What You Need to Know About a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
I bet you are here because you want to know about a healthy breastfeeding diet, right?
So stick around till the end of this post. Because I will be sharing some helpful tips about a healthy breastfeeding diet.
In this article, you will learn the following:
- The main food groups for a healthy breastfeeding diet.
- Nutrients you need while breastfeeding.
- The best foods to eat when breastfeeding.
- The best foods to eat to increase milk production.
- And what foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
The optimal diet for a breastfeeding woman is simply the healthiest diet for all people.
Most of us have daily eating habits that are not “ideal”, but still good enough to provide us with enough nutrients.
A woman who is not strict about her diet can still successfully breastfeed. However, it is important to keep in mind that good nutrition helps the mother to stay healthy.
Around the world, the overwhelming majority of breastfeeding women are far from having a “perfect” diet, at least at times.
The thought of an “ideal” diet varies according to family, culture, economic situation, religion, and season.
Yet almost always, around the world and at different times, even when food is lacking, mothers produce milk that helps their babies grow well.
In a few words:
A healthy breastfeeding diet, for a nursing mother as for most other people, is defined by quality, balance, and naturalness.
So what are the main food groups that should be included in a healthy breastfeeding diet?
Let’s take a look below.
Main Food Groups for a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
1- Fresh vegetables and fruits (preferably seasonal) of all types, raw or cooked;
2- Different cereals (wheat, rice, corn, barley, millet), preferably whole, in various forms: whole or crushed seeds, semolina, flour,
3- Animal proteins (dairy products, eggs, meat, fish – especially small fish, for good fats without too many pollutants) and/or vegetable (lentils, beans, soy);
4- Fats in small quantities, preferably vegetable oils cold-pressed and unheated.
A balanced breastfeeding diet consists of eating different foods from each of these groups and consuming them in different forms:
- Choosing different varieties of fruits and vegetables, preparing foods in different ways.
- Certain vitamins and proteins are better absorbed in the presence of other vitamins or certain minerals. For example, iron is better absorbed in the presence of vitamin C.
Curious about what nutrients you need for a healthy breastfeeding diet? Then let’s take a look below.
What Nutrients Do I Need While Breastfeeding
According to the CDC:
“An additional 450 to 500 kilocalories (kcal) of healthyexternal icon food calories per day is recommended for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers.”
Sounds a lot at first, it’s not at all. In addition to drinking enough, a balanced diet is important because your baby also eats.
In addition to vitamin C, vegetables also contain folic acid, potassium, and magnesium, which are required for bone building and muscle activity.
Fruit contains secondary plant substances and minerals, cereals replenish the vitamin B (B1, B2, B6, B12) stores and contain fiber that regulates digestion and has a positive effect on the metabolism.
Want to learn more about the best foods to eat while breastfeeding? Then let’s take a look below.
What Are The Best Foods to Eat for a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
What tastes delicious to you can mean flatulence, sore bottom, or even too little breast milk for the baby.
Therefore, you should not simply feast on your diet while breastfeeding, otherwise, a nursing night may not be followed by a holy night.
There are two things that babies do only in their first months of life: drinking and sleeping.
But how calm and how long sleep will be for the little ones, and thus also the rest for mom, also depends on whether they tolerate breastfeeding well.
And that has a lot of different factors and causes. First and foremost, you can try out all the food and see how your sunshine reacts to it.
Nevertheless, especially at the beginning, there is a lot of questions about what can and maybe on the meal plan.
We bring to the topic “What is a healthy breastfeeding diet or what are the best foods to eat when breastfeeding?” some light in the dark corner …
Let’s take a look.
1- Balanced diet
The most important thing is that the diet of the nursing mother is mixed and balanced and considers the rules of the nutritional pyramid.
If this is not followed, the woman’s body may have to draw on its own reserves to produce milk.
And this may harm her health or leave her too tired to be able to attend to all the tasks that raising newborn demands.
2- Nuts and dried fruits
The nuts and dried fruits during lactation provide a good variety of nutrients that compensate for the physical effort involved in breastfeeding and the rest of the care required by the newborn.
- raisins, figs, and prunes, provide important doses of protein, iron, and folic acid.
And if they correspond with the winter season, they also contribute to reducing the risk of colds and other discomforts of this season.
3- Healthy fats
The fats that the mother consumes are one of the few nutrients that are transferred almost directly to breast milk.
Because of that, it is important to avoid saturated fats and, instead, give preference to foods rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats:
- olive oil,
- fatty fish -such as salmon
- and nuts.
Furthermore, health authorities recommend avoiding fish with high levels of mercury, such as tuna, shark, or swordfish.
4- Drink water
During lactation, the body requires a little more hydration, so drinking water is important.
A sign of good hydration is ranging from lemonade-colored to a brighter shade like light beer colored urine.
On the other hand, it is recommended to limit the consumption of products with caffeine: no more than morning coffee.
The most important rule is: Stay hydrated, preferably with every breastfeeding meal, because that stimulates milk production.
You have the choice of water, juice with significantly more water, or unsweetened herbal tea.
5- Greenlight on the feeding light for a healthy breastfeeding diet
Milk and digestive stimulant and not flatulent: Cheers to these foods:
- Vegetables (artichokes, eggplants, avocado, fennel, carrots, potatoes, chard, lettuce, celery, bean sprouts, turnips, zucchini)
- Fruits (apples, apricots, raspberries, cherries, melons, grapes, dried fruits)
- Whole grain cereals (oats, semolina, millet, barley, pasta, whole grain bread, rice)
Are you worried if you’re not producing enough breast milk? Keep on reading for more tips.
Best Foods to Increase Milk Production
Many mothers are concerned about the idea of not producing enough milk. These eight foods can help increase breast milk production and foods that give the milk a special flavor:
Oatmeal has turned out to be a perfect food for maintaining the production of breast milk. It can be consumed with milk or yogurt, and, in addition, it turns out to be an ideal breakfast to start the day.
Garlic contains galactagogue and this helps stimulate lactation. It is not necessary to eat garlic directly, but it can be added to meals. Garlic has been used by nursing mothers to help boost milk for decades.
3- Carrots and beets
Both carrots and beets contain beta-carotene, are a healthy source of carbohydrates, and help increase potassium levels. Beta-carotene is also beneficial for the growth of the newborn.
These foods promote milk production and can help mom lose some weight after pregnancy if she eats them between meals (instead of buns, sweets, etc.)
Fennel seeds also help increase milk production. This plant acts as a galactagogue, which is a substance that helps a woman’s body make more milk.
In addition, these seeds help digestion and prevent colic in the infant.
Nuts increase breast milk production and are high in antioxidants.
Ginger is another food that helps boost breast milk. It can be added to many recipes or prepare a mixture with the root (also recommended for morning sickness).
Cumin seeds also stimulate the production of breast milk. In addition, they improve digestion and relieve constipation, heartburn, and bloating. They are also an important source of iron.
Cinnamon, in addition to increasing milk production, gives it a better flavor. It can be added to a glass of milk.
Want to learn more about what foods to avoid while breastfeeding? Then let’s take a look below.
What Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
While breastfeeding, it is important to keep in mind that there are prevented foods, just like during pregnancy.
1- Blue Fish
Although you can consume small bluefish, such as mackerel or sardines, it is important to avoid large bluefish at this stage. Emperor or bluefin tuna are some examples.
The consumption of large fish, such as tuna or swordfish, should be limited to no more than one serving per week.
These may contain high levels of mercury that can affect the baby’s development.
According to the CDC: “Breastfeeding mothers should minimize exposure to mercury in their diets, at home, and at work.”
Drinks with caffeine are also not recommended during breastfeeding or, at least, your consumption should be reduced since they can keep your baby awake.
Alcohol is one of those prohibited beverages both during lactation and pregnancy.
Even though alcohol does not pass into the baby through breast milk, it can have a different smell and taste and affect the baby’s sleep.
4- Avoid contaminants
Even if you try to stay away from them, often the food you eat includes various contaminants (especially pesticides and insecticides) that have been used in their production.
These substances could affect breast milk and the child’s health.
To reduce its impact, it is suggested to increase the variety of what is eaten, choose seasonal and nearby products.
Wash and peel fruits and vegetables whenever possible, in addition to removing the skin and fat from meat.
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Final Thoughts About a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
Hey momma! You’ve learned a lot today about a healthy breastfeeding diet!
You know the main food group for a healthy breastfeeding diet.
Nutrients you need while breastfeeding.
The best foods to eat when breastfeeding.
The best foods to eat to increase milk production.
And what foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Need more advice about breastfeeding? Please consult your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant near you.
As always, it is your health care provider who can best advise you on the care and nutrition of your child, and on the foods, you should add to the diet as your baby grows.
Do not forget to consult your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for any type of doubt or problem related to feeding during lactation.
Having a lactation consultant near you who observe and make recommendations can be helpful in any possible frustrating situation.
Lastly, if you want to learn more about breastfeeding without leaving at the comfort of your home. I highly recommend this online breastfeeding class provided by a certified lactation consultant.
Healthy Breastfeeding Diet Related Articles:
- Healthy Snacks for Breastfeeding Moms
- How to Increase Breastmilk Supply Fast
- Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms
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