Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that important to follow a strict diet to make nutritious breast milk. The truth is that here’s no need to drastically change your menu and eat only particular products to produce the top-quality milk for your infant.
Your body makes sure the kid is getting the right nutrients at every step of its development. But there’s one problem. To make milk, your body burns up to 670 calories per day. That’s a lot. To stay healthy, you need to feed yourself with a nutrient-dense healthy menu. Getting a daily dose of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and healthy fats is important to maintain optimal energy levels. This article goes over the best food for breastfeeding mothers to eat. Let’s dive in.
The Best Breastfeeding Food
So, what is then the best food to eat while breastfeeding? Firstly, let’s point out that it’s important to remember to consume well-balanced meals. There’s so much to handle during the first months of having a baby that it’s easy to forget to prepare healthy food for breastfeeding. You need lots of nutrients and calories that only a well-balanced diet can give you. Food cravings while breastfeeding are normal, but try to avoid too many sugary treats.
Meals to eat while breastfeeding should include:
- Skim milk for your calcium needs. Your body prioritizes nourishing your infant’s bones. If you don’t get enough calcium, then the calcium in the breastmilk is going to come from your own bones.
- Vegetables. Eat at least three servings a day. Spinach and asparagus contain folic acid that keeps your heart healthy.
- Fish, to cover your omega-3 fatty acids’ intake. Omega-3 oils are essential for your child’s proper brain and eyes’ development. Needless to say, good fats are beneficial for the mother as well. They keep you strong and boost your immune system. Fish is also a great source of protein to keep your hair, nails, and skin in good condition.
- Brewer’s yeast, oats. They increase the production of breast milk.
Remember to drink plenty of water to accelerate your recovery from childbirth. Water will also keep you energized and increases your metabolism.
After figuring out with the best food for breastfeeding in your menu, you might be wondering how much of it you should eat.
The Right Amount to Eat
Remember, the milk-making process burns extra calories. The excess weight in the form of fat you put on while being pregnant will now be burned for energy. But once you’ve lost all the baby weight, then you need to add up to 600 calories to your food. And don’t forget to cut back on them after your child gets 6 months old and starts to eat other products. Your daily milk production will slow down, and you won’t need the extra energy anymore.
Keep in mind that your breast milk contains probiotics that prevent the most digestive problems in your baby. When reducing the milk feed, an infant may develop some. The solution is to start giving your child some supportive probiotics for babies. The helpful bacteria boost your tot’s immune system and relieve the stomach ache.
Now that we’ve covered what to include in your menu, let’s look at a breastfeeding food list that you should stay away from.
Food to Avoid While Breastfeeding
As we mentioned before, your body takes care of making the right kind of milk for the infant regardless of what you eat. Your main concern should be to follow a healthy menu in this stressful time. But some traces of food may still end up in the milk. So, if your child has a bad reaction to certain ingredients, it’s better to avoid consuming them.
Do you love spicy meals? Guess what? It’s not necessary to stop eating spicy food while breastfeeding. If you notice your child fussing after you’ve been having a hot curry, don’t worry. The fussiness won’t usually last more than a few hours.
A word of caution: you may want to be extra careful with cow milk. Some infants have a strong allergic reaction to the protein in it. The symptoms will usually show immediately. These include:
- Developing an itchy and red rash around the mouth.
- Having either constipation or diarrhea.
- Red scaly skin from Eczema.
- Not gaining weight.
When you suspect that cow milk is making your baby ill, turn to your doctor first. Breastfeeding and food allergies is a complex subject that needs to be handled by a professional. The doctor will determine whether the cause of problems is indeed dairy or something else. Once it’s confirmed that your child is allergic to cow’s milk, you should cut it from the menu until your baby is at least a year old. Remember to take some calcium supplements to replace getting it from dairy.
<img alt = “The baby eats in her mother’s arms”>
And what about alcohol and caffeine? Are they okay to drink while breastfeeding? Let’s take a look.
Alcohol and Caffeine
Believe it or not, but moderate alcohol consumption is allowed. Your body will filter it out before the milk gets to the baby. The same goes for food poisoning and breastfeeding. The bacteria and virus will not end up in the milk. But don’t get us wrong, you still shouldn’t drink frequently or more than one drink when breastfeeding. The harms of excessive alcohol consumption are for other posts, but for now, know that there should be at least two hours between having a drink and feeding your baby.
And what about coffee? If you’re used to drinking large amounts of caffeine drinks, then, unfortunately, you should now cut back quite a bit. You can still have a mug, but make sure it’s not too strong, as too much caffeine can irritate your infant.
While it’s not necessary to eat a special breastfeeding diet, the meals should still be well-balanced. Producing milk requires a lot of energy, and you need to increase your caloric intake to stay healthy. The good news is that your body will filter out most of the harmful ingredients before they reach the baby. The body makes sure your infant gets exactly what they need to grow. But this also means that any nutrients that you’re not getting from the food will be pulled from your organs. This is why it’s important to have a well-balanced menu while breastfeeding. Best get started with it today.
What did you think of our tips on healthy eating during breastfeeding? Was there something left uncovered? Leave comments below; we’d love to know about your experiences!
Rachel Burns is an experienced copywriter and photographer with a design diploma. She works with startups, entrepreneurs, bloggers and companies from around the world. In addition to writing articles and promotional materials, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking and spending time with her family.