The World of Pregnancy

Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers: Basic Rules To Follow!

A diet for breastfeeding mothers to lose weight isn`t very different than the one recommended during pregnancy except for a few foods that you`ll need to avoid.

Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers

Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers: Basic Rules to Follow!

A lactating mother produces around 650 – 750 ml of milk per day, containing 330 mg of calcium per liter. This requires an extra energy consumption of at least 500 calories per day. That`s why, a well balanced diet is just as important for you as it`s for your baby.

The quality of the milk produced by the breasts of the fresh mother is affected only in extreme cases of malnutrition or the excessive consumption of a certain food. The food ingested by the breastfeeding mother not only meets her nutritional necessities, which are high in the postnatal period, but allows her to produce milk as well.

A woman who doesn`t eat properly can still have a healthy child, but it may affect her health. If you have nutritional deficiencies, your body will make milk production the first priority, while the mother`s needs will suffer. It`s just like during pregnancy, when the nutritional necessities of the baby were the first ones being satisfied. In fact, the baby (who know weighs a few kg) will get around 1,000 calories per day from the mother`s milk. – Additional info!

What does it mean to eat properly during breastfeeding? We can compare a breastfeeding mother with an athlete participating in the marathon, but the difference is the duration of the race: 24h for the mother vs. only 4h for the athlete.

  • Increase the consumption of water to 1l per day, so that you`ll drink 2.5 – 3l on a daily basis.
  • Increase the calorie intake to 2,500 calories per day. You can even eat more if you plan to breastfeed for a longer period than 3 months.
  • Split the calorie consumption over 5 meals throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack.
  • In some cases, breastfed babies might develop food allergies to certain foods consumed by the mother. One of the most common signs is a green or blood-specked stool.
  • Among the most common foods which may cause allergies are eggs, dairy items, wheat and soy products.
  • Removing the foods that you suspect they caused allergies should be done carefully. You should expect for the allergy problems to be solved in 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Stay away from smoke! Nicotine reaches the baby directly through breast milk. If you cannot abstain, let at least 1 hour pass after your last cigarette.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol passes through breast milk in less than 1 hour, and if the baby ingests a larger amount, it may slow down his development.
  • Be careful of pollutants, like nicotine, insecticides and pesticides.
  • Consume foods that contain vitamin B9 (folic acid). Birth control pills accentuate the folic acid deficiency and may contribute to the deficiency of vitamin B6.
  • Take zinc supplements. According to a recent study, pregnant women and the ones still breastfeeding have zinc deficiencies. They should consume 15 – 20 mg of zinc per day. Some foods where zinc can be found are eggs, oats and whole flour.
  • Consume 1,200mg of calcium per day. A balanced diet offers only 800 to 1,000mg of calcium per day. Because breastfeeding mothers need more calcium, they are advised to take calcium supplements. – Read more!
  • Don`t hurry to take supplements with vitamin A. In general, people talk of a surplus of vitamin A in the breastfeeding mother`s diet, because the daily needs increase from 1,000mg to 1,300mg. Who eats enough carrots, vegetables, butter and meat, will absorb enough vitamin A.

A Varied Diet Is Essential

The diet of a breastfeeding mother is somehow different from the one of a pregnant woman, but not that much. What is extremely important to remember is that animal proteins shouldn`t miss from the diet (meat, eggs, fish), which are also an excellent source of iron.

It should also be remembered that during period, the need for iron is as high as during pregnancy because the little one turns to the mother`s reserves to “design” his own blood supply.

Vegetarian mothers, or the ones with problems with foods from animal sources, may consume vegetables (dried vegetables, soybeans) and cereals in as complete formulas as possible.

A special place has fresh vegetables and fruits, just as foods that contain essential fatty acids, important for the development of the baby`s brain.

Milk Products Are Also Very Important

Just like during pregnancy, the amount of milk and milk products needs to remain just as high, because they are rich in proteins. Also, they are important in the development and functioning of the baby`s muscles and have the highest content of calcium, an indispensable mineral in maintaining the health of the mother`s and baby`s skeleton.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

There are a few foods that are recommended to avoid because it`s believed they create abdominal discomforts (baby colic to be more exact). For now you can exclude from your diet:

  • Spicy foods;
  • Cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower (they offer a sensation of bloating);
  • Onions, leeks, beans, lentils or peas (may offer sensations of bloating);
  • Pickles;
  • Caffeine or chocolate will make the infant unsettle and it may be more difficult to put him to sleep;
  • Alcohol is to be avoided completely during breastfeeding;
  • Some specialists recommend for fresh fruits to be avoided and instead to be served as compotes;
  • As a general rule, anything that may cause you a discomfort will have the same effect to your baby.

If you have quit smoking during pregnancy, don`t start during breastfeeding because this may harm the infant. While you breastfeed your baby, try to avoid anything toxic because it will inevitably be secreted in the milk and will then reach the baby.

In rare occasions some foods included in the diet may negatively affect the child causing him diarrhea, restlessness or a rash. In case the appearance of any of these unpleasant situations and if you know what may have caused it, try to avoid that particular food during the entire breastfeeding period.

What Foods Are Recommended?

You are following the proper nutrition for breastfeeding when you include on your daily diet foods from all nutritional groups:

  • Foods rich in proteins (eggs, dairy, meat), calcium and iron;
  • Quality vegetal oils;
  • Carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and cereals);
  • Vitamins A and B are essential during breastfeeding

Most experts agree that diets rich in fatty meat, large portions of cheese, fried foods, cookies, foods highly processed, full of preservatives aren`t healthy for anyone. Try to avoid them as much as possible, especially when you are breastfeeding because then they won`t affect only you, but also your baby.

Image courtesy of BabyCenter.com
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