose babies don’t feed well off the left breast either.

What is probably happening here, is your baby is turning its head to the side and direction it was at birth. Have you noticed that when you put your baby down they always turn their head in the same direction?

If they naturally turn their head to the right, they will always find feeding from the left breast easier. However, switching to the other side will more often than not, be problematic. The latch might not be as good and you will have to fiddle with their head position, possibly using the ‘rugby ball’ hold to better effect as this gives babies more flexibility to turn their heads the way they like.

However, if you keep using the ‘rugby ball’ hold you will only be training your baby to look in the same direction. Much better to get the baby comfortably turn its head both ways, to face into your left and right breast when needed.

Cranial osteopathy is the ‘go-to’ therapy for helping your baby turn its head equally well in either direction so they can feed successfully off both breasts. The treatment helps ease the head, which in turn leads to successful breastfeeding, putting a stop to colicky irritability, leading to less wind and a much happier baby.

Advice I give parents is to encourage their baby to look in the direction they don’t like as much, by simply putting their toys on that side of the cot. Or play with them, so they are encouraged to look more in that direction. A baby will eventually start to look both ways equally, but cranial osteopathy speeds up the whole process up. This in turn leads to fewer mums giving up breastfeeding in the early weeks, giving them the option to continue with this method of feeding if they wish.

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This baby was a patient of mine. Can you see how she is arching her back and has a big head rotation to the right. This was all rectified after cranial osteopathy treatment I gave her and her feeding improved vastly as she was able to latch correctly and get in a more comfortable feeding position.

Watch this video for more explaination on your baby’s neck turning and its influence on breast feeding

2) The baby is a ‘grazer’, wants to feed continuously even if they shouldn’t be hungry. Infact, these ‘sucky’ and snacky babies are just lightly feeding and sucking to settle themselves.

A reason that could explain a baby being a ‘grazer’ or a ‘sucky’ baby is a traumatic birth. A traumatic birth could be a birth that has been long and difficult with lots of contractions on their head or a birth that has been assisted with use of forceps or ventouse .

These types of births can lead to babies getting cranial tension. Babies with cranial tension often like to suck a lot as the mechanic gives relief to the tension in their head. To illustrate this, I ask parents to think about having to swallow to clear ears when coming to land in a plane. The motion of swallowing or sucking a sweet activates a mechanism in the cranial bones that gives relief to the ear pain.

When you baby is sucking a lot you think it is needing more milk. BUT, when you put them on the breast or give them a bottle they thrash around and stop feeding, coming on and off the bottle or breast, bringing milk up and spluttering. The reason for this is they want to suck, but in fact don’t want the milk because they are not hungry.

This can be really frustrating for a mother and a cause of sore nipples if you are breastfeeding, which in turn can make a mother consider giving up breastfeeding altogether.

A solution is to relieve the tension in your baby’s head and again cranial osteopathy is the ‘go-to’ method to achieve this. There is literally no other treatment that can do this. Or to offer a dummy that provides something the baby can continuously suck, but it doesn’t solve the long term issue of the cranial tension and dummies can cause sleep issues down-the-line.

To use a dummy?

A way to see if your baby’s discomfort is eased by sucking is to offer your little finger for them to suck on or to use a dummy. The use of a dummy can be controversial, however it can really help settle your baby and it doesn’t have to be long-term. If your baby is dramatically helped by sucking, and is content doing this but isn’t actually hungry, then your next step should be to see a cranial osteopath for some treatment to release the cranial tension so the dummy isn’t needed.

Think of the dummy as a “tool” as it can really be a massive help if you have a troubled baby and is a way to help them, and you, get some sleep. I have seen many times a baby desperately need a dummy but after cranial osteopathy treatment the head tensions have eased and the parents can withdraw the dummy use. Of course there may be some “habit” formed which you will need to break but it should be far easier because the baby doesn’t actually “need” the dummy anymore to receive head tension or pain.

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3. Does your baby snack a lot and not seem satisfied from breast feeding? How a mother’s diet affects her breast milk and in turn her baby

How a mothers diet affects her breast milk and in turn her baby

This section is a shortened version of the 4 e-books I’ve written on nutritional help for new mums which are available to purchase if you would like more help.

Click here to purchase.

I one hundred per cent believe that the mother’s diet affects her breast milk. Bizarrely this is deemed a controversial statement, but it is just common sense to me. Some specialists believe that a mother’s breast milk will take what it needs from the mother to maintain the quality and quantity to nourish the new born.

Having said this I know it isn’t the full story, or the most beneficial story to tell a mother.

Someone once posted a Facebook comment to me stating “Women in Third World countries have successfully breastfed their children forever”. Meaning that even the malnourished mother produces breast milk that can nourish their child.

I do believe in this and that breast milk is amazing, but where do you think the breast milk is getting its nutrients? The answer is that it strips them from the mother. And where does the mother get the ingredients to replenish her own health? From the food she eats.

Your diet nourishes YOU and YOUR BABY. And my aim is for you to both be in optiMUM health as a result of it.

The key is ensuring you are eating well and consuming plenty of protein, fat, carbs, vitamins and minerals. These are then passed onto your baby via your breast milk with any leftover for you. QUANTITY therefore is key too.

It’s strange that mums eat so well when pregnant, but often change this completely when breastfeeding. Tiredness plays a big part in this, as well as a lack of time, leading to mothers overlooking good diet. Sugar loaded foods easily to hand seem the quick fix option. BUT, through good diet alone I have seen milk production increase especially when more protein is consumed by the mum. More milk, better feeding, better sleeping, happy baby, happy mother.
As a Naturapath, I am very passionate about this topic and even though there is no analytical research available to support this, I have analysed the diets of forty mums who in the past have visited my clinic seeking help for their upset/colicky babies. I have established that most of the time their diets have been generally quite poor and lacking many vital nutrients.

Another thing I established with these mother’s was they were all Vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D is a major health nutrient.

A scientific study supports this (ref below). A study of women’s diets whilst pregnant, revealed that if women were Vitamin D deficient in pregnancy then Vitamin D was shown to be lower in the placental cord blood, which researchers then linked with the baby being more likely to get eczema. This alone proves my theory that what mothers eat does cause a variation in the nutrients supplied to her baby and the health of her baby too.

Another example - this time a first-hand experience as it involved one of my patients whose baby had really bad eczema.

It was so bad that his skin was weeping and bleeding from the scratching, prohibiting him from sleeping well which in turn meant the whole family were exhausted. At the time I was reading a study (ref below) that revealed that if mothers eliminated tree nut-related foods (of which chocolate is one of them), as well as fermented foods, their baby’s atopic dermatitis (eczema) got better in 73% of the babies.

I asked the mother if she was over eating any particular foods more than she normally would and she said chocolate.

She had no idea that this could affect her baby, as she believed the common misconception that her diet played no role in her breast milk quality.

This mother had seen GP’s and paediatric consultants and had creams to apply, but not a single bit of advice on her current diet. After only one week of not eating chocolate, her baby’s skin dramatically improved and continued to prove too (we also used Biogaia Protects probiotics by the way). 

Did you have a C-section?

Another scientific study I came across (ref) that again got me VERY excited was a paper that revealed that mums who had had C-sections had lower protein content in their breast milk.

The study revealed that having a C-section actually changed the nutritional content of mother’s breast milk. The study didn’t offer any advice on what that means or what you should do, but here’s my personal opinion. If you had a C-section (and over 20% of mothers do) you should eat more protein in your diet to make sure your body has the best chance to get that protein into your milk and then into your baby. Make sure therefore, there is a moderate amount of protein in each meal you have.

So another study that goes against GPs and midwives advise that protein content of breast milk ALWAYS stays the same. But here we have scientific evidence and first hand case studies too that suggest quite the contrary.

Balancing blood sugar

I am now going to share some information with you that is HUGE, which a lot of pregnant ladies might not even know about. One of the things I recommend in one of my four e-books I have written is the importance of a diet that balances blood sugar. This is achievable by eating in a very simple way. Eating this way promotes hormones to return to normal and also helps with natural, safe weight loss even whilst breastfeeding. One of the e-books I have written, is all about safe weight loss after pregnancy because this is definitely not a time for a calorie restricted diet. 

The exciting news is, I have found a few scientific research papers that support the benefits of eating in this way too. I didn’t even know these before I wrote my e-book on the subject.

One study found that if a mother had poor blood sugar control then her lactation was impeded. The study called this poor blood sugar control “glucose intolerance” and “maternal diabetes”. Obesity, is a result of poor blood sugar control also. 

All these conditions can be aided by balancing blood sugars through this specific way of eating I write about.

Therefore, my personal conclusion from this is that controlling your blood sugar will improve milk supply and lactation. Another reason why a healthy, balanced diet is so important whilst nursing.

Insulin affects breast milk production

Another scientific study looked at the hormone insulin, that helps balance blood sugar. This is the hormone that diabetics have a problem with so they get too much sugar in the blood. Scientists found that problems with insulin levels hindered breastmilk supply. In America 20% of women suffer pregnancy diabetes.

So having suggested that eating in a certain way helps insulin to work better you can see then also how diet can in turn aid mother’s milk flow too.

It’s also important to point out, that when you adopt a diet that helps balance your blood sugar you are eating meals that provide you with a moderate balance or protein, carbohydrate and fat. You can read about all the details in the e-books I have written, it’s very simple to do.

Another study found that mothers who ate in this way, not only balanced their intake of protein, fat and carbohydrates, but also consumed the best spread of vitamins and minerals too. This means the mother will nourish herself and her breast milk in the best possible way.

So there is some science behind eating well to improve breast milk supply and quantity. Without a shadow of doubt from my experience in the clinic talking to mothers, how eating well does makes them feel better, their baby feed better, their baby be happier and their baby sleep better. 

There isn’t much science behind all of these statements but there are loads of mothers to confirm it. I’m sure you have noticed the consistency, colour and smell of your milk change according to what you eat.

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I hope this advice from my experience and research gives you something to help you and your baby during this breastfeeding period of your life. I realise that some of the advice requires you to see a cranial osteopath, but the dietary advice is the most vital for your future health and that of your baby too.

I have actually written a lot more on how you can help yourself and your baby. If you like what you have read here, then there are four e-books written by me on eating advice for mothers designed to help nourish you back to good health after having your baby, help you cope with the late nights, improve the quality of your breastmilk if you are feeding (as explained above), all helping you have a happy baby, who is sleeping better.

I have also written three e-books about your baby’s health too, specifically around colic, reflux and improving their future health. These three e-books I will give to you for free when you purchase the mother help e-books. You will also have access to all my mother and baby help videos and other material I have produced, such as the list of foods that aggravate wind and colic in the breastfed baby. 

For £9.99 you will receive 7 e-books and bonus material. These are the books:

1) New mum diet mistakes;
2) Nutrition advice for the new mum and breastfeeding mum;
3) Food plan and recipes for the new mum and breastfeeding mum;
4) Safe weight loss for the new and breastfeeding mum;
5) Calming Colic - How to help the 10 causes of colic (90 page e-book also available in paperback);
6) Quick Calm - Ways to quickly calm your upset baby;
7) Help for the baby with Reflux

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I actually found nine major issues that were common in mothers’ diets expanding more so on this article. This e-book is part of the mother and baby help e-book package (click here to buy for only £9.99). Taking on board this advice will be doing yourself and your baby a great service.

At Boobies and Banter our aim is ensure Mothers feel supported without judgement. Passionate about breastfeeding but not pushy is our style. Our support comes from trained peer support and experienced Mums well versed in the art of reassurance. Our Facebook group supports over 1000 women and is a well moderated and safe place to share. Working with health professionals we are available in drop in clinics across Mid Sussex and available to all UK online we ensure a full circle of support for mothers to learn their art of breastfeeding.

Our top tips start with just that....

1. Breastfeeding. Guess what? No-one is born knowing how to do it. It's a skill to be learned. Typically taking six weeks to learn it as a skill and about that time for supply and demand to fully become established so our first tip is *Be Kind to Yourself*.

2. Positioning and attachment; its hard! Ask your care team again and again to observe you, if they tell you 'that looks right' don't settle for that, ask them how they know! What are they seeing that you aren't?
Our second tip is CHIN:
C is for CLOSE. Baby should be turned right into you, tummy to tummy.
H is for Head. Head should be free to bob on and off the breast. Don't touch the back of the head they think it's a nipple! And will also push against any resistance they feel.
I is for IN LINE. Dad's you can get involved! Spot check baby's alignment for Mum. The Head, shoulders and bottom should be in one straight line. And while you are watching ask yourself; does Mummy look comfortable, are those shoulders down signalling she's relaxed. If she's tense just talk to her like she's your friend not like she's in charge of feeding, help her relax into the feed not put her under pressure. Relaxing equals milk let down for your baby.
N is for Nose to Nipple. Baby's nose should be in line with Mum's nipple, this encourages the head to tilt back slightly creating a nice right angle under the chin for ease of swallowing but most essentially it draws the jaw down and encourages a nice wide mouth! Never negotiate with anything less. We all know spaghetti sucking is poor table manners, and it's worse with your nipple!

3. Skin to skin; it is so much more than a cuddle. Your baby is born knowing only you. You are their safe place, their comfort and the one who will teach them confidence to learn to be without you. It takes time. They don't want to be a cot by themselves they want the reassurance of you. You are all they've known in utero for 9 months, the first few months should be an extension of that, we call it outer utero it's about reminding them you are always there when they call. This doesn't create a dependency it creates independence and confidence. Kick start your breastfeeding with outer utero or as it's more commonly known; skin to skin. When you hold your baby your scent and your heartbeat soothes them, reduces their anxiety and yours too, you settle each other and this allows your milk to let down. When breastfeeding isn't going well, skin to skin is your friend. We like to say it's like a hard reset on your iPhone, its like holding down the home and off button together and returning to factory settings.

4. You missus, you matter too! Stop being Supermum! Did you know tiredness, anxiety, not fuelling yourself works against your supply? You hear it all the time, are you eating, are you drinking? Well you will get it from us too. We like food! It fuels us to have the strength to breastfeed and be a happy Mum. You will never know hunger like it when you breastfeed! Eat guilt free and enjoy it! And slow down put that delicate supply first.

5. And finally; support. You need it more than you realise. There will be things about your breastfeeding journey you never saw coming. Reach out and we'll be there. Every step of the way.

Please find us on Facebook. We are waiting for you. We are here. We are always listening.

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Cranial Osteopathy

Cranial osteopathy is fantastic at helping babies turn their head easily in both directions and therefore help them breast feed well.

If you would like to see me to help you with your toddler then please do call my clinic on 01444 410944 or email me on If you email me with your best phone number then I will have you called back to arrange an appointment if that is easier for you.

You can also book an appointment online to see me right now by clicking here.

If you don’t know what cranial osteopathy is, don’t worry you aren’t alone! I have a short video of me treating the lovely Maisie below. You will be a able to see just how gentle the treatment is.

Many thanks for watching

Do you live local to Haywards Heath and want to speak to someone about how we can help you or to book an appointment? Fill the form out below and we will call you back

Disclaimer: Osteopaths are not allowed to say they can “treat” specific baby conditions, such as colic because basically no paid for research has been done showing it can help. What we actually have is 1000’s of parents spreading the word that their baby has benefitted in some way. I want to make it clear that a cranial osteopathy treatment looks at the baby as a whole, not as treating a “colic baby” or “reflux baby” anyway. Having said this probiotics have scientifically been studied to ease colic, so in this instance it would formally allowed for me to say that probiotics help colic. I use probiotics very often within my holistic approach to helping babies.

Read some testimonials

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What follows now is a collection of scientific studies with a very brief explanation by myself about breast milk and how it is affected by the mothers diet. I think these all contribute to an over all view that what a mothers eats DOES affect how there baby behaves and sleeps on top of the more obvious windy and colic symptoms.

Pain in newborns is relieved from the odours of their own mothers breast milk. I put this in here as it illustrates why your baby may be very clingy after a traumatic birth involving ventouse or forceps delivery. They may well be wanting to smell your milk to get pain relief.

Neurosci Res. 2009 Jan;63(1):66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2008.10.007. Epub 2008 Nov 1.
The calming effect of a maternal breast milk odor on the human newborn infant.
Nishitani S1, Miyamura T, Tagawa M, Sumi M, Takase R, Doi H, Moriuchi H, Shinohara K.

We examined the effects of the odors from mother's milk, other mother's milk and formula milk on pain responses in newborns undergoing routine heelsticks. Forty-eight healthy infants were assigned to four groups, an own mother's breast milk odor group (Own MM), another mother's breast milk odor group (Other MM), a formula milk odor group (Formula M) and a control group. To assess infant distress in response to the heelsticks, their crying, grimacing and motor activities were recorded during the experiment as behavioral indices of the pain response. After the heelstick, the behavioral indices of the Own MM group were lower than those of other groups. By contrast, the Other MM and Formula M groups showed no significant changes compared with the Control group. We also measured salivary cortisol concentration as a biochemical index in Control and Own MM infants before and after heelstick. After the heelstick, the level of salivary cortisol was significantly increased in Control infants, but not in Own MM infants. These results suggest that pain is relieved in human newborns when they are exposed to odors from their mother's milk.

Vitamin D cord levels and eczema in babies

Cord Blood 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 and Allergic Disease During Infancy, Pediatrics, November 2012, VOLUME 130 / ISSUE 5 Anderson P. Jones, Debra Palmer, Guicheng Zhang, Susan L. Prescott

This study found that mothers milk smelt of garlic 2 hours after the mother consumed. The fascinating part is that the babies suckled for LONGER when the milk smelt of garlic. For me this shows that it is a possibility that particular foods will trigger a baby to feed longer which could then have a knock on effect of being more content and sleeping longer.

Maternal Diet Alters the Sensory Qualities of Human Milk and the Nursling's Behavior
Julie A. Mennella, Gary K. Beauchamp Paediatrics October 1991, VOLUME 88 / ISSUE 4

Although the majority of human infants are breast-fed for the first few months of life, there is a paucity of information regarding the sensory qualities of human milk and how these qualities are affected by maternal diet. The present study investigated the effects of garlic ingestion by the mother on the odor of her breast milk and the suckling behavior of her infant. Evaluation of the milk samples by a sensory panel revealed garlic ingestion significantly and consistently increased the perceived intensity of the milk odor; this increase in odor intensity was not apparent 1 hour after ingestion, peaked in strength 2 hours after ingestion, and decreased thereafter. That the nursling detected these changes in mother's milk is suggested by the finding that infants were attached to the breast for longer periods of time and sucked more when the milk smelled like garlic. There was a tendency for infants to ingest more milk as well; the lack of a significant effect may be due to the inherent limitations on the total amount of milk available to the infant.

Vitamin D

Mothers who eat junk food during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be putting their children at risk of overeating and developing obesity, according to a new study. The research suggests that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not indulge in fatty, sugary and salty foods under the misguided assumption that they are "eating for two."

This study found that breast milk at different times of contained ingredients to promote sleep. So evening milk promoted sleep. Important to know is you are expressing, use the evening expressed milk for the evening feeds.

Sánchez et al. The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers. Nutritional Neuroscience, 2009; 12 (1): 2 DOI: 10.1179/147683009X388922

Eating Fish While Pregnant, Longer Breastfeeding, Lead To Better Infant Development, Research Finds

September 10, 2008, Harvard Medical School Summary: Higher prenatal fish consumption leads to better physical and cognitive development in infants, according to a study of mothers and infants from Denmark. Longer breastfeeding was also independently beneficial.

Carotenoid levels in breast milk vary by country, diet
June 10, 2015 Purdue University Summary: An analysis of breast milk concludes that levels of health-promoting compounds known as carotenoids differ by country, with the U.S. lagging behind China and Mexico, a reflection of regional dietary habits.

[BABY SLEEP HELP] the hormone that makes us sleep is melatonin and it is made from tryptophan. This study shows that there is a correlation between the tryptophan in breast milk and the baby sleeping better. So.... Let's have a think about how to improve and take advantage of this in a mum so her baby sleeps better. It also proves yet again that the constituents of breast milk vary and affect the baby!

Evening breast milk means a good sleep

Mothers who use a breast pump to express milk during the day and then bottle-feed it to their baby at night may be letting themselves in for a sleepless night.
Naturally occurring chemicals called nucleotides that have previously been linked to sleepiness only reach their highest concentrations in human breast milk that is expressed at night. Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA, but they also participate in cellular signalling and metabolic processes within cells. Several of them have also been implicated in sleep. The chemicals had already been found in breast milk, their concentrations increasing in the first few weeks after birth, so it seemed likely that they are important for tissue development. Now it seems they may have an additional role.

Cristina Sánchez at the University of Extremadura in Badajoz, Spain, and her colleagues looked at the concentrations of 5’UMP, 5’AMP and 5”GMP – the three nucleotides most strongly associated with sleep and sedation – in the breast milk of 30 healthy mothers who had been breast-feeding for at least 3 months. Samples of milk were collected before each feed over a 24-hour period, with between six and eight samples collected per mother.

They found that concentrations of 5’AMP were highest at the beginning of the night, while levels of 5’GMP and 5’UMP increased as the night wore on. These sedatives were found at much lower concentrations in milk expressed during the day.
“It is a mistake for the mother to express the milk at a certain time and then store it and feed it to the baby at a different time,” says Sánchez.
She suggests that 5’AMP in breast milk might be fuelling the release of the sleep-promoting neurotransmitter GABA, while 5’GMP is involved in the secretion of melatonin,which helps regulate the natural body clock. 5’UMP is known to promote the amount of both REM and non-REM sleep.
Since previous studies have also hinted that bottle-fed infants have more problems sleeping through the night, Sánchez’s colleague, Javier Cubero, has been investigating whether sleep-inducing nucleotides could be added to formula milk.
In a separate study, Sánchez and Cubero created a “night-time” milk by adding 5’AMP and 5’UMP to standard formula milk. Infants receiving this milk between 6 pm and 6 am, and normal milk during the day, fell asleep faster and spent longer sleeping than when they drank standard formula milk all the time.
Journal references: Nutritional Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1179/147683008X344174; Neuroendocrinology Letters, vol 28, p 360

Pregnant mother's diet impacts infant's sense of smell, alters brain development
December 6, 2010 University of Colorado Denver Summary: New study shows a pregnant mother's diet directly impacts an infant's food choices in the future.

Breast milk reveals a correlation between dietary fats and academic success
September 11, 2014 University of California - Santa Barbara Summary: You are what you eat, the saying goes, and now a study suggests that the oft-repeated adage applies not just to physical health, but to brain power as well. Researchers compared the fatty acid profiles of breast milk from women in over two dozen countries with how well children from those same countries performed on academic tests. Their findings show that the amount of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a mother's milk is the strongest predictor of test performance. It outweighs national income and the number of dollars spent per pupil in schools.

Breastfeeding is good for yet another reason, researchers discover
Antibodies in mother's milk help shape newborns' immune systems May 6, 2016 University of California - Berkeley Summary: A mother's breast milk supports immune responses in her newborn that help the infant's gut become a healthy home to a mix of bacterial species, thanks in part to newly identified antibodies from the mother, according to a study.

Maternal Adversities during Pregnancy and Cord Blood Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR) DNA Methylation
Eva Unternaehrer, PhDa,b,c, Margarete Bolten, PhDb,d, Irina Nast, PhDb, Simon Staehli, BSce, Andrea H. Meyer, PhDa, Emma Dempster, PhDf, Dirk H. Hellhammer, PhDe, Roselind Lieb, PhDa,b and Gunther Meinlschmidt, PhDa,b,g,
Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate whether maternal adversities and cortisol levels during pregnancy predict cord blood DNA methylation of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR). We collected cord blood of 39 babies born to mothers participating in a cross-sectional study (N=100) conducted in Basel, Switzerland (2007 – 2010). Mothers completed the Inventory of Life Events (ILE, second trimester: T2), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS, third trimester: T3), the Trier Inventory of Chronic Stress (TICS-K, one to three weeks postpartum) and provided saliva samples (T2, T3) for maternal cortisol profiles, as computed by the area under the curve with respect to ground (AUCg) or increase (AUCi) for the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and for diurnal cortisol profiles (DAY). OXTR DNA methylation was quantified using Sequenom EpiTYPER®. The number of stressful life events (p=0.032), EPDS score (p=0.007) and cortisol AUCgs at T2 (CAR: p=0.020; DAY: p=0.024) were negatively associated with OXTR DNA methylation. Our findings suggest that distinct prenatal adversities predict decreased DNA methylation in a gene that is relevant for childbirth, maternal behavior and wellbeing of mother and offspring. If a reduced OXTR methylation increases OXTR expression, our findings could suggest an epigenetic adaptation to an adverse early environment.

The tests showed only around 1% of the flavour compounds were detectable in the breast milk, although some persisted for longer than others. Banana flavour peaked within the first hour, while menthol persisted for eight hours.
In a second series of experiments, Hausner checked whether breastfed babies were more likely to eat certain meals than babies fed on formula from a bottle. She found breastfed babies were happier eating meals laced with caraway flavouring than babies fed on formula.
"Diet does change the flavouring of the milk, but it's not like if the mother eats apple pie, the infant thinks, 'Mmm, apple pie', and gets to like it," Hausner said. "It seems that breastfed infants get used to small flavour changes and so they become more accepting of a variety of flavours compared to formula-fed infants."
"It seems that breastfeeding itself does prime the infants to be more accepting of new flavours when they start to eat solid food," she added.

Breastfed babies more receptive to tastes, say food research scientists

Scientists have discovered another reason why breast is best. Already associated with increased intelligence, greater social mobility and protection against ill health, breastfeeding may also help babies develop a more sophisticated palate. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen conducted tests on breast milk to see how the flavour changed with the mother's diet. They found that different foods caused subtle shifts in the flavour of breast milk, which appear to prime babies for the wide range of foods they are likely to encounter once they are weaned. Helene Hausner, at the Centre for Advanced Food Studies at the University of Copenhagen, decided to investigate the influence of diet on breast milk after reading a study that showed how babies enjoyed a meal of carrot-flavoured cereal more if their mothers drank carrot juice while breastfeeding.

Balancing Blood sugar, helps breast feeding. As mentioned in this article

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study, published online in Breastfeeding Medicine, adds to evidence that maternal glucose intolerance may impede lactation. Although insulin resistance is common among obese women, and obesity is a risk factor for poor lactation outcomes, the study is believed to be the first to examine maternal diabetes as a risk factor for low milk supply.

The Association between the Macronutrient Content of Maternal Diet and the Adequacy of Micronutrients during Pregnancy in the Women and Their Children’s Health (WATCH) Study
Michelle Blumfield,1,2 Alexis Hure,3 Lesley MacDonald-Wicks,1 Roger Smith,2,3 Stephen Simpson,4 David Raubenheimer,5 and Clare Collins1,2,*

Nutrition during pregnancy can induce alterations in offspring phenotype. Maternal ratio of protein to non-protein (P:NP) energy has been linked to variations in offspring body composition and adult risk of metabolic disease. This study describes the dietary patterns of pregnant women by tertiles of the P:NP ratio and compares diet to Australian recommendations. Data are from 179 Australian women enrolled in the Women and Their Children’s Health Study. Diet was assessed using a validated 74-item food frequency questionnaire. Food group servings and nutrient intakes were compared to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and Australian Nutrient Reference Values. Higher maternal P:NP tertile was positively associated with calcium (P = 0.003), zinc (P = 0.001) and servings of dairy (P = 0.001) and meat (P = 0.001) food groups, and inversely associated with the energy dense, nutrient poor non-core (P = 0.003) food group. Micronutrient intakes were optimized with intermediate protein (18%E–20%E), intermediate fat (28%E–30%E) and intermediate carbohydrate (50%E–54%E) intakes, as indicated in tertile two. Results suggest a moderate protein intake may support pregnant women to consume the largest variety of nutrients across all food groups.

When mothers at eggs, the specific egg protein, ovalbumin, was found in their breast milk. 25% of mothers that ate the eggs had no ovalbumin in their breast milk though.

Pediatrics November 2009, VOLUME 124 / ISSUE Supplement 2 Effect of Maternal Egg Consumption on Breast Milk Ovalbumin Concentration Karla L. Davis, Stephen E. Scranton

Tree nut foods aggravating eczema

J Dermatol. 2011 Feb;38(2):140-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2010.00968.x. Epub 2010 Sep 2. Aggravation of atopic dermatitis in breast-fed infants by tree nut-related foods and fermented foods in breast milk. Uenishi T1, Sugiura H, Tanaka T, Uehara M.

Ninety-two exclusively breast-fed Japanese infants with atopic dermatitis were studied to see whether tree nut-related foods (chocolate and coffee) and fermented foods (cheese, yogurt, bread, soy sauce, miso soup and fermented soy beans) eaten by their mothers affected their skin condition. Of the 92 infants, 67 (73%) showed improvement of skin lesions when their mothers avoided these foods and showed aggravation of skin lesions when these foods were reintroduced. The predominant offending foods were chocolate, yogurt, soy sauce and miso soup. A long-term maternal exclusion of the trigger foods brought about progressive improvement of skin lesions in the majority of the infants. These findings suggest that tree nut-related foods and fermented foods are important offending foods of atopic dermatitis in breast-fed infants.

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study, published online in Breastfeeding Medicine, adds to evidence that maternal glucose intolerance may impede lactation. Although insulin resistance is common among obese women, and obesity is a risk factor for poor lactation outcomes, the study is believed to be the first to examine maternal diabetes as a risk factor for low milk supply.