Breastfeeding actually has many benefits for both the baby and the mom. It is not surprising as well that mothers should eat healthy while breastfeeding. Breastmilk is very nutritious for babies and it contains almost all the nutrients that your baby needs for the first 6 months of his life. However, your needs for most nutrients are also increased in time in order to meet the demand. Healthy eating is very important because it will also give you enough energy to take care of the baby and even yourself. It can also help you shed the pregnancy weight faster.
In order to help moms learn and know about what to eat during breastfeeding, this article will focus on everything about that.
Breastfeeding moms need at least 500 more calories a day than non-breastfeeding moms. But every woman is different as well, and your energy needs will change during your breastfeeding journey. The amount of calories you will need depends on the age of your baby, his size and his appetite. It also depends on your own body mass index (BMI), how active you are, if your baby is exclusively breastfeeding or you are feeding twins or multiples.
Note that the amount of some nutrients in the food you eat will directly affect their presence in your breast milk. Also, some nutrients are transferred into breast milk regardless of your intake. Hence, it is very important to eat different nutritious and whole foods to ensure that you get all the nutrients that you and your baby need.
To help moms know what to eat during breastfeeding, here is a list of nutritious foods that are recommended for you.
- Seafood and fish (Salmon, shellfish, sardines, and seaweed)
- Meat (Pork, lamb, beef, organ meats such as liver)
- Nuts and seeds (Almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds)
- Fruits and vegetables (Tomatoes, berries, cabbage, garlic, kale, and broccoli)
- Other foods (Oats, potatoes, eggs, quinoa, dark chocolate, and buckwheat)
There are so many more recommended nutritious foods for breastfeeding moms, it should not be limited by the list above. However, take note that you should avoid processed foods as much as possible because they are high in added sugars and unhealthy fats.
Here is a more specific list of nutritious food that moms can add to their diet:
- Vitamin B6: Seeds, nuts, fish, poultry, pork, bananas, and dried fruit
- Selenium: Brazil nuts, seafood, fish, whole wheat and seeds.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Cheese, almonds, nuts, red meat, oily fish and eggs.
- Iodine: Dried seaweed, cod, milk, and iodized salt.
- Choline: Eggs, beef liver, chicken liver, fish and peanuts.
- Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, organ meats, and eggs.
- Vitamin B12: Shellfish, liver, oily fish, crab, and shrimp.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Fish, pork, seeds, nuts, and bread.
- Vitamin D: Cod liver oil, oily fish, some mushrooms and fortified foods.
The amounts of these foods and nutrients are reduced in breastmilk if you don’t get adequate amounts of these in your diet. That’s why it is important that you get sufficient amounts of these in your diet or supplements.
Other recommended foods during breastfeeding:
- Calcium from milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, and legumes.
- Folate from beans, lentils, leafy greens, asparagus, and avocados.
- Copper from shellfish, whole grains, nuts, beans, organ meats, and potatoes.
- Zinc from oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and dairy.
- Iron from red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, green vegetables, and dried fruit.
If your intake of these foods is low, your body will take these nutrients from your tissue and bones stores to secrete into your breast milk. Moms our baby will get the right amount but if you yourself don’t get enough amount on your diet, your body stores will become depleted. To avoid that, you need to incorporate these nutritious foods into your diet and supplements.
We hope that moms have learned something about what to eat during breastfeeding to help them become healthy and get the right and enough nutrients they need and their babies need most importantly. Just get the right and sufficient amount on the recommended foods is a great way to help moms to have enough energy they need to take care of their little ones. It would be harder when moms are sick and unhealthy because the babies will be affected. That’s why moms should also take care of themselves.
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