Every new mother will likely have some concerns about whether their child is being adequately fed through breastfeeding. It is natural to be concerned about the dietary health of your child and there are certainly best practices to follow when it comes to what to eat when breastfeeding.
Your breastfeeding diet needs to follow some simple rules and strategies to ensure that both you and your baby receive the best possible nutrition. By reading up on what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, you will be able to make better choices about this essential baby care concept.
Let’s look at some of the specific foods that are best to eat when breastfeeding and a general look at how much you need to consume.
What foods should I eat?
The better the quality of the foods you eat, the more healthy your baby will be. When thinking about what to eat when breastfeeding, it is important to look for nutrient-dense foods that will provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals for both you and your child.
This should include a variety of protein, such as liver and beef products, which are excellent for bumping up your iron levels, along with fruits and vegetables. If you are unfamiliar with the basics of a complete and balanced diet for yourself, it is important that you take the time to make a meal plan in order to avoid any dietary deficiencies in you or your baby.
Some mothers may also benefit from taking supplements to increase the level of some minerals in their breastmilk. This may include a multivitamin, vitamin B12, or omega fatty acids.
As with any balanced diet, it is also important for you to stay hydrated throughout the day. Make sure to consume enough water to meet the demands that milk production can put on your body.
How much do I need to eat?
It is certainly true that you will need to bump up your calories when you are breastfeeding. Having a baby to feed, with the nutrients that you are consuming to sustain yourself, is a taxing job. You have to consciously plan to add extra amounts to the meals that you would normally eat prior to your pregnancy. Aim for about five hundred or more extra calories per day than your usual recommended daily amount when planning wha to eat when breastfeeding
While it is important for many new mothers to quickly return to their pre-pregnancy figure, you need to maintain your appetite until your child has switched to formula or has begun to eat solid foods in sufficient amounts.
Are there any foods I should avoid?
There are some important foods to avoid while you are breastfeeding. While some will only cause mild irritation for your child, others can be actively harmful.
Caffeine in all of its forms, for example, can be tolerated by a baby. However, it is important to avoid these products if possible, as they may affect the quality of your baby’s sleep.
If you drink alcohol, then be sure not to breastfeed your baby for several hours afterwards. Alcohol is passed through breastmilk to your child and it can certainly be harmful to a newborn’s development.
Finally, spicy foods are something that many mothers should avoid, if possible. Spices are transferred to your baby through breastmilk and may cause digestive issues in your child.
Eat more and eat better
When it comes what to eat when breastfeeding, the simple rules are to eat more and eat nutritionally dense foods. Avoid foods that will cause irritation for your child and certainly avoid any that may cause them harm. If you have questions or concerns about your breastfeeding diet, then consulting with a doctor or a nutritionist will provide you with more specific advice catered to your own situation.
I hope the above advice on what to eat when breastfeeding above was useful. Are you starting your breastfeeding journey and wondering what to eat when breastfeeding? Do share in a comment below.