Breast milk is the best food for your newborn baby and his immune system, but what about your own diet plan for breastfeeding period?
Many nursing mothers think they can drink or eat anything they want. While there is a fact that some strongly flavored products may change the taste of milk, but many babies enjoy some breast milk flavors! The dominant flavors of your diet, while you were pregnant were in your amniotic fluid that fetuses swallow before birth.
That’s why when they feel these flavors again in milk, they already got used to them. Anyway, if you see a baby us fussy or gassy after you consume a particular product, avoid it for a couple of days. This test will show whether that food was the reason or not.
Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding
In fact, there is no list of products that breastfeeding women should avoid. Eat healthy food and be attentive to cues from your body.
Foods that experts advise to avoid while breastfeeding:
- spices (chili pepper, garlic, cinnamon, curry)
- seafood that may contain mercury
- chocolate and some sweet foods – pastries, especially with the addition of various dyes and chemicals.
- citrus juices and fruits (oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit)
- fruits with a laxative effect (prunes or cherries)
- sweet carbonated lemonade
- too much caffeine in coffees, teas, energy drinks, chocolates, sodas, and medicines can spoil your baby’s sleep or make him fussy even though he gets a very tiny dose of caffeine. 1-2 cups of coffee per day is enough.
- the “gassy” vegetables (cabbage, onion, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peppers)
- alcoholic drinks. Recent studies have shown that alcohol, reduces milk production. Avoid drinking it until your baby is over 3 months old, and then you may drink it as an occasional treat – 125 ml glass of wine. If you plan to consume alcoholic drinks, express and store milk before and give that to your child for his next feed.
If your baby has allergy symptoms (eczema, excessive vomiting, blood in stools, persistent congestion, a rash, fussiness, or diarrhea), the cause may hide in regular contact with allergens like soap or mildew. Or the reaction may be caused by products a mother eats which get into his body via her breast milk.
It usually demands detective work to find out what exactly caused the allergy symptoms.
Usually, the guilty product is that you’ve eaten 2-6 hours before breastfeeding.
The most common allergens are:
- cows’ milk products
- corn or corn syrup
If you are not allergic to peanuts, there is no reason to avoid peanut-based foods while breastfeeding. If you like spicy food, there is no reason to avoid it too, the foods mentioned above are the most common allergy culprits rather than spicy products or hot sauces.
If your baby has aт intolerance to foods you eat, you will see him fussing or crying after feeding, explosive stools, reflux and bringing his knees up to the chest. Ask your doctor’s advice if you think something is wrong. You may be referred to a dietitian or other specialist, depending on where you live.
Diet for Nursing Mothers
Consult your doctor before you eliminate any product from your diet. If a new diet plan causes a nutritional imbalance, you will need to talk to a nutritionist for him to advice taking nutritional supplements. Don’t avoid taking prenatal vitamins for the whole period of breastfeeding to cover any gaps in your diet.
A healthful diet if you are a nursing mother is the same as a diet plan when not breastfeeding. The main difference is you need more calories (+450-500 per day). If you wanna lose weight after pregnancy you may not increase calorie intake, but discuss it with your doctor.
If you see your lose or gain weight more than 2.2 lb per week, pay attention to your diet, it’s not alright. Add or cut calories without losing nutritional value.
The number of calories your body needs depends on your kid’s size, age, and appetite. Your body mass index, your daily activities, your baby is breastfed exclusively or not, or if you’re feeding one child, twins or multiples – all these factors play their role.
Pay your attention to specific nutrients, such as calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins D and A, they are beneficial for breastfeeding. Eat a wide variety of products is also essential, for the baby feels tastes and get ready for solid foods later.
What to Eat While Breastfeeding
There is no diet that will be perfect for any woman who is breastfeeding. It must be healthful and varied diet.
Include these foods in every day’s diet:
- Fruits are rich in essential nutrients. They relieve constipation, which some moms suffer from after being pregnant. Eat about two cups of fruit per day.
The USDA recommends the fruits which are rich in potassium and vitamin A:
- honeydew melon
- Vegetables. Eat three cups of vegetables per day. If you combine formula-feeding with breastfeeding, you can reduce them to 2.5 cups per day. They are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins which help the body to replenish the nutrients to make milk. Bake, boil or stew them.
The USDA recommends the fruits which are rich in potassium and vitamin A:
- cooked greens (collards and kale)
- sweet potato
- Grains like brown rice or whole-wheat bread provide your body with vital nutrients, some of them are also high in protein. Eat 8 ounces per day if you are breastfeeding, and 6 ounces if you add formula-feeding. Fortified whole-grain cereals without sugar are a great option.
- Protein. Eat extra 25 g each day and not less than 65 g per day in total. Include protein in every meal.
The USDA recommends these sources:
- peas and beans
- seeds and nuts
- pork, beef, and lamb
- crab, oysters, and mussels
- herring, salmon, sardines, pollock, and trout
I would recommend avoiding seafood as it may be high in mercury. If you are a vegan mom, you can also easily get your protein from plant sources like peas and nuts.
- Dairy. Breastfeeding and pregnancy leach calcium from mother’s bones. Dairy products like milk or cheese provide the body with calcium and vitamin D protecting a mom from osteoporosis. Breastfeeding mothers should consume three cups of dairy products every day.
Good sources of calcium and vitamin D are:
- natural cheese
Vegans can get their daily 1,000 milligrams of calcium from beans and dark leafy greens and vitamin В – from mushrooms, sunlight, and supplements.
- Healthy fats which are found in nuts, olive oil, seeds, and avocados.
- Nutritional supplements. In most cases, a well-balanced diet provides everything a breastfeeding mom needs. Anyway, a doctor can offer to take extra nutritional supplements while breastfeeding because nutritional demands increase when breastfeeding. Keep in mind that there are no supplements which can replace a healthful well-balanced diet. Those who follow a vegan lifestyle must remember about minerals and vitamins that may be missing from their diet and consult a nutritionist. Vitamin D is the key. It’s necessary for your and your baby’s healthy bones. If you live in the area with a lack of sunlight, your body may need more vitamin D so supplements are recommended.
Can Some Products Increase Breast Milk?
There are not so many researches on foods increasing breast milk supply.
The following foods are absolutely safe and may support a high milk production:
- goat’s rue
- fenugreek seed
Other ways to increase breast milk:
- Breastfeeding on demand. If the baby already gets solids or formula, pump milk when the baby gets it. The milk occurs only when it is needed, which means that supply decreases when demand does.
- Breasts massaging before and after pumping. Aim to pump them 8 or more times over 1 day.
- Pumping after each breastfeeding. It raises supply by increasing demand and can provide extra milk.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of pure water! It is very important in the first weeks after the baby’s birth when some women are too overwhelmed that they forget to drink. Successful breastfeeding demands pure water. Dehydration may affect milk supply. Keeping a bottle that is easy to reach of pure water in every room in your apartments. You can also drink green and black teas, coffee, fruit drinks, fruit compote, herbal teas with mint, thyme and oregano, non-carbonated mineral water.
- Meal strategies. Recovering from birth, emotional demands of caring for a newborn, lack of sleep take all your energy. No wonder, the most challenging part is cooking a healthful meal and finding the time for it. Share the burden with your partner, while one can breastfeed the other prepares food. If it is not possible, some easy-to-prepare meals may provide your body with everything it needs.
- Banana smoothie is easy to cook and very nutritional. Blend frozen berries, an avocado, and a banana with a blender for frozen drinks and add nuts for protein.
- Instant oatmeal is a fiber-rich snack. To add more calories and protein content, use seeds or nuts. Porridge is perfect for breakfast, it provides you with energy from the oats for the whole day and if you’ve been breastfeeding at night it will help to restore your energy levels. Porridges are also nourishing and contain many nutrients.
- Snack on nuts during the day. Placing a can of seeds and nuts in your breastfeeding spot.
Will Being a Vegan Expose My Breast Milk?
While you eat enough calories and get all the nutritional elements your body and baby need protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals – you and your child will be all right.
Make sure you getting plenty of vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids and choose supplements or foods that will provide you with these nutrients.
Ask for additional advice from your doctor to be sure you get all you and your child need.
Breastfeeding can be a hard task, especially in the first weeks. Don’t forget to care not only about your kid but about yourself because the health of a baby directly depends on the health of his parents. Monitor how the baby reacts to the changes in your diet, correct it according to your and baby’s needs.
Listen to your body, and eat what feels right, but don’t fuel up on useless sweets that won’t do any favors for your body.