Pregnancy requires you to be cognizant of your diet as whatever you eat helps in the development of your baby. A proper diet doesn’t stop right after you’ve given birth but becomes a lot more necessary when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mums need more calories than mums who don’t breastfeed. Any breastfeeding mum needs around 500 extra calories in a day.
While this may not be ideal for all mums, especially for those who want to lose weight after delivery, it’s still important to talk to your doctor. When breastfeeding, special nutrients like vitamin A and D, calcium, iron, and potassium are very important. Eating various types of foods will help you get the necessary nutrients as well as expose your baby to the various tastes.
Your baby getting exposed to various tastes will help them become more accepting to different solid foods which will come in handy when you start weaning them. Just as there are certain foods that should be avoided when one is breastfeeding, there are also certain foods that you can include as part of your meals to help boost your milk supply.
In this article, we are going to discuss some of the foods that you should avoid or eat when breastfeeding to help you get the special nutrients needed.
Foods Breastfeeding Mums Should Avoid
Given that there are some foods that should be avoided when one is breastfeeding, getting a comprehensive list can be a daunting task because there are no foods that should be avoided completely. Besides, you will always get varying opinions from both doctors and other mothers alike. The best thing to do when it comes to what to food to eat is to ensure you eat a healthy balanced meal.
Nutrients that are passed into the blood become part of breast milk, which helps ensure that the breast milk has the right balance of both nutrients and water. However, it’s important to note that 88 percent of breast milk is made of water. That means that while a balanced diet is important for a breastfeeding mother, water is even more important.
As mentioned, there are no foods that should be completely avoided when one is breastfeeding, but some foods should be omitted from a breastfeeding mum’s diet. One such food that should be avoided is seafood. Most seafood contains mercury, and this can be absorbed into the body and passed to the baby when s/he is breastfeeding.
Caffeine intake is also something that should be limited. As a nursing mum, it’s important to pay attention to how caffeine can affect your baby. While caffeine intake – which is usually though drinking coffee – doesn’t necessarily affect the baby in a negative way, if they absorb it in the breast milk, it can affect their sleep.
Another best practice that a nursing mum can use to determine what foods to avoid is by monitoring her diet. Diet monitoring helps you know what foods affect both you and your baby and help you make the necessary changes. By monitoring your diet, you can be able to know the foods that your baby reacts to negatively.
A good example is gassy foods like cruciferous vegetables. While most babies may not be affected by such foods, others are. Gassy foods can end up causing gas to both the baby and the mother. Gassy foods are also suspected to contribute to colic in babies. Besides gassy foods, spicy foods can also be monitored, and if your baby reacts to it negatively, then you can remove them from your diet. However, it’s important to note that nursing mothers can still eat spicy foods.
Alcohol consumption when breastfeeding is also a topic that has unclear advice from both parenting guides and medical experts. During pregnancy, women are advised to avoid alcohol because it goes past the placenta and can affect the development of the baby in the womb. However, a breastfed baby ends up getting the alcohol content that gets into the bloodstream of the nursing mother.
If moderately consumed, the amount of alcohol that gets to the baby is little and might cause no harm. It’s also advisable that nursing mothers only take one drink a day and also wait for at least two hours after taking alcohol to breastfeed. Generally, if your baby starts having problems after a breastfeeding session, it’s usually something you’ve taken some two to six hours before nursing. Products from cow milk, wheat, eggs, soy, corn, nuts or corn syrup are some of the most well-known culprits.
Nutritional Supplements & Other Dietary Tips
While most mothers are always torn between what to eat when breastfeeding, a balanced diet has enough nutrients that any breastfeeding mother needs. Given that nutritional demands surge when one is breastfeeding, there are nursing mothers who may need mineral and vitamin supplements. However, it’s important to bear in mind that nutritional supplements can never replace a healthy diet.
As such, if you must take any dietary or herbal supplement, it’s important that you talk to your doctor. In addition, vegetarians, vegans, and people with restrictive diets need to be mindful of their diet as there are certain minerals and vitamins that may be lacking from their meals. It’s therefore important to speak to your dietician if you feel that your diet prevents you from meeting all your nutritional needs as a breastfeeding mum.
As a nursing mum, it’s not necessary to measure your food portions unless you are worried about gaining weight. In addition, the lack of some nutrients from your diet won’t affect your ability to produce enough milk for your baby. Varying diets can help boost milk supply. Most nursing mums to do just fine in terms of milk production as long as they eat a well-balanced diet. Remember, a well-balanced diet doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect. It just has to have the right balance of minerals and nutrients.
Remember, 88 percent of breast milk is made up of water. As such, it’s important to drink lots of water, especially after the first weeks after birth. Your fluid intake needs tend to increase when you are breastfeeding, and lack thereof can affect milk production and lead to dehydration. Placing a water bottle with water in every room in your home can be one of the quickest ways to remind yourself to drink water.