Yes, it’s true, certain food can encourage a woman’s milk production. If you’ve had a baby, you know this all too well. As a new mom, I learned about it later than I should have. In retrospect I wish I had spent more time learning about breastfeeding before I had my baby. Breastfeeding is hard. For me it was REALLY hard. There was pain, stress, confusion, frustration, and worst of all, not a lot of milk happening. Breastfeeding is really logistically hard, especially when you’re living in a society that isn’t super supportive of it. How crazy is that?!? We are living in a society that think it’s gross to feed your child.
It’s not until you start breastfeeding your own child that you realize how big the stigma is and how little support is offered. Breastmilk is life, it is health, it is the ultimate beauty food, and we should all be doing everything we can to encourage it. No one is making bigger strides than the women behind Madri Collection, Ashley Melone and Danielle Walish. They have created a line of cute clothing specifically designed for breastfeeding women to help them do their thing in style, and with ease. We met up with them to talk about babies and breastfeeding, and they made me the most delicious breakfast, that just so happens to also support milk supply.
Here’s the recipe, as told from The First Forty Days by Heng Ou. which also makes a great gift for any new mom in your life.
Laney: We’ve been obsessed with Madri since we first heard about it, but tell us a bit about it.
Madri: Madri Collection is a ready-to-mother clothing line that empowers women to breastfeed everywhere. We believe that fashion doesn’t stop when you become a mother and that the ability to effortlessly nurse your baby, whether at the breast or via pump, is essential. Madri means “mothers” in Italian and we are inspired by the Italian matriarchal culture and their effortless style. With Madri, we want new moms to feel great about how they look after giving birth, to feel confident in their new bodies with their new babies who are often attached to them. There are so many obstacles in our country that make breastfeeding and pumping challenging already; Chic and comfortable clothing doesn’t have to be one of those challenges.
Laney: How did it all come about?
Madri: Madri Collection was born out of our frustration with the lack of options for clothes that were easy to nurse in, that actually made us feel really great about ourselves and our new postpartum bodies. Danielle and I gave birth to our daughters 5 weeks apart, and we shared many late night text messages (while nursing of course) that eventually led us to the idea to start Madri. We started making clothes and tested out the designs on ourselves, refining what we thought would be most functional and fashionable—something neither of us could have realized before we were actually nursing. Before you are nursing, you think, oh a button down could work – then you realize that a button down not only may make you feel more exposed while nursing publicly, but also it is really hard to unbutton a shirt with one hand when you are holding a fussy baby with the other!
Laney: I found breastfeeding to be really really hard and I nursed for 6 months, but wish I could have gone longer (maybe I would have if Madri had been around!). What was your journey with breastfeeding like?
Madri: We are both still on our breastfeeding journeys. Danielle has been nursing her daughter Quinnah for 19 months and I (Ashley) have been nursing my daughter Ava for 20 months. The beginning months are definitely the most difficult. Nursing an infant has to be done on demand for so many months, which could mean every 2 hours or every 30 minutes, depending on the day and the time. Basically it felt like the only thing we did for a while! Eventually that shifted and it became a great and easy way to comfort our daughters, whenever we needed to – whether on an airplane or out at a restaurant.
Laney: If you had to choose one word to describe how breastfeeding makes you feel what would you say?
Laney: What do you hope women get to know about breastfeeding? Any tips?
Madri: We hope that women know that breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. The more the baby nurses, the more milk you produce. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about this but that is the bottom line. Therefore, anything that takes the baby away from the breast, can affect your supply. The ability to nurse your baby successfully goes way beyond the physical aspects, so much of breastfeeding success relies on the support we receive from our families, friends and society. It’s not something you can do alone and you need support – whether that is your partner, a lactation consultant, a local La Leche League meeting, your mom, you friend, anyone who can help guide you and encourage you through this new process. In the early days with your first child, you are learning a great art form of motherhood with a steep learning curve so be easy on yourself.
Laney: Tell us about this recipe.
Madri: We love this recipe! It is from a great book called The First Forty Days, filled with recipes and advice for what to eat after giving birth. It was such a great thing to have around in the first few weeks. It’s warming and healing and helps fortify your milk. Your body is working double time to make milk for your baby so you need to make sure you are keeping yourself hydrated and well fed. This recipe is great because you can make a big batch (or have a family member or friend make it for you, because you will be nursing!) and keep it in small batches in the refrigerator or freezer. Easy access to healthy food is critical in the early days.
Forest Berry Breakfast Bowl
- 2 cups (180 g) rolled oats
- 11⁄2 cup (235 g) steel-cut oats
- 1-inch (2.5-cm) knob of fresh ginger, peeled and halved
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1⁄4 cup (40 g) chia seeds
- 1⁄2 cup (50 g) quinoa flakes (optional; add another 1⁄2 cup/120 ml water if using)
- For the toppings:
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk (or cream, coconut milk, or nut milk of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
- 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup, or to taste
- Fresh or frozen fruit or berries, for serving (optional)
- Chopped almonds or other nuts, for serving (optional)
In a medium pot, bring 41⁄2 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rolled and steel-cut oats, the ginger, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium and let cook—three-quarters of the way covered— for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 15 minutes; add more water if needed, keeping an eye on the pot so it doesn’t boil over. Add the chia seeds and quinoa flakes, if using, during the last 15 minutes of cooking, stirring occasionally so the seeds and flakes separate and incorporate into the mixture. Once the grains are soft and creamy, and most of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. We like to add fresh fruit and serve!
Special thanks to Ashley and Danielle!
Photo by Sally Griffiths