World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week

Breastmilk is a biologically active living fluid. It contains easily digestible nutrients for health and growth and has the ability to adapt as the infant grows. Human milk contains hundreds to thousands of distinct bioactive molecules, the role of which is to protect against infection and inflammation, contribute to immune maturation, contribute to organ development and ensure healthy microbial colonisation. The longer-term benefits of breastfeeding include reduced incidence of: insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, lymphoma, chrons disease, obesity, necrotising enterocolitis, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections and otitis media (middle ear infection), and most recently has been shown to positively impact the development of the infants gut microbiome.

Breastmilk & Nutritional Composition

Breastmilk is composed of 80% water. It contains ~6-7g/100ml of carbohydrates, predominately lactose & oligosaccharides. Breastmilk contains 0.9g/100ml of protein, whereby 40% is casein and 60% is whey protein. Roughly 30-55% of energy in breastmilk comes from fat – important for brain and eye development and essential for baby’s growth.

The hind milk contains a greater amount of fat (compared to the fore milk) and this is influenced by the mother’s diet. Breastmilk also contains anti-inflammatory agents, including antioxidants and enzymes, lysozyme; an enzyme which has a non-specific antimicrobial factor and cellular components, which includes macrophages, leukocytes and lymphocytes – all which play a role in immune defence.

Colostrum & Nutritional Composition

Colostrum is the milk secreted in the early days after birth. Colostrum is low in volume and energy but higher in protein. It contains concentrated anti-infective properties and is strongly encouraged in the early days after birth due to the IgA levels- an important antibody for immune function. Specifically, colostrum contains 365mg/100ml of IgA, compared to 140mg in mature milk.

How is milk produced?

Milk is produced by the release of prolactin in response to the baby sucking and also by oxytocin, in response to visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli. Milk production is influenced by the frequency, intensity and duration of suckling in the early post-partum period. When the infant is born, it has certain reflexes, such as rooting, sucking and swallowing to also assist milk production.

Lactation Nutritional Requirements

Except for a few components, the maternal diet does not influence the composition of breastmilk. Below is a breakdown of the nutritional needs for a lactating mother:


  • Breastfeeding mothers require an additional 2,000–2,100 kJ/day
  • 2,000kJ = a sandwich and a glass of milk


  • An extra ~20g/day of protein is required for lactation
  • 16g = 2 eggs and 2tbsp of Greek yoghurt


  • Essential fatty acid, Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) & Linoleic acid needs increase during lactation.
  • Diets containing <20% of energy from fat are not recommended for lactating mothers as it is likely to affect the fat content of breast milk


Fibre – the adequate intake for fibre increases from 25g/day to 30g/day.  This is based on the estimated increased in additional energy needs of ~20% when lactating

Water – increases to ~3.5L/day based on the fact that fluids are lost in breastmilk production and therefore fluid needs to be replaced

Other micronutrient needs that increase due to the additional cost of energy production of breastmilk include Zinc, Iodine, Iron, Thiamine, Niacin, B12, Folate, B6, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin A.

Support services for breastfeeding mothers:

1. Australian Breastfeeding Association https://www.breastfeeding.asn….

2. Lactation consultants…

3. Breastfeeding helpline 1800 mum2mum (1800 686 2 686)

4. Dietitian’s Association of Australia

Emma Caldwell
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Fitwise Physiotherapy
Consulting at our Armadale and East Melbourne rooms

To make a booking with Emma, click ‘Make a Booking’ in the top right-hand corner of this page and follow the prompts. You can also call our friendly team on 9822 4999 (Armadale) or 9486 0512 (East Melbourne), or email us on [email protected]



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Our Values

Our values are the basis of everything we do at Fitwise.

Excellence, Respect, Innovation and Fun – For our clients, for our team and for ourselves.

This is evident with the service we provide, the environment in which we provide it, the way in which we operate as a team and how we care for and value our clients, referral partners and ourselves; we live the Fitwise values every day.

Our culture is one where everyone feels supported, respected and safe. Our clients and our team, experience a leading-edge health environment where we remember to have fun along the way.

Our Story

In 2004, Gen McGlashan and Libby Oldfield founded Fitwise Physiotherapy. They first met in 1994.  Libby was Gen’s physio when she had her first child. Gen then worked for Libby for 10 years in Libby’s previous business, located at the Epworth Freemasons Maternity Unit in East Melbourne. They have been a team working together for a very long time!!

Libby and Gen have always had a passion for empowering women, by helping provide accurate evidence based information and treatment to help women live their best lives. Excellence in all that they do, practising and operating in an innovative way has always been their core. Fitwise was the first multi-practitioner practice providing Women’s Health physiotherapy consultations, exercise classes and clinical pilates in Melbourne.

Gen and Libby

In February 2005 Gen and Libby moved their one room practice to Albert St East Melbourne. They had expanded to 2 treatment rooms, an exercise studio and a pilates studio with a small team of physiotherapists and one receptionist. This was exciting as they wanted to be able to help more people and to grow their team – enabling their other passion: teaching and mentoring clinicians who also wanted to work within the Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health arena.

5 years later, they expanded their East Melbourne clinic and in 2015 opened their second clinic in Armadale.

Remedial Massage, Myotherapy and Dietetics have been an exciting addition in recent years, with Podiatry and Exercise Physiology being added in 2022.

Fitwise Physiotherapy | Armadale

The Fitwise team has now grown to include 18 amazing practitioners and 12 wonderful administrative team members and is still growing!

Libby and Gen have always loved providing a holistic service, treating a variety of conditions in consultations and providing exercise appropriate for different life stages. The community of clients that are part of the Fitwise family, (some who have been part of the journey from the very beginning – over 17 years ago), are the biggest reason they do what they do. For Gen and Libby, it is a privilege to be part of these wonderful people’s lives.