If you have recently given birth and are now breastfeeding, you need to eat foods with the right nutrients. However, you might have questions about the drinks and foods that are best for you. Here are some tips that will help you to understand the basics of nutrition during breastfeeding:
Consume Extra Calories
You need to eat an extra 300-400 calories each day to keep your energy levels up while breastfeeding. To get these calories, you have to go for nutrient-rich meals such as breakfast that consists of whole grain bread, an apple, yogurt, and peanut butter. You can also make vegetable soup at home if you do not feel like eating solid foods.
Foods to Eat
You need to focus on healthy meals to increase your milk production. Opt for foods that are rich in proteins such as eggs, dairy, lean meat, and beans. Make sure that you include a variety of whole grains plus fruits and veggies in your diet. To reduce your exposure to the residue of pesticides, you should wash your fruits thoroughly.
When you eat a variety of foods while breastfeeding, your milk will keep changing flavor, exposing your newborn to different tastes. This will come in handy when you want to make the change to solid food down the road. To ensure that your baby is getting plenty of vitamins, your doctor might ask you to keep taking your prenatal vitamins until the baby starts eating solid food.
Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids instead of relying on your thirst to guide you. If your urine is dark yellow in color, you should drink more water. As you breastfeed your baby, you should keep a glass of water close by.
However, you need to be wary of sugary drinks and juices because excessive sugar can cause weight gain. On the other hand, too much coffee can cause problems, so you should limit your intake to a maximum of three cups per day. Caffeine can interfere with your baby’s sleep cycle or cause irritability.
Vegetarian Diet for Breastfeeding Moms
If you are a vegetarian, you need to choose the most nutritious foods, which include:
Foods rich in protein, iron, and calcium – dark leafy greens, lentils, peas, and enriched cereals are excellent sources of iron. To help your body to absorb more iron, you should consume foods rich in vitamin C. Protein-rich foods such as legumes, nuts, and whole grains are great substitutes for meat. You can get calcium from dark leafy greens, yogurt, and soy.
Consider supplements – your doctor will probably recommend a B-12 supplement. This vitamin is found mostly in animal products and is hard for vegetarians to find naturally. If you are a vegetarian, you should also talk to your health care provider about getting an omega 3 supplement.
If you have limited sun exposure, you can also take vitamin D supplements. Your baby needs vitamin D for his or her body to absorb phosphorus and calcium. Too little vitamin D can result in rickets and weak bones.
Food or Drinks to Avoid While Breastfeeding
When you are breastfeeding, you should approach the following with caution:
Caffeine – as already mentioned, caffeinated drinks can cause your baby to be agitated.
Alcohol – you should stay away from alcohol until you wean your baby. If you end up drinking, you should not breastfeed until the alcohol leaves your system. As a side note, pumping and dumping will not eliminate alcohol from your breast milk faster.
Fish – although seafood is an excellent source of omega 3 and protein, it also contains mercury, which can affect your growing baby’s nervous system negatively. To limit your baby’s exposure to mercury, you should avoid seafood that has high levels of mercury such as tilefish and swordfish.
Can Your Diet Cause an Allergic Reaction in Your Baby?
Certain drinks and foods can cause an allergic reaction in babies or make them irritable. If your baby develops a rash or diarrheas soon after breastfeeding, you should see a pediatrician. Do you suspect that something in your diet is affecting your baby? You should avoid that particular food for a week and observe the changes if any.
To determine the relationship between your child’s behavior and your diet, you should start keeping a food diary. If eliminating something from your diet does nothing, you should reintroduce it and consider other culprits.
The above nutrition tips will come in handy for moms who are breastfeeding for the first time and want to avoid mistakes. And for moms, we would also recommend that you check out reviews of kitchen gadgets like best crock pots as they are beneficial in retaining nutrient in your cooking whether its a soup or any other dish you may cook.