Having a balanced diet is very important during pregnancy, and it becomes even more crucial when you are breastfeeding. Some mothers find themselves dieting to shed all that fat they put on during pregnancy, while some eat anything and everything that they crave. Both these extremes are not healthy for you and the baby.
Your breast milk is prepared from all the nutrients that you eat and if you eat a low calorie food that would affect the quality of milk that you produce.
All those mothers who wish to lose weight shelve your plans for a while. You will have plenty of time to diet and get back to shape and there is no need to compromise your food requirements just because you wish to slim down. Without a proper diet, your breast milk will not increase and you will only end up losing your stamina.
Research indicates that breastfeeding mothers will need to have 2000 to 2700 calories everyday. Doctors normally recommend eating whole grains, cereal, fresh fruits and vegetables as a perfect diet for nursing mothers. Most often, while breastfeeding you will feel very hungry which is probably because your body is busy extracting nutrients for the baby’s milk. Snack on healthy foods such as tuna, salmon, low fat cheese slices, beans, steamed sprouts, baked chicken nuggets and cottage cheese cubes whenever you are hungry.
Include lots of leafy vegetables, spinach and fenugreek in all your meals. Garlic is also commonly recommended especially for nursing mothers. The benefits of garlic are subject to much debate but recent research and studies have indicated that adding garlic have provided good results for the mother and baby. Garlic seems to add distinct taste to the breast milk, which the babies seem to prefer.
Fish is also considered to be very good diet for nursing mothers. According to health experts, consuming high quality omega3 fish oil supplement will not only build the mother’s stamina, it also helps in the overall development of the child’s health and well being.
Normally nursing mothers often try to avoid spicy food, since they are afraid that it might irritate the baby’s stomach. But unless there is a specific instance where you had a particular spicy food, which did not agree with your baby, you can safely eat spicy food. Eating a varied diet with a lot of spice and garlic will add different flavors to your breast milk which your baby will love unlike the formula milk which will taste the same every day. However if your baby is sensitive to certain spicy food then it is best to avoid it. Signs of food allergy would be continuous crying, fidgeting, skin reaction, wheezing, congestion and green mucous stool.
It is also recommended that nursing mothers drink lots of water, milk and milk products. If you are a coffee drinker then it would be best to substitute it with milk or fresh juice. Caffeine is dangerous for your baby since your baby’s body wouldn’t be able to process it. Alcoholic drinks should be strictly avoided while you are breastfeeding. If you have had a drink or two then wait for 6 to 7 hours before breastfeeding your baby again.
Lastly avoid eating lots of ghee, butter or cheese while you are nursing. This may not actually harm your baby but you will put on a lot of weight, instead you can opt for vegetables and cereals.