We have all heard how good breastfeeding is for a child. It has an excellent dietary profile in addition to benefits for optimizing immune health. As such, are mothers supposed to practice a particular regimen? Exactly what is a breastfeeding diet that guarantees excellent nutrition for both a nursing baby and a lactating mother? In brief, here is a shortlist of breastfeeding diet tips meant to enhance both a mother and a child’s nutrition.
Mothers will be glad to hear that a breastfeeding diet is not a restrictive one. A proper breastfeeding diet requires that mothers consume extra calories to produce an abundance of milk for their babies. Besides a mother’s own caloric requirements, she should strive to consume an additional 500 calories. Most nutritionists agree that a breastfeeding diet should not be restrictive on calories since the lactation process could be compromised. Too much caloric restriction may lead to milk ducts drying up.
What Is Best To Eat?
As always, it is no secret that a sound, balanced nutrition plan is best for a breastfeeding diet. Whole foods should be emphasized for a natural nutrient profile. A sound breastfeeding diet consists of fish like salmon as well as other seafood like seaweed, sardines, and shellfish. Meats like lamb, pork, beef, and chicken are also highly recommended. When eating meat, opt for lean cuts. Throw in a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, berries, cabbage, garlic, kale, and broccoli for good measure. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds are also wise nutritious choices for a breastfeeding diet. Other foods that are good to include are oats, dark chocolate, and eggs. Finally, when drinking water, try and source your H2o from a safe, reputable, source. Trace amounts of a variety of chemicals are found in water directly from the tap.
What Should Not Be Eaten?
The common foods that we are routinely admonished not to eat also apply in a breastfeeding diet. Processed food high in empty calories is no good. Watch out also for sugars and unhealthy fats. Alcohol is a big no-no since it will directly go into breast milk. They say alcohol can be safely consumed after a feeding session, but better to avoid it altogether. There are also some caveats about specific supplements and herbs, so consult your doctor if you plan to take any. Be vigilant too about consuming food with contaminants. Make certain your foods are devoid of insecticides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Known produce to have high levels of pollutants are (but not limited to) grapes, sweet bell peppers, apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, blueberries, lettuce, and kale. Likewise, tuna could have elevated levels of mercury, so avoid eating this while lactating.
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” To further pursue that logic, if you are what you eat, your baby is also what you eat. Follow a sound breastfeeding diet that involves prudence and common sense. This will ensure that your precious little one gets the best possible nutrition from your breast milk.