A new mother has a number of problems that she always worries about. Breastfeeding mothers can get conscious about the nutritional intake they need to ensure their milk is healthy for the child. In addition to this, their health also needs to be taken care of with a healthy diet.
A balanced diet is important for a breastfeeding mother. Make sure to include plenty fruits and vegetables in your diet. Proteins like pulses, fish, eggs or lean meat should also be included. Dairy products like yoghurt and milk are essential, while starchy food items like rice, bread, pasta and whole grains add much-needed nutrition to the diet.
Vitamins A, C and D can be taken with advice from you physician.
Being a new mother can be taxing, and you may allow yourself to ignore your diet due to time constraints. But remember, you need your energy resources and preserve your health to be able to look after the baby.
Too strict a diet is not required. But certain elements should be avoided, as what you eat makes its way into your breastmilk. Certain babies may react adversely to cow’s milk. If they show symptoms like constipation or diarrhoea, hives, rash around the mouth, runny nose, vomiting, or swollen face, deduce that cow’s milk may have to be avoided and consult your physician.
Fish fans beware. Limit portions of shark, swordfish or marlin to one in a week as these might contain traces of mercury. Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel should be limited to two portions in a week. Canned tuna can be eaten to your heart’s content.
Try and avoid caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee. It is recommended that caffeine intake is kept below 300mg a day during breastfeeding. Herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee can be opted for instead.
Refrain from more than two units of alcohol, once or twice a week. Alcohol passes directly through your breastmilk to the baby. It’s best to cut it out of your schedule for the first three months. The baby feeds often, and you will not have enough time between feeds to let it wash out of your system.
Breastfeeding mothers tend to feel more thirst. So stay well hydrated.
It is a normal tendency for breastfeeding mothers to feel more hungry all the time. So in case you are losing your appetite, you may have postnatal depression. You should consult a therapist in such a case.
Having said that, you don’t need to consume extra calories while breastfeeding. Your body puts on weight during pregnancy. These stores of fat are used to make breast milk. So eat as your body guides you to, do what comes naturally.
You will gradually lose weight during this time. About one to two pounds a week is natural. However, weight till your postnatal checks some six to eight weeks after delivery before you decide to consciously diet and lose weight. Advice from you physician and local support groups can be helpful during postnatal weight loss.
This is a trying, but magical time. So stay healthy and stay safe.