Blessed is the bosom, which has known the comforting sensations of a hungry mouth, pressed against it, and clinging onto it for the warm refuge of the sweet flowing satisfaction. Undeniably, breastfeeding is the best gift a mother can give to her child, and herself. However, it’s no mean feat to breastfeed a child. The stamina of a nursing mother can be compared best to a marathon runner. Therefore, a proper, balanced breastfeeding diet is critical for the health of both the mother and the child. Post childbirth, good nutrition, affects not only the quality of milk secreted, and hence the development and behavior pattern exhibited by the child, but also determines how quickly the mother’s body rebounds to pre-birth form. Doctors generally recommend that an extra 500 calories a day are enough for a breast-feeding mum. However, it is not the quantity of calories, but the quality of food that you take, that matters most. There are many reasons why a proper and well-balanced breastfeeding diet is essential for nursing mums. An appropriate diet ensures that the mother has enough energy, and is brimming with health to take adequate care of the baby. It also guarantees the baby its fair share of vital nutrients. For more information on a healthy breastfeeding, diet, for a healthy and happy motherhood, read more.
Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
- Eat plenty of fruits such as apples, berries, plums, oranges, peaches, and melons. Also, eat more of vegetables whether as juice, soup or in raw form.
- Add whole-grains such as whole-wheat bread, rye bread, brown rice, cereals and pulses, which are rich in fiber, to your diet because fibers are good for the bowels.
- Limit your intake of sugar, salt, fat, and high processed foods. Junk food will only give you calories not the energy.
- Starch containing foods like rice, potatoes, breads, etc., will give you the extra energy you need.
- Do not forget to include enough protein such as lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs, and pulses.
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt, which contain calcium and are useful sources of protein, are also beneficial.
- Water is a very important component of breast milk, so drink plenty of fluids.
- Ensure you drink at least 10-12 glasses of water daily.
- Also, drink lots of fruit and vegetable juices, lassi, buttermilk or coconut water.
Minerals And Vitamins
- Ensure that your diet contains adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins.
- Iron - available in meat, eggs, whole-grain breads, cereals, and wheat germ.
- Zinc - present in meats, eggs and whole grains.
- Magnesium - in whole grains, beans, and nuts.
- Vitamin D and vitamin E - available in wheat germ, nuts, many oils, and whole grains.
- Folic acid - present in asparagus, cabbage, corn, chickpeas, spinach, wheat, and orange juice.
Foods That Should Be Avoided
- Foods with additives and dyes, gas producing foods like broccoli, cabbage, beans, eggs, nuts, tomatoes, shellfish, chocolate, corn, strawberries, citrus fruits, onion, garlic, and some spices.
- Quit or at least limit the consumption of alcohol, as it reduces the secretion of milk. In fact, large quantities of alcohol in milk may even retard the baby’s growth.
- Heavy cigarette smoking may reduce milk production, and cause nausea, colicky symptoms, and a decrease in the vitamin C levels in the body.
- Similarly, caffeine might upset the baby’s stomach and make the baby irritable.
- Almost every drug or medicine makes its way into the baby’s body through the mother’s milk. So do not take any extra supplements of vitamins, herbs or over the counter drugs, without consulting your doctor first.
- Besides, contraceptives also affect the quantity of breast milk secretion, and may cause Vitamin B6 deficiency.