Breastfeeding can take excellent care of the nutritional needs of your infant. But as a nursing mother, you too need to eat a well-balanced diet. Here are some breastfeeding diet tips to ensure you remain healthy and strong to be able to take care of your little one.
As you step onto the wonderful path to motherhood, breastfeeding is a joy that comes with it. Your baby is totally dependent on you for care and nutritional needs. As a mother, you’d go to any extent to ensure that your baby remains well-fed and healthy. Amidst all this, it’s also important for you to take care of yourself and eat a well-balanced diet. The foods to eat during breastfeeding must be nutritious and wholesome while also helping with lactation.
A Healthy Breastfeeding Diet Plan for New Moms to Follow
We have prepared for you a guide on the optimum diet for breastfeeding mothers. This will help you stay healthy during this crucial time.
There are certain foods that are excellent in aiding the mother’s as well as baby’s health when consumed while breastfeeding. These foods are a must-add to a breastfeeding mother’s diet chart.
Starchy foods are essential carbs that provide energy to the body. They should make up one-third of a healthy, balanced diet. Wherever possible, opt for whole wheat variations of starchy foods for extra fibre and nutrients. Some starchy foods include:
Potatoes with skin
Oats, Rye & Barley
Dairy products are rich in Vitamin B and D and are excellent sources of calcium which is important for your baby’s bone development. They are essential for your well-being as well. You can even opt for soy milk if you’re lactose intolerant. Dairy products like the following are a good choice:
Your body undergoes a lot of trauma during childbirth and while it is said that your body maybe back to ‘normal’ within six weeks, a new study states that you requires almost a year to recover from it completely. Your diet during this time is crucial and adding protein-rich foods will aid your body’s recovery. A few protein-rich foods include:
Fresh fruits and vegetables:
This is the obvious one, but including fresh fruits and vegetables in your post pregnancy diet is essential for a good dose of antioxidants and vitamins. They help strengthen the immune system of the mother and baby & ensure healthy growth and development.To get a range of benefits, make sure to opt for a range of colourful foods like the following:
Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce
Oranges & carrots
Beetroots, berries, tomatoes
A breastfeeding woman should ideally have an extra 500 calories, which puts her daily calorie intake to about 2000-2500 calories. And opting for healthier, unsaturated fats will help you consume the recommended amount of calories while also supporting your baby’s brain and eye development. Some foods containing healthy fats include:
Nuts and seeds
Foods To Avoid in a Feeding Mother's Diet Chart
Now that you have a brief understanding of the kind of diet you should opt for during breastfeeding and how it benefits your baby, track what foods you should avoid and how they can harm your baby for an easier breastfeeding journey.
While the ‘good’ unsaturated fats are healthy for your baby’s development, saturated fats and trans-fat foods are detrimental to your as well as your baby’s health. Foods that contain these fats include:
Cookies, cakes, etc made with hydrogenated vegetable oils
Caffeine can cause irritability, constipation and insomnia in your little one which will consequently affect their growth. Make sure you limit caffeine consumption and restrict it to only 300 mg per day. Caffeinated drinks to watch out for include:
Tea & coffee
Alcohol is to be avoided as much as possible to prevent it from mixing with breast milk. Large amounts of alcohol can drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness, and abnormal weight gain in infants. Alcohol can be find in:
Certain varieities of chocolates
Alcoholic drinks like beer, whisky, etc.
Certain variants of baked goods and no-bake sweets
Certain foods with strong flavours can make your little one to become a gassy baby or even become colicky. Some babies even react negatively to spicy foods in your diet. So if your baby also seems to develop gas when you eat certain foods, consider avoiding them till you’re breastfeeding. Some foods that are common gas causing foods include:
In certain cases, babies can develop allergies to the foods that the mother is eating. Therefore, keep track of the different foods you eat and how your baby reacts to them. Some foods that commonly cause allergies include:
Tips to Remember for a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet
Don’t obsess over calorie-counting:
The best diet for breastfeeding is one that is in tune with your body! Listen to your body when it demands food and eat accordingly. There’s no fixed number of how many extra calories a nursing mother requires, but it’s about 500 calories more than usual. You can consult your doctor to find out how many calories you need to consume based on your height and weight.
Eat foods that increase breast milk supply:
To make breastfeeding smoother, it is a good idea to consume foods that have been scientifically proven to boost breast milk supply. This can ensure you will always have enough milk to satisfy your baby's hunger. Some foods you should include are oatmeal, apricot, fenugreek and almonds. Watch: Ms. Sushma Jaiswal, Dietitian and Nutritionist, shares the best foods to increase breast milk supply!
Key Takeaway: Foods for a breastfeeding mother to ensure optimum breastmilk supply for baby's health.
Try to avoid packaged foods:
While the occasional packaged food is fine, have it few and far between. Try out healthy recipes for nursing moms instead. Fresh foods are much healthier than packaged items and top our list of food for breastfeeding mothers. You get to prepare them how you want to. If you do buy packaged food now and then, make sure it’s from a brand you trust. Try to choose low-sodium and MSG-free foods as well.
Did You Know?
It takes energy to maintain a milk supply! Consistent breastfeeding burns about 500 calories per day. So don't worry too much about your postpartum weight loss while you're exclusively breastfeeding your baby! You can get started on your weight loss journey after the first six months (recommended time for exclusive breastfeeding) with our expert-certified diet plan.
An important tip on diet during lactation is that: it's very important to drink plenty of healthy fluids. Fluids form an important part of your postpartum diet while breastfeeding, which is why it’s so important to ensure that you take care of what you consume.
Don’t forget your vitamin supplements:
Along with the best foods to eat while breastfeeding, it’s important to keep taking vitamin and mineral supplements according to your doctor’s advice. While you can get them from food, you want to make sure you’re getting as much as you need.
Baby Colic and the Link to the Nursing Mother’s Diet
Colic – a word dreaded by every mother. Seeing your little one cry inconsolably can be heartbreaking for a new mom, especially without a known cause. The frustrating thing is that it’s extremely common among babies, yet it isn’t easy to console them. There could be various possible reasons for your baby’s inconsolable crying therefore there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for colic. But a recent research suggests that colic spells can be cut down drastically by simply watching what you eat during the breastfeeding period. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, excluding highly allergenic foods from a nursing mother’s diet can reduce fussiness and crying in the baby. However, the diet still needs to ensure that the mother receives a balance of nutrients so that the baby can have a healthy overall development.
As a mother, it’s your time to enjoy the many wonders of bringing up a child. You can give the best to your infant only if you are at your best. In consultation with your doctor, make a diet for breastfeeding mom and stick to it. Every once in a while, you can indulge yourself and eat your favourite food to add variety to your diet. What was your diet plan during breastfeeding? Tell us in the comments!