Is There An Ideal Diet For Breastfeeding Moms?
Yes, you need to take special care of your diet for breastfeeding. Remember that through the milk that flows from your breasts, you’re providing all of the nutrients your baby needs to grow up healthy. It’s worth supplementing your diet while breastfeeding, as your nutritional needs will be considerably greater than they were during pregnancy.
Now that you are breastfeeding, you need to eat well. This doesn’t necessarily mean eating a lot, though. Rather, a healthy diet for breastfeeding should be as varied as possible. It should include all food groups, and especially dried fruit, eggs and vegetable fats such as olive oil.
You’ll likely need to take some kind of vitamin supplement. These can help you to keep up your reserves of certain nutrients, particularly those that are difficult to obtain through diet alone, such as folic acid, iodine, iron or vitamin A.
However, you should only take these supplements under prescription from your doctor. This will ensure that you get the right dose for you and your baby.
A delicious diet for breastfeeding
Drinking oatmeal water was historically one of the most common recommendations for breastfeeding mothers. Oats are known as one of the best things to include in your diet for breastfeeding, and there are several reasons why they deserve their good reputation.
Eating a warm bowl of oatmeal every morning is one of the recommendations of Kelly Bonyata, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (BCLC). This bowl of oatmeal will keep you feeling full all morning, and will provide you and your baby with iron, fiber and protein.
This includes strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. All of these are rich in antioxidants and fiber, and are also an excellent source of vitamins that are easy to include in your diet. You can even eat them with your oatmeal.
In general, you should incorporate as much fruit as possible into your diet for breastfeeding. Fruit gives you the vitamins that your body needs, including vitamins A, D, E, B1, B2 and folic acid. A good way to eat a few portions of fruit is to make a fruit salad. Try to eat two portions of fruit a day, with the skin on if possible, as this will give you fiber.
As well as giving you protein and fatty acids, eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D, which is difficult to get from other foods. You can eat a boiled egg as a snack, in a salad, or however you like. Just make sure that eggs don’t cause an allergic reaction in your baby. As long as they don’t, go ahead and enjoy them.
Meat and fish
While you are breastfeeding, most of the meat that you consume should be lean. Try to avoid fatty and processed meats as much as possible.
Try to eat fish at least four times a week and go for white or oily fish – both are great for you. Choose fish such as salmon, pollock or catfish and stay away from swordfish, king mackerel and shark, which can have high levels of mercury.
During this period, you should be drinking at least three glasses of milk a day. You can also complement your daily intake of dairy products with cheese or yogurt.
What you need to know about your diet
Although it’s always important to eat a healthy diet, for breastfeeding this is even more crucial. Your body is under greater strain than normal. Here we will explain why, and give you a few more tips:
- When you are breastfeeding, your body needs around 16 cups of liquid a day. This can include liquid consumed in the form as food, in a soup for example. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water.
- Caffeine accumulates directly in breast milk. Reduce your consumption to three cups of coffee a week, at a maximum.
- Foods that are rich in fiber, such as wholemeal bread and grains, are highly recommended after giving birth, as they help reduce constipation.
- Health specialists advise that your calorie intake should never drop below 1,500 calories a day while you are breastfeeding. A very low calorie diet can cause fatigue and reduce milk production. In fact, according to recommendations, a nursing mother should aim to consume between 2,300 and 2,500 calories daily for one child, and 2,600 to 3,000 calories if she has twins to feed.
- Above all, experts recommend that you avoid over-the-counter herbal supplements and natural remedies. In many cases, nobody knows the exact composition of these products. Some of the substances found in them can affect your hormones, harming both your health and that of your baby.
- Another piece of expert advice is to avoid consuming any alcohol or tabaco while you are breastfeeding your baby.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety. Nutrition reviews, 74(2), 131–147. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv063
- Govers, C., Berkel Kasikci, M., van der Sluis, A. A., & Mes, J. J. (2018). Review of the health effects of berries and their phytochemicals on the digestive and immune systems. Nutrition reviews, 76(1), 29–46. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nux039
- Recomendaciones de consumo de pescado (Pez Espada, Tiburón, Atún Rojo y Lucio) debido a la presencia de mercurio. AESAN.