What you eat during the breastfeeding period will have a significant impact on your health as well as the baby’s health. There is no particular diet set for breastfeeding mothers. You only need to ensure that you consume foods with all essential nutrients in the right amounts. You also have to consume more calories than what you usually consume when you are not breastfeeding, as some calories will be used to manufacture breast milk. If you intend to lose weight, you may avoid consuming the extra calories.
Calcium, iron, vitamins A and D, and potassium are some of the nutrients that are particularly recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Health experts recommend getting the nutrients you need from a wide variety of foods to expose the baby to many different tastes. The baby will thus be more receptive to the solid foods that you will introduce after the first six months. Below are some of the specific foods that experts recommend you consume while breastfeeding.
Different types of fruits contain different nutrients, with a majority of them having many of the essential nutrients. The fibre in fruits can relieve constipation, a problem that many mothers usually experience after delivery. An average of two cups of fruits, consisting of a variety of fruits, should be sufficient per day. Particular fruits that are highly recommended. Some fruits recommended for breastfeeding mothers include cantaloupes, bananas, honeydew melon, mangoes, oranges, prunes, apricots, and grapefruits, among others.
A breastfeeding mother should eat a minimum of three cups of vegetables each day. In case you use formula alongside breast milk, you can do just fine with two and a half cups of vegetables per day. Vegetables are usually rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which replenish the nutrients in the body that are needed for the formation of milk. The particular vegetables that come highly recommended because of their vitamin and potassium content include spinach, carrots, kale, pumpkin, and tomatoes, among many others.
Your diet, as a breastfeeding mother, should include whole grains like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. You should consume an average of eight ounces of grains per day if you are breastfeeding exclusively, or six ounces if you supplement with formulas. You can also consume fortified cereals instead, as they provide additional nutrients. Make sure that the cereals you consume have no added sugar.
About 40 grams of proteins per day is usually enough to cater to the nutritional needs of the body. While breastfeeding, however, you should up your intake to about 65 grams. This amount should be spread across all the meals you take in a day. The recommended protein sources include peas, beans, nuts, pork, lean beef, crab, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout, and herring, among others. Some kinds of seafood are the most preferred as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost the healthy development of the baby’s brain. Fishes that are high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, and albacore tuna, should be avoided.
You should be able to get all the needed nutrients by eating a well-balanced diet. However, there are cases where you may not be in a position to meet your nutritional demands, which are usually higher when breastfeeding. In such a case, you may need to use dietary supplements. Make sure you consult a health expert before you start using supplements.