Here are some healthy diet tips for breastfeeding mothers.
The best food for breastfeeding mom has to provide adequate nutrition for the baby and also herself. A nursing mother requires at least 500 additional calories, which should be derived from a nutritious intake of food.
To help the moms out there decide on what and how much to eat while nursing their babies, here are some important diet tips for breastfeeding mothers:
Follow doctor’s recommendations
Most doctors prescribe a continuation of the nutritious pre-natal diet plan that is rich in calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals for the healthy development of the baby.
Some things to take note of:
- One (1) gram of protein should be consumed for every pound of the mother’s weight.
- Calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheeses and yogurt should also be encouraged.
- You need to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains for you and your baby’s optimum health.
- Additional folic acid and zinc supplements can also be taken upon your doctor’s recommendation.
- Your diet should also include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids because they contain DHA, which the baby needs for brain development. This is found in fish and fish supplements, various kinds of nuts and seeds.
- A word of caution: Don’t rush to buy those Vitamin A supplements just because everybody is recommending them. Although your daily need for Vitamin A increases from 1000 milligrams to 1300 milligrams, most of it can be sourced naturally from raw vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, dairy products, leafy green vegetables and meat products.
Dehydration can lead to decreased milk supply. If you noticed, your breastmilk appears watery and you feel thirstier when you are breastfeeding. This is because a large part of breastmilk is made up of water.
You should aim to increase your consumption of water by adding an extra 2 quarts of water per day. Water can also be consumed in the form of fruits, milk, juices, vegetables, soups – all of which have good water content.
While nursing, you should be consuming nutritious food for 2 people. So, you have to increase your consumption to approximately 2500 calories a day, which you can spread out over 5 meals – breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and another snack during the evening.
Use your snack time to take in water, fruits and low fat dairy products. Remember that the quantity of milk you produce is directly dependent on the amount of food and beverages that you consume.
Foods and substances to avoid
There are certain substances that you should stay away from such as caffeine and alcohol, which can irritate your baby and even seriously affect his/her development. All these ingredients pass through the mother’s milk to the baby.
Remember, too, that smoking can induce vomiting, heart rate increase, restlessness and diarrhea in your baby, while alcohol can retard your baby’s growth if consumed in large quantities.
Some doctors permit occasional sips of wine or beer, preferably after a feeding session or 2-3 hours before the baby is to be fed. Many doctors also advise avoiding consumption of fish with high mercury levels, as well as certain herbs and supplements.
To be on the safe side, always check with your doctor regarding specific foods and substances that you should avoid.
Foods that can irritate your baby
There are many foods that are said to irritate babies such as chocolates, 'soft' or carbonated drinks, spices, chili, garlic and gassy foods such as cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and citrus fruits. However, there is no universal rule regarding this fact.
The thing is, babies react differently to different foods. If you find your baby uncharacteristically irritated or disturbed at any time, try to recall what you have eaten in the past 24 hours.
If you suspect any food to be the cause of your baby’s irritation, you can try eliminating it from your diet for a while. Carefully observe and monitor your child for any changes.
Ultimately, remember that what you eat as a breastfeeding mom is important, not just to you but to your baby as well.
What diet tips for breastfeeding moms can you share with us? Let us know by leaving a comment!