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Episode 5: Nutrition During Breastfeeding with Samantha Scruggs, RD

, , , , February 19, 2020

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Jacqueline Kincer  [0:01]

Welcome to episode five of The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. On today’s episode, we’ve got the incredible Samantha Scruggs, who’s a registered dietician coming on and talking about nutrition during breastfeeding. And she’s giving us some information that even some things that were new to me, but things that most people aren’t taught when they’re preparing to have a baby or postpartum. So you’re absolutely not going to want to miss this episode, where we dive into all things nutrition and breastfeeding. Stay tuned.


Welcome, Samantha, to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m so excited to have you here. We’ve known each other for a little while now. And Samantha, you guys are gonna get so much out of this. She’s a registered dietician, she owns her own private nutrition practice called nutrition to fruition. And her primary focus is actually anxiety, which I know a lot of postpartum moms are dealing with. And so, I just want to welcome you, Samantha, to the podcast. I’m excited to get into this conversation and see where it goes for our listeners.


Samantha Scruggs   [1:48]

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here. Yeah, awesome.


Jacqueline Kincer  [1:53]

Well, just because you’re probably new to this audience, I’d love for you to just give a little background of how you got started, what you’re doing today in your practice, and the kinds of people you’re working with, and anything else you’d love to share!


Samantha Scruggs   [2:07]

I have been a registered dietitian for, I don’t know, probably like nine years. And I opened my private practice as a kind of like a side business and additional doing clinical work at the hospital in 2013. And then, I took it full-time in 2018. So I’ve been a dietitian for a while. But I recently started really focusing on anxiety because I just began to notice pretty much everybody who came into my practice had anxiety.


And so I did a bunch of research online, PubMed, that kind of thing, like, what is there? Is there any evidence or anything we can do nutritionally to help with anxiety? And so, I came up with a system for how people can manage anxiety through nutrition. And so that kind of took off online as well. And so now I have a private practice. And then we also do anxiety coaching, and some courses and stuff like that as well.


Jacqueline Kincer  [2:58]

And I will agree with you. I’ve seen in my practice that I would say the majority of my clients that I’m helping have some level of anxiety. And in some ways, I just feel like it’s the way our society is structured for the most part that we have these busy lives, and then you throw adding a new family member into the mix. And there are a lot of big changes that are happening there. And sometimes it’s really hard to cope with those. I’m sure you see that all the time, you probably work with a lot of families as well, right?


Samantha Scruggs   [3:30]

Yeah, especially with new moms. And I feel like we’re hardwired when babies cry it gives us this feeling of anxiety. And then how do you deal with those feelings if the baby is crying because they’re colicky or you just don’t know how to meet their needs? It’s not really your fault, but it still gives you that feeling of anxiety. So I do find it. It’s very common with new moms.


Jacqueline Kincer  [3:55]

And I do end up having a lot of moms ask me about that. How, initially, after you have your baby, there’s this sort of time period where you’re trying to get in the car and go somewhere with your child, but they cry, and you literally can’t drive anymore. You have to pull over and see what’s going on. And that’s a really common thing I hear moms say. And really, we’re kind of wired that way. We’re supposed to have that hormonal response. We’re supposed to go running to our babies and see what’s wrong. But it can also be very exaggerated. And I know for what I try to teach moms, and one of my biggest philosophies is obviously doing things as naturally as possible, which means a huge focus on a diet.


And this is something that I feel like a lot of moms postpartum ask about, and it’s a big focus during pregnancy. So I don’t know if you want to talk about that. But I’d love to just dive in a little bit on nutrition and maybe some of the misconceptions out there specifically for moms. Maybe some of the biggest deficits you see or anything you want to talk about regarding that.


Samantha Scruggs   [5:02]

Yeah, absolutely, diet is so key when it comes to motherhood, just in general, just think about the physiological demands on the body of not only pregnancy but then giving birth. And then after that breastfeeding. These are very energy-requiring physiologically demanding jobs that our bodies are doing.


So even though we, as women, are sort of passive to it, the baby’s growing, your body’s just sort of feeding the baby in the belly. And then when you give birth, a lot of people are active in it. But you can also be passive if something’s going to happen, whether you’re active in it or not. And your body’s just going to take what it needs in order to fuel that process.


And then, when breastfeeding, it is kind of the same story. Your body is going to take what it needs in order to feel that process. And so they’re very demanding on your body. And anytime you have additional demands placed on your body, whether it’s pregnancy, birth, or like for men, if it’s bodybuilding or anything like that, you require additional nutrition, you require more nutrients, not just more energy, like what they would call macronutrients, but more micronutrients too. So vitamins and minerals.


And unfortunately, a lot of times, the foods we’re eating are not very nutrient-dense. So we maybe be meeting the macronutrient demands. We’re eating enough carbohydrates, we’re eating enough protein and fat, but we’re not eating enough of the micronutrient-dense foods in order to meet that high demand that our bodies just are requiring because of this huge event that took place in our lives.


Jacqueline Kincer  [6:47]

And really, what I hear you saying is that nutrition, in this context, the focus is on the mother because what you said, their body is going to give the baby what it needs. So yes, there’s obviously concern about the baby, but you’re saying more, the focus is really on the mom for nutrition. That she needs to be getting the things back into her body that she’s losing by way of growing and birthing and feeding this child.


Samantha Scruggs   [7:16]

And we think about it from an evolutionary perspective. Our purpose is to procreate and to give everything that we have to the baby. So generally, what ends up happening is that our body gets depleted of nutrition, and everything that we have goes to the baby because the baby’s survival is the most important thing.


And generally, they’re not deficiencies to where it’s even a clinical level where you could see as a symptom of deficiency. It is kind of like a subclinical, to where it’s maybe causing some anxiety, it’s maybe causing some feelings, it’s causing a few processes to slow down or shut down, but it’s not so severe to where you would need to be hospitalized or anything. But it is creating the symptoms, which we interpret as anxiety, depression, fatigue or lack of energy, or all these things that people complain about.


And then when you say, well, maybe this is nutrition-related. A lot of times, people are like, Oh, no, I’m fine. Nutritionally, I’m eating enough, but it’s kind of right under the surface to where we could just maybe get a little bit more nutrient density into our diet and relieve a few of these symptoms of anxiety, depression, or fatigue. Or just going through your day and not having all the energy you need to get everything done to change the baby. And a part of that is lack of sleep, too. And I totally get that! The baby is going to wake up every two to three hours. That’s what they’re supposed to do. But I think we could improve our energy level a little bit through nutrition changes.



Jacqueline Kincer  [8:55]

I think that’s so important. And I think if anyone who’s listening is like, a lot of moms out there, you’re definitely looking for more energy and ways to feel better about yourself. And I know for me, I breastfed my kids for three, four years each and then went from one right to the other, so that was a lot of years of a lot of demands placed on my body.


And I finally went to my doctor last year, I was like, you know, I’m really tired all the time. And I don’t want to have to drink more caffeine just to keep myself going throughout the day, what’s going on. And like you said, a lot of these things are subclinical. So, on the surface, did I look like this really healthy individual, and would a normal doctor look at that and go, you’re fine. I have no idea why you’re here right now. You’re just tired because you’re a mom and your business owner.


But we ran some labs, and we saw some things were off and she suggested a few supplements but one very simple change. Where just throwing it out there and being real with you guys. I had a little bit of low blood sugar. Nothing that would have been considered actual hypoglycemia. But she was like, you know, you’d probably do really well with a protein shake in the mornings. And she was like, do you wake up kind of lightheaded? I’m like, Yeah, I’m really sluggish, and I am just having a hard time getting my day started.


And I kid you not, two days, two mornings in a row, after doing a protein shake in the morning, it was like, I got my life back. I was a new person! And I could not believe how much better I felt, not just energy-wise, but in my mood. And one simple thing like that. Now, I’m not saying every mom out there should just go drink a protein shake. But I think that’s to your point that there are these small deficiencies that could be made up, or we could be in better balance.


And I think for moms, they can get really hard on themselves sometimes like, well, I have an anxiety problem, or I am feeling depressed, or I’m this or that. But it might not be faulty wiring in your brain, it might not be a pattern of negative thoughts that you’re just consumed by it actually might be related to your health status and your nutrition.


Samantha Scruggs   [11:08]

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that relationship is something that is, especially in my anxiety program, when people figure out that the foods that they eat affect their mood, in one way or another. It’s like this big lightbulb moment for people where it’s like, wow, if I eat a certain way, my mood is more stable, I feel better. I don’t have as many ups and downs. And so it sort of helps them realize that relationship is there, whether we like it or not.


And one of the things you said kind of struck me is when people go to the doctor, and they complain of these subclinical symptoms, where it’s like, not quite to the point where you would have a real clinical problem to where you would be there passing out or you would have a severe medical problem. But you just don’t feel right. And we know, as women, and I think just like humans, when we just don’t feel 100%, right? To be told, You’re fine! There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re absolutely fine. It’s like no, I’m not fine. Like, I don’t feel fine, I feel anxious, I feel low energy, I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I’m not myself.


And it’s like, Yes, I get there’s the hormonal element, there are neurotransmitters, that the whole entire thing of giving birth and bringing a new person into your household. There is a mental health aspect to that. And I think counseling can be very helpful for that as well. But there’s also a physiological, chemical reason for a lot of these things to happen where maybe your nutrition is not quite right.  Maybe that’s what’s causing the fatigue.


So I think you need to explore all of those things. And I think a lot of times doctors or other providers, depending on their training, I’m not knocking all doctors, but a lot of times it just gets left in the dust because you didn’t pass out or you didn’t require intubation, you’re not in the ICU. So, therefore, “you’re fine.”


Jacqueline Kincer  [13:11]

I think the bar is set very low. And unfortunately, there are just a large amount of very, very unhealthy people in our society. So when you’re experiencing some clinical things, doctors are like, Okay, you’re not like the rest of my patients. So I think you’re fine. And you’re sort of like this unicorn.

I’ll never forget, one time I went to Mayo Clinic here in Scottsdale, and just thought, it’s the best of the best, right? So I’m going to go get my primary care physician there. And I go in and I’m like, the youngest person by far in the waiting room. They are very well organized, though. I have to say your doctor’s never late. So it’s kind of cool.


But I go in there, I have this appointment. And it was before I actually didn’t know. I was actually already pregnant with my first child. I didn’t know that. So I went in there, saying, hey, we’re thinking about having a baby, I kind of just want to make sure everything’s okay.


She asked me all these questions, and she was like, Uh, yeah, you’re totally fine. Just take a prenatal. I really don’t know why you have this appointment. And I’m like, shouldn’t I be thinking ahead, just want to make sure everything’s good? I’m like, that’s it just take a prenatal? And then I found out like, two weeks later that I actually already was pregnant.


So apparently, yes, I was so healthy that it came easily to me. And that’s not to knock anyone who’s gone through a tough fertility journey, but I felt embarrassed. I felt actually kind of demeaned by my doctor, and I’m sure she’s wonderful, but I just was like, okay, so I don’t know, I guess I thought I was expecting a little more there. And I think I hear that from a lot of the moms I deal with and I kind of want us to chat about just clearly with all this spectrum of the fertility journey, getting pregnant, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Hormones are a huge part of that. Do you see nutrition affecting hormones?


Samantha Scruggs   [14:53]

Absolutely. I mean, 100% of hormones are proteins in your body. I think a lot of people don’t know, they think it’s this mystery chemical. It is a protein in your body that’s specifically made for either one or usually a lot more than one purpose.


So, hormone-like estrogen has a lot of different functions. And your body is making these proteins literally out of the foods and the micronutrients with the help of the micronutrients that you’re eating every single day. So, it just seems logical then if your micronutrient intake or even intake, in general, is not optimal, it will affect the production of your body’s hormones.


And so that logic is true in that we see when there are nutritional problems is that the production of hormones sometimes gets a little bit out of whack. And a lot of times again, it’s not to where it would put you in the hospital, or it would make you so sick that you can’t function, but it causes subclinical symptoms where your body is very smart, and it will do the functions that it needs to do the most. Right?


So it’ll keep you alive. It will keep you functioning at least at a level to where you can eat somewhat, you can sleep a little bit, maybe. I have a lot of people that have problems with sleep. But you won’t die. Maybe you’ll get sick more often. But it will show up in a variety of different ways in your life if your hormones are just a little bit off.


And a lot of times, it can be solved through optimizing nutrition or maybe not 100% solved, but improved, certainly, I won’t say that nutrition will cure anxiety or anything like that. But I will say that we do see symptoms go down. And I do attribute that not only to hormones, but also neurotransmitters.


So neurotransmitters are also chemicals in your body. But they’re more communication between your brain and the rest of your body. And in the nerve system. And neurotransmitters are so important for our mood and for our happiness and for the way that we feel about our babies even!  About our spouses. About each other.


And so your body is making neurotransmitters out of the foods that you eat, and also with the help of the bacteria in your gut. And so after you optimize nutrition, you see this improvement in your mood, and you’re like, wow!  It just all came together to where when I eat a certain way, I feel better, I just feel better. And I hear that all the time from clients. That’s how they phrase it. They’re like, I just feel better.


And it really is all these chemical reactions that are happening in your body from neurotransmitters and hormones and the gut bacteria. It’s like a well-oiled machine. It just makes everything run smoother.


Jacqueline Kincer  [17:50]

And I know, definitely for me, and how I want to help moms is I know about that gut-brain connection. And we’ve probably all heard at this point. 80%, or whatever number, the latest number of your immune system is in your gut.


And so you mentioned getting sick more often and things like that. So, I see a couple of things that I was just gonna just chat about with you that I see with moms. And we can maybe dive into that a little more. So a couple of issues are one I see low milk supply actually correlated with gut problems. And slow gut motility seems to correlate with low milk production.


And there aren’t a ton of studies on that. But a lot of times the foods or especially herbs that I’ll recommend for my clients, and it all just depends completely on them as an individual I know everybody’s like, what can I take? And I’m like, Well, tell me a little bit about yourself first. It’s not like y’all just go by Fenugreek and take it until you smell like maple syrup. Okay!


By the way, I don’t hate Fenugreek! But if I could just beat that myth. Because that’s not the powerhouse, or if everyone’s convinced it is. But you know, these herbs that I recommend often are very great for the liver. And they’re also great for improved gut motility.


And I see moms who take antibiotics, maybe it’s a case of mastitis may be, they got sick, maybe they had them in labor, but, taking them at some point while they’re lactating and their milk supply decreases, which is very interesting, right?


And doctors will swear up and down all day long. And pharmacists, oh, it doesn’t affect milk supply. Well, it did. It does. And we see it all the time. And so there are these things where even oversupply, and that’s no joke.


I know a lot of low-supply moms out there like I wish I had an oversupply. Do you wish you had plugged ducts and mastitis all the time?  Because it’s not fun and I’ve been there, I’ve had both journeys! But I see that correlated to an inflammatory diet. And that doesn’t mean that if you have a low milk supply, you should just go eat a bunch of inflammatory foods.


I literally had a client that made that interpretation. And I was like, no, no, no, no, please don’t go eating  Cheetos and talkies, and drinking soda all day, because it’s probably not going to help you make more milk. But I definitely see nutritional things affecting it. And I’d love to know, from your perspective, if you could recommend something to really any postpartum mom, but especially a breastfeeding mom, what are some basics in terms of their nutrition and diet? What are the key points, they want to make sure they’re hitting if it’s macros, it’s types of foods, anything that you would suggest there?


Samantha Scruggs   [20:43]

I think you touched on some good points here. And that the production of milk, in and of itself, is a huge hormonal thing that your body is doing through the use of hormones like prolactin, and I’m sure you know them a lot better than I do. But obviously prolactin.


Jacqueline Kincer  [20:59]

You’re doing great. You got this!


Samantha Scruggs   [21:02]

Oxytocin, that’s another one. But I think that’s more of a neurotransmitter. But anyway, I think that the production of milk it’s one of those things where it’s like, okay, if we optimize nutrition, then we will optimize the way that our body will make these hormones, and then milk production will improve.


But I think that there are a lot of outside factors that maybe we can’t control, like, Did you or did you not have Pitocin during labor?  That will affect your hormones and your milk production. And all that. Did you have a C section? There’s a lot of data that shows us that the c section really affects the way our breastfeeding journey will happen.


A lot of moms feel guilty for having C-sections. And that’s not it. It’s not to induce guilt, it’s more like we have to realize that that’s a factor and then come up with another plan for how we’re going to overcome that. We both got phones ringing, that’s nice!  What were we talking about?


Jacqueline Kincer  [22:05]

Well, we were talking about milk production, and especially birth, like you said, so cesarean section can affect and again, it’s like you said, No, it’s no judgment, but it just is something we need to consider, we have to factor that in so that we can create an appropriate plan for your success.


Samantha Scruggs   [22:21]

Exactly. And so with my first baby, just to bring a little personal stuff in this, because we talk a lot like scientists, this affects that and whatever. But we struggle with these things, personally, like I had Pitocin, with actually all three of my children. But with my first one, my milk didn’t come in as quickly as I would have liked.


And then to dealing with obviously, with your first child breastfeeding, this is another thing where it’s like, you have no clue what you’re doing. So you’re trying to figure this whole thing out. And then the lactation specialists of the hospital don’t necessarily, depending on who you get, but they don’t necessarily help with the situation, they gave me a nipple shield. And there was like, Oh, just keep feeding, and the baby was hungry. And then she was crying all the time. So I was like, What is going on? Like, what do I do with this baby that’s crying all the time? She’s hungry, or is it because she’s hungry? Or is it because she’s just a newborn? Baby, you know?


You’re trying to figure all this out. And so, at first, I did end up supplementing, and of course, whenever you supplement, that’s gonna affect your milk supply because part of the hormones that make milk is the baby actually sucking on your nipple in order to stimulate milk production.


So then we supplement you have to go back to like, Okay, now how do I deal with this whole milk production thing of getting enough milk into her? And then I  also had a, what do you call it? Like an overactive letdown to where my letdown is very strong. And so then, that was another thing that I was trying to deal with, with the baby.


And so, all these things are happening to me in real life. And so no amount of data and research is gonna help me with these day-to-day situations where it’s like, I’m just trying to figure out how to get this baby fed. And especially when you’re a dietitian, when you know all of the benefits of milk and breastfeeding, you have this guilt hanging over your head of like, well, what if I can’t breastfeed? Or what if this isn’t going to work out? What if I have all these problems?


Of course, that doesn’t help because anytime you’re feeling guilty, then you’re gonna have those hormones that are rushing through your body. So I get that it’s not always so clear where you can just be like, Oh, of course, just eat a healthy diet and do the right stuff. And then your milk production will be fine, and have a natural birth because that’s right for everyone.


So I know that’s kind of a long rant and a tangent to go off on. But I do think that there are things that we can do, and my mistake with my first baby is just to throw my hands up and be like, I just have to supplement what else can I do? I think with the right guidance from professionals like you, Jacqueline, and other lactation consultants, who really know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about, we can overcome some of these problems that are really common.


But I do think that making sure you’re getting the right nutrition can help to smooth out that hormonal process of milk production so that you’re more likely to have the right amount of milk supply. And then all this emerging research on the relationship between your gut bacteria and your milk production, that’s something we haven’t even really scratched the surface on. So it’s just the better you can eat, the more you can eat whole foods, the more you can eat foods that bacteria like to feed off of. I won’t say that there’s any particular macro plan that you should follow definitely, like, don’t follow a low carb diet when you’re breastfeeding. I think that’s my number one point of contention as people like I’m going to go keto and breastfeed. Don’t do that, please!



Jacqueline Kincer  [25:58]

Yeah, I try to remind people, especially since it was the beginning of the year recently, and they were like, What do you think about the whole 30? And I’m like, Well, you know, I think they’ve made some adaptations there. And you can make that work. But breast milk is mostly carbohydrates. So if you’re not getting those in, we might see your milk supply go down, and certainly your energy levels, and yeah, keto. It can.


I have seen it work for moms where breastfeeding is well established, they’re past that kind of fourth trimester time. But you know, yeah, not a great recommendation. And I love what you said too about just making sure that you are eating healthy and eating foods that feed your gut bacteria and those sorts of things. Because I like to just be real about things.


And for moms to have an app or a checklist of like, Okay, I gotta eat this many red veggies today, and green veggies and this and that, like, Okay, well, you probably can’t get every single thing that we can, but I mean, to try to get every single bit of nutrition that you need in a single day meal plan, you know, you’re living your life more than one day, right?


So let’s look at the course of a week and maybe just relax a little bit and not be so hung up on a diet or a particular meal plan and things like that. And if you’re a planner, and you plan ahead, that’s wonderful, great!


But I think moms already have a lot on their plates, and what I found really helpful for a lot of moms is, they’ll do the kind of meal train thing during pregnancy, and so they have their friends, bring them food and things, which is so wonderful, because you don’t really want to be grabbing for that bag of potato chips, although there are your carbs.


So maybe it’s helpful, but you also want to have something healthy that’s prepared that you don’t have to cook while you should be recovering from birth, you know, going through this process of new motherhood and all of that. So it sounds like you take you’re not a very strict kind of like, it must be XYZ. And it’s really refreshing to hear that!


Samantha Scruggs   [28:06]

If you’re craving potato chips, by all means, I love potato chips! I think about adding the foods that are going to give you the nutrient density that you need to make the right amount of breast milk versus don’t eat X, Y, or Z.


So a lot of people are just not eating enough produce. That’s the number one thing is eating enough produce. So instead of telling yourself, I shouldn’t eat potato chips, I shouldn’t eat whatever insert food here, eating more produce and using your intuition, sometimes our body is sending us cravings because of something that’s missing in our diet, and it’s trying to get that specific nutrient.


So if you’re craving oranges, it probably means that you need some sort of vitamin or mineral in oranges.  Maybe it’s vitamin C, maybe it’s one of the other vitamins or minerals, maybe it’s even the fluid,


I find that a lot of people are just not drinking enough. And it’s tough, you have a baby, and you’re trying to take care of this creature. And eat, do all the things that it needs. Change its diaper, and you may or may not have family around to help you. I don’t know what your personal situation is.  A lot of people don’t have as much support as they would like. And so, a lot of times, your needs go on the backburner.


It’s like, okay, I know I need to drink water, but where am I going to put this baby while I go fill up my water bottle? But it’s these little things that you can focus on them as much as possible. Put the baby down for a few minutes. And yes, maybe the baby is crying, I get that! They’re gonna cry sometimes, and it sucks, and it makes you anxious. But put the baby down and get some water and get some fluid and get some nutrition into your body. It’s not going to look perfect. It’s not going to look like it does in the magazines where you’re sitting down and eating mindfully for 30 minutes. That’s not going to happen when you have a newborn. But if you just take 5 to 10 minutes to put the baby down and focus on you, the baby will still be there in 10 minutes. And 10 minutes of focusing on you is not going to make the baby suffer in any sort of way.


Especially the moms that have colicky babies. I think this is really important for you guys to understand. Because I’ve had three babies, so I get it! You just want to hold that baby because if you put it down, then it will cry. Right? So my babies, all three of them, you put the baby down, the baby starts crying, you’re like, oh, man, I guess I have to hold the thing. 24/7


And I’m not trying to talk about it. Obviously, it’s your child, you love it, I’m sort of being a little crass here by calling the baby it and all that kind of stuff. But I think sometimes, you just have to look at it with a little bit of humor to it in order to not go completely crazy.


Jacqueline Kincer  [30:53]

You’re saying that. Also, yes, babies are creatures, sometimes really screechy ones! My first, he was very colicky, so I can relate. And I held him all the time. And eventually found humor in it. But I cannot tell you how many times I tried to eat, and I dropped food on his head, like hot food. Don’t do that!


I could have just put him down and let him cry for five minutes while I got some food in my body. And I yeah, I mean, I remember that and just feeling like, oh my gosh, he’s crying. He needs me. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. And I actually seriously considered, and now I look back, I’m like that would have been a great investment. One of those little Camelback backpacks that you wear with the little straw that comes around your shoulder. That is probably something you moms should have in the toolbox so they can drink enough.


But that always comes to mind because I remember, and I think a lot of moms go through this. In the early days of breastfeeding, you sit down, you breastfeed, and all of a sudden, you’re overwhelmed with thirst. And you’re like, oh my gosh, my mouth just dried up. It’s like the milk came out. And it took all the water with it. And it’s not that drinking tons of water will make you make more milk or anything. That’s definitely a misconception, but you want to drink enough that you’re not experiencing that deep thirst.


And there are also moms too, who sit down to nurse, and they immediately feel hungry. And yeah, well would be great for you to have planned ahead and got your snack out. That’s just not realistic most of the time. So I love that you’re saying that. And I don’t think you’re being crass at all. And I love the idea of humor, finding humor in it because I think there are some memes on the internet about moms breastfeeding and dropping food on their babies and things because it is a real thing that happens.


And I love that you’re also basically giving mom’s permission. The permission that Yeah, your baby, As you said, they’ll still be there in 10 minutes, right? They’ll still have a need that you can meet 10 minutes from now. And are you really going to meet it now? Or are you just going to kind of keep it at bay and keep kind of pushing it off? And you know, it’s okay, right? It’s okay.


It’s okay to just take care of yourself. I think moms need to hear that more often. Yeah, and it is. And, you know, it’s so important to remember that!


Samantha Scruggs   [33:17]

You’re doing fine. You’re not neglecting your child! I’d say probably 95% of the people that I talked to are not neglectful parents, they just have that overwhelming sense of guilt. Like if I put the baby down to take care of my needs for 10 minutes, I’m neglecting them.


And I think that you have to remember that your needs do, they do matter. And they are important if you continue to not meet your needs for the sake of the baby. And that’s gonna affect your mental health and thus your parenting overall long term.


So I think it’s one of those cliche things that we all talk about, and we say silly cliche things like put your oxygen mask on first. I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times. But the bottom line is cliches are true. And that’s why they’re cliche because people say them over and over again because they’re true.


So, take care of yourself, Mom. I get it, it’s hard, you have this small human that needs you, but you have needs too, and you can’t ignore them. So I think a lot of nutrition is just following your intuition and meeting your own needs.


Jacqueline Kincer  [34:33]

That’s really wonderful and such a great message. And it’s something I’ve been talking about a lot lately on the podcast, just elsewhere about following your intuition. And you kind of mentioned that about halfway through as well about just tuning into your body and if you have a craving that might be a sign that you need something and trying to deny that, maybe you do need to eat that maybe there’s an investigation


I know, it’s definitely talked about during pregnancy, but not so much postpartum. I craved pickles and ice cream when I was pregnant and already know, well, there’s a lot of micronutrients and pickles in the brine of pickles and things like that.


And so, there’s a reason why you’re craving those funny things or having food aversions. There’s all these. There’s the brewer diet, and there are a lot of different philosophies for pregnancy nutrition, but I don’t ever really see particular philosophies on postpartum nutrition. And it just seemed kind of like it’s something that’s put on the backburner. So I’m really glad that we could have this conversation.


And what I wanted to ask you, too, was, is there one thing that you would want our listeners to take away from hearing from you today? What’s one piece of advice that maybe you wish you had or that you would love to just get out there? A message, something that you really feel should be shared?


Samantha Scruggs   [36:08]

I’m coming back to following your intuition because I could give you any sort of small tip or piece of advice, or whatever the case may be. So I could say something like, make sure you eat nuts because they’re really nutrient-dense.


But say your baby has a random reaction to nuts. And every time you eat nuts, and then you breastfeed,  you notice your baby doesn’t feel well, that’s maybe your intuition that’s speaking and telling you maybe that’s not the best thing to do. So I think I could give you a million pieces of advice, like the ice cream thing, a lot of women do crave ice cream because it is rich in calcium, it’s got protein, and it’s got a good amount of carbohydrates. And so, it is sometimes exactly what your body needs at that time.


But then, for other women, it maybe is a little bit too high in sugar if they have some hormonal disturbances, whatever the case may be. So definitely talk to a professional, and that always helps. We have a little bit of perspective, whether it’s a lactation consultant, a registered dietician, or any sort of health professional, we have a little bit of perspective because we know the science behind it, but nothing beats your own intuition for your own body.


We know the science, but you know, your body and your body are trying to tell you stuff and give you messages through your daily experience. And sometimes those messages are subtle, and they’re not blaring. Your baby maybe does not have anaphylaxis, not switch or be a severe allergic reaction. But maybe it’s like you just noticed they’re a little more colicky when you eat a certain thing, and that’s your body, and your mother’s intuition is so important. So don’t ever let any health professional tell you you need to eat this exact certain way that is 100% science-based.


We have suggestions, we have ideas, but at the end of the day, it’s your body. And you’re the one living in it. And you’re the one who knows what you and your baby need more than anybody!


Jacqueline Kincer  [38:19]

Because I feel like a really great clinician that does any kind of the workaround similar things to what we do, or what we do, is really someone who’s going to help someone interpret what their body’s telling them. We’re like, we might be the decoders like, Okay, you’re having this experience. And then, we put the data together. And we’re like, well, that could mean this, right? And then it’s just trial and error, too.


So we might suggest something, does that help, does it not? And there are a little bit of follow-up and things that happen there. But a really good practitioner is going to take that approach with their client or their patient instead of just forcing something on you.


I will never forget, I had this OB on a little bit of a tangent, but I fired him, and I got myself one that would listen to me. But he was like, Oh, this new study came out. And it said that you should take an aspirin every day to prevent preeclampsia. And I was like, Okay, interesting. You know, I’m actually really healthy. And, you know, from what I understand, I don’t have any risk factors for that right now. So, there might be some potential side effects. Should I take that? He’s like, Yes, everyone in my practice must take an aspirin every day. And I kept coming back for appointments. And he was like, Are you taking the aspirin? I’m like, No, and he’s like, I told you to take it. I was like, I don’t feel comfortable taking it. And so finally, after I think it was, I don’t know a couple of months of seeing him, I was like, Alright, peace out because you’re not listening to me. And I’m really glad I didn’t because that was one study that came out. More studies have come out, and of course, there are risks, and then it doesn’t always prevent it.


And so, there were actually nutritional ways. Funny enough to prevent that, but it is so important that we don’t just take a one size fits all approach. I love that you brought that message home. And you know, you are just chock full of information and guidance. And I think you and I have very similar philosophies where we really just want to help people get to the root of things that are going on.


So if anyone who’s listening to this podcast wants to get in touch with you, follow you, or learn more, where can they find you? Where can they reach you?


Samantha Scruggs   [40:24]

Well, online with all my anxiety stuff, I go by Samantha Li, R D. So that’s le IG H. So you can find me on Facebook, if you have anxiety, I would go over there and watch some of my videos. If you want nutrition counseling, my nutrition practice is called nutrition to fruition. And we do accept appointments from people all over the world in the country. And so you can schedule appointment nutrition to, or just Google nutrition to fruition.


Jacqueline Kincer  [40:54]

And we’ll link that up in the show notes. So everybody will have that access.


Samantha Scruggs   [40:58]

Thank you.


Jacqueline Kincer  [40:59]

Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much, Samantha, this has been such excellent information.


Jacqueline Kincer  [41:05]

I really feel like we got so much going on in this episode that’s really going to help these moms. And I really appreciate you being here. I learned something, Believe it or not! It didn’t really register. I’m sure you’ve read it in a textbook. But you just reminded me or taught me again that hormones are proteins. I learned a lot from you today. So thank you so much for that.


Samantha Scruggs   [41:26]

Thank you for having me, Jacqueline.


Jacqueline Kincer  [41:28]

Wow, I had so many amazing takeaways from what Samantha had to say. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have her back on a future episode because I got some ideas of other questions I wanted to ask her that we just didn’t have time for. But she is a wonderful soul. I’ve known her for quite some time. We kind of work in similar circles in health and in business and things. And so, I would just love for you to go follow her and check her out on Facebook. She’s got some wonderful videos and content there.


And if you’re a need, like me, she also does video appointments, so you don’t have to live anywhere, in particular, to work with her for the most part. She’s really, really amazing. And I will say she brings a fresh perspective, especially as a mom of three children, a mom who has breastfed, and she understands that journey, which is something that most registered dietitians. That’s really not part of their normal education. So I love Samantha! I hope you got so much out of this episode.


If you did, follow her on Facebook, send her a message, and send her a little love note to let her know how this information impacted you and helped you along your breastfeeding journey. Until next time, I’ll catch you on the next episode.

In today’s episode, Samantha Scruggs, RD joins us to talk about all things diet & nutrition for the breastfeeding mom. She’s a devoted mom of 3 children,  Registered Dietician and owner of Nutrition to Fruition, focusing on diet and anxiety. We get into a deep discussion of how your diet affects breastfeeding.

If you enjoy this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram Stories and tag me @holisticlactation

I’ve got a special gift for all my listeners and it’s 38 powerful breastfeeding affirmations to support you on your breastfeeding journey, so go get that free audio now at

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How your diet affects your hormones and mood
  • What kind of diet advice you should avoid while breastfeeding
  • Tips and tricks for staying well nourished while taking care of your baby
  • Why most diet advice is flawed and potentially harmful