Your diet and breast milk are closely intertwined, so what you put into your body on a daily basis can affect your breast milk – and your little one who’s nursing.
Human breast milk is the perfect nutrition source for an infant. It strikes a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, water and nutrients. It’s easily digested and absorbed, and its composition naturally changes as a baby’s developmental needs change.
If you’re not getting enough from your diet, then this can negatively affect the quality of your breast milk. It can also be bad for your own health.
To produce milk, the body requires extra calories. Certain foods and drinks may also influence the amount of milk that a woman produces.
Read on to discover some of the best foods to help lactation, along with some other tips to encourage a steady flow of breast milk.
While these tips may sound familiar to anyone who has tried to lose weight before, there are a number of additional considerations you’ll need to keep in mind while trying to lose weight and breastfeeding.
Many new moms wonder how breastfeeding will affect their diet. You probably don’t need to make any major changes to what you eat or drink when you’re nursing, though there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:
Try To Maintain A Well-balanced Diet
If you can, eat at least three full meals along with a variety of healthy foods and snacks each day. You may find that eating six smaller meals works better for you.
Check with a dietitian to make sure your diet contains the right amount of kilojoules and nutrients. This is especially important if you follow a vegan diet.
Routinely eating healthy foods throughout the day will maximize the little energy you probably have as a new mom. If you’re nursing, the quality of your breast milk stays pretty much the same no matter what you choose to eat.
Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and joints as well as healthy muscle and nerve activity. While it is found in some foods in the diet, the main source of vitamin D in New Zealand is sunlight.
Eat 8 to 12 Ounces Of Seafood Each Week
Fish and shellfish have healthy fats that are good for you and your baby. But some fish is high in mercury, a metal that can hurt your baby’s development. It’s a good idea to eat seafood that is high in healthy fats but lower in mercury.
To get the most bang for your protein buck, remember that a 3-ounce piece of meat or salmon contains a whopping 21 grams of protein, an 8-ounce container of yogurt has 11 grams, a half-cup of cooked beans has 8 grams and a cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
Although fish remains an excellent source of protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals for breastfeeding women, some care must be taken in deciding on the amount and types of seafood to consume.
Be Active While Breastfeeding
Being active has important benefits for both your body and mind. Try to get out for a walk with your baby as often as possible or put some music on and dance around the house with your baby. Get more tips here.
Most moms can safely lose up to 1.5 pounds per week or 6 pounds per month after the second month and not affect milk supply or baby’s well being.
Don’t try and lose a ton of weight at once. It’s not healthy, and if you do a crash diet, you’ll be at much higher risk of losing your breastmilk supply. Aim to lose no more than 1.5 pounds a week.
DON’T FORGET TO HYDRATE!
Breastfeeding moms need at least four extra glasses of water a day to maintain a healthy milk supply. Keep a reusable water bottle handy, and aim at drinking a full bottle during every nursing or pumping session. To change things up a bit, try adding berries, cucumber, or lemon to your water.
Are There Any Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding?
The good news is, apart from limiting how much oily fish you eat, there aren’t any specific foods to avoid when breastfeeding your baby. Caffeine and alcohol are also fine, within sensible limits
Every baby is different. Some moms may find that if they eat beans, cauliflower, or broccoli, their little ones get gassy or fussy while other babies can tolerate these foods just fine.
Excessive caffeine: One or two cups of coffee, tea or soda a day won’t affect your baby (and during those early, sleep-deprived months, it might be just what you need to keep going). More than that, however, may lead to both of you feeling jittery, irritable and sleepless.
There is no need to avoid any specific foods to prevent your baby from developing allergies. Speak with the doctor, midwife or dietitian if you suspect your baby is reacting to something in your diet.
Try to avoid anything super sugary or greasy. I know lots of people who eat too many calories (and most of them are sugar) that really struggle to lose weight while breastfeeding.