Your bundle of joy is finally here, and you cannot wait to start the exciting journey of motherhood. Among the top things on your list is probably losing that baby weight you put on and ensuring you give your child the best. One thing you cannot help but wonder is whether your diet will affect breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Diet Plan
One thing about breast milk that makes it amazing is that it meets your baby’s nutritional needs even when you are not eating well. This, though, does not mean you can eat anything. Your health is of top-most importance if you are to be the best mum to your baby.
Having a breastfeeding diet plan will help you be in good health and, this means that your baby will also be in good health. So, a healthy mum equals a healthy baby. You do not require a specific diet for this, but it helps to know what you are eating and how beneficial it is. Missing foods from a certain food group frequently or completely will directly impact you and the quantity and quality of your breast milk. The following constitutes what your breastfeeding diet plan should look like or put into consideration :
- MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET: Not just a balanced diet, but a well-balanced diet. This ensures that you are not missing nutrients that your body needs. In as much as missing a balanced diet may not affect your baby, it will affect you in a big way. This is because your body will draw the nutrients from its reserves, which will eventually become depleted. In the long run, this affects your strength and stamina.
- MONITOR WEIGHT LOSS: Yes, that baby weight you are carrying around is annoying you, but losing it abruptly or fast will not be in the best interest of your baby. This is because it will lower your milk supply, and hence, you will underfeed your baby, and no mother wants that. If you must lose that weight, do it slow and begin two months after childbirth. You should also know that frequent breastfeeding will help you lose a good amount of weight.
- FEED REGULARLY: Listen to your body when it is hungry feed it. Ensure you eat a healthy snack every three to four hours or when those hunger pangs start hitting you. This will help to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day and ensure you are physically able to take care of your child.
- STAY HYDRATED: This is a no-brainer; you need to be constantly hydrated when breastfeeding. A plus to this is that it increases your breast milk production (many mothers swear by this). If possible, avoid any form of caffeinated fluids and just stick to water.
- AVOID CAFFEINE: Caffeine passes into your breast milk, and it builds up in your child’s body as he/she cannot break it down or excrete it easily. If possible, limit intake of caffeinated drinks to just a cup per day.
- AVOID ALCOHOL: Alcohol intake while breastfeeding has been noted to affect the child as it gets into the milk. Your child may feed less and sleepless due to the alcohol traces in the breast milk. Most importantly, though, you will not be able to properly take care of your child when intoxicated.
- AVOID CONTAMINANTS: You may ingest chemicals that will find their way to your breast milk. So ensure that you are not in an environment that exposes you to risky chemicals and that you do not consume foods that contain the same. This requires you to maintain a high standard of hygiene.
- CONSUME GOOD FATS: This means that you should restrict your fat intake to unsaturated fats that can be found in avocados, nuts, fatty fish like salmon, and olive oil, among others. Consuming saturated fats may lead to cardiovascular health problems in both you and your baby.
- AVOID CERTAIN FOODS: This only applies if you have allergic reactions to certain foods or if you notice that your intake of certain foods is affecting your baby, i.e., giving them gas or rashes
TIP: Take a multivitamin supplement, not to replace your balanced diet but to act as insurance on those days when taking care of the baby keeps you from eating as well as you should (and we all know this happens, after all, motherhood is not easy).
BREASTFEEDING DIET FOODS :
The following is a brief summary of what foods your diet should contain. They include:
- Fruit : 3 servings of whole fruit or real fruit juice
- Veggies: 4 servings of leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc.)
- Dairy : 3 servings of milk and/or yogurt.
- Whole grains: 4 servings of brown bread.
- Lean protein : 3 servings of nuts, fish, beans, among others.
- Cheat meal: Indulge in your favorite food every 2 to 3 days.
Below is a sample of how your breastfeeding diet plan should look like food-wise.
You can snack as regularly as possible.
- To avoid constipation, take foods high in fiber such as; whole-grain bread and some fruits and exercise by walking
- Follow your meal plan and avoid skipping meals.
- Use healthy cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, grilling, or stir-frying.
- Plan your meals ahead of time to avoid being lazy in following up the meal plan.
- Trim fats from meat as they are the harmful kind. Also, avoid consuming chicken skin.
- Get plenty of sleep. This helps to keep your concentration, fuel your mood and control your eating patterns.
- Iodine is essential to your baby’s growth and brain development. So consume foods rich in iodine, especially seafood, and take supplements to boost the same.
- Diet and breastfeeding go hand in hand. This means that you must watch what you consume when breastfeeding to ensure that your baby grows healthy. If you have trouble making the right breastfeeding diet plan, consult a qualified nutritionist.
- No one was born a perfect mother, so do not beat yourself up for not getting it right the first time; no one ever has (well, except God). Take it one day at a time, stay consistent, and soon enough, you will get the hang of things.