How to Create a Breastfeeding Diet
If you’ve chosen to breastfeed your newborn, you’ve chosen the best way to feed them. Breastfeeding, however, takes a little pre-planning because there are a few things to learn first, starting with what your diet should look like. According to the experts, the best diet for a breastfeeding mom is one that is well balanced and healthy, but you’ll also need to increase your caloric intake because it takes an extra 500 calories or so just to make the milk that you’ll need each day.
How to Eat When You’re Breastfeeding
Many people read that breastfeeding moms should eat the same way they did when they were pregnant, which is essentially true but with a few exceptions. You may have found that when you were pregnant, certain foods gave you gas. Now that the baby is here, it might be them that has the gas, so you may have to eliminate that food for a while until the baby’s stomach gets a little stronger and more adaptable.
One thing’s for sure: a good diet for breastfeeding mothers has to be well balanced and include lean meats, fish, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables. You should also drink a lot of extra fluids, including water, unsweetened fruit juice, and milk. Indeed, when it comes to eating right while breastfeeding, your diet doesn’t have to be complicated, nor do you have to rush out and buy a lot of expensive foods.
Common sense will tell you what you can and can’t eat. When you’re breastfeeding, your baby will get all of the foods you’re eating in the breast milk, so everything you eat has to be healthy and good for both you and the baby. And while the extra 500 calories are important, keep in mind that you may need more than that if your baby feeds more frequently. If you ever feel lightheaded or dizzy, especially after a feeding, you may need to add extra calories to your diet.
There are also specific nutrients that you need more of when you’re breastfeeding, so you need to get them from either your food or from supplements. Some breastfeeding moms continue their prenatal vitamins while they’re nursing, but always check with your doctor first to make sure that’s the right thing to do. Some of the nutrients that you need to pay attention to include zinc, protein, selenium, and vitamins A, B12, C, D, and E.
What Is the Best Diet for Breastfeeding?
Again, balanced diets have to be part of your life when you’re breastfeeding, which includes a variety of foods that guarantee the baby gets what they need to grow and thrive.
For starters, here is what you need to consume so your milk is nutritious:
Meat and poultry, including chicken, beef, pork, etc.
- Fish and seafood, including sardines, salmon, and shellfish
- Veggies and fruits, such as berries, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, and tomatoes
- Seeds and nuts that include walnuts, flaxseeds, and almonds
- Starches with fiber, such as beans, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and oats
- Healthy fats, including full-fat yogurt, olive oil, avocados, and eggs
- Miscellaneous foods, including dark chocolate, tofu, and sauerkraut
Does this mean that you can never have ice cream, fatty cheeseburgers, or fast-food tacos? Of course not, but these foods should be eaten in moderation. Remember that when you are breastfeeding, you want both extra calories and nutrient-dense foods added to your diet in order to make healthy milk that the baby needs to survive. It’s also best to stay away from fast food and processed foods; instead, stick with fresh foods that you cook yourself.
What About Supplements?
The best thing to do is check with your doctor about what type of supplements you should be taking while you’re breastfeeding. They may recommend just a basic over-the-counter vitamin supplement or they may want you to continue with a prescription supplement. Chances are good that they’ll want you to take some type of supplement even if you eat right, but each mom is different, which is why checking with your doctor is recommended.
To be sure, a good breastfeeding diet requires vitamin-rich foods so that the milk has the nutrients the baby needs. If you follow a healthy diet for breastfeeding, you can breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of the child’s life. This will give that child a great start in life. That being said, even if you breastfeed for a few weeks or a few months, it will be of great benefit to your child.
Finally, keep in mind that the best diet for breastfeeding moms is really not a complicated diet with hard-to-find foods that cost a lot of money. When you hear about breastfeeding diets, it isn’t really a diet per se. It is just a healthy way to eat that includes fresh foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a healthy additional 500 calories per day so the milk you make is perfect for the baby.
When you’re breastfeeding, everything that you eat or drink gets to the baby, so you must have a healthy diet that consists of meat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Trying to stay away from processed foods works best, and don’t forget to drink a lot of liquids to help provide those 500 extra calories per day that you need just to make the milk itself. If you ever feel lightheaded or ill in any way, your body may be telling you that you need to eat a little more.
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