As a new mother keeping yourself well-fed and energised is key, Feed Me 2 provide a guide on the best foods to eat when breastfeeding.
The direct link between what a mother eats and what her child consumes mean that, more than ever before, nutrition is of the utmost importance. Lauren Dangoor, founder of Feed Me 2, has compiled a list of the best foods to eat when breastfeeding and what to avoid.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C and Iron. These nutrients are fabulous for a baby’s growth, as well as being a great source of calcium and healthy antioxidants.
2. Seasonal Fruits
Fruits are brilliant sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The vitamin C in fruits has benefits in wound healing and this is fabulous for mothers who have had a c-section, citrus fruits such as oranges, tomatoes and lemons are great sources. Furthermore, apples and bananas help to keep energy supplies high throughout the day and keep the body healthy.
Eggs are a really great way to make sure your body is meeting its daily requirement of protein and a good for vitamin D. This combination of nutrients is an ideal combination for development, growth and strengthening of your infant’s bones and muscles and is therefore an essential in the diet of a new mother.
To make sure that milk is being produced at a proper rate of supply and demand, and to ensure that energy levels remain high, your body must remain well hydrated. As a new mother tries to be drinking lots of water, juices, soups, and milk, however caffeinated drinks should be avoided.
5. Whole Grains
Cereals such as oats, brown rice, barley etc. are sources of a wide range of nutrients such as: proteins, vitamins, iron and other minerals. They have a positive two-fold effect in providing a mother with energy and stamina but also being key players in the overall growth and development of your baby.
More Foods to Eat When Breastfeeding…
6. Organic Dairy Products
Your diet while breastfeeding must include generous quantities of organic dairy products such as milk and yoghurt. These products are a rich source of vitamin B, and vitamin D, and are brilliant sources of calcium. Calcium is key for a baby’s bone structure development and for a mother’s general health. If you are lactose intolerant soya or almond milk is a good alternative for foods to eat when breastfeeding.
7. Lean Meats
Fish and chicken can be classified rich in vital nutrients. Fish like salmon is jam-packed with DHA chicken is a great source of protein too, which is key for the development of your baby’s nervous system and for boosting overall growth. The nutrients in these two products also have a hugely positive effect in promoting the recovery and general well being for mothers postpartum.
Garlic has been used historically as a brilliant ingredient to promote lactation. As well as making foods far tastier, garlic helps to strengthen your immune system; this positively affects a baby being breastfed as well through its high content of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Carrots are being named not only for being delicious but also for being so rich in carbohydrates and potassium, both of which boost energy and stamina in lactating mothers. They are a vital source of Beta Carotene, which is required for the body during periods of lactation. The antioxidants in carrots are also a great way to shed off baby weight!
Pulses are a rich source of protein and iron, and are a fabulous way for vegetarian or vegan mothers to reach their daily requirements. Beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, kidney beans, alfalfa and black beans are great examples of nutrient packed pulses and good foods to eat when breastfeeding. They are however gas-inducing foods so should be consumed in moderation for the effect this may have on a baby’s passage of digestion.
Food and Drinks to Avoid When Breastfeeding
Professor Amy Brown, author of The Positive Breastfeeding Book, outlines the foods that are more likely to cause a reaction for your baby and dispels scaremongering about the foods to avoid when breastfeeding.
The good news is that in the majority of cases, you can carry on your normal diet. One of the great things about breastfeeding is that your milk changes in taste slightly, meaning breastfed babies are exposed to a whole range of different tastes and flavours.
Foods Causing Allergies
However, some babies can react to different foods that exist in your diet. Some of the more common foods to cause reactions are cows’ milk, eggs, wheat and peanuts. If there are other allergies in the family, it’s worth keeping an eye on your baby’s reactions to your breastmilk after eating certain foods.
However, it is important to note that their is a difference between your baby reacting to something you ate, and a normal bout of feeling unsettled. It’s unlikely that crying will the only sign. You should also look out for rashes on your baby, red or itchy eyes, excessive gas, disrupted sleep and mucousy or bloody stools. Your baby may also have lower weight gain, as they may not be absorbing the milk properly.
Despite a lot of discussion, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to caffeine consumption when breastfeeding. Just like adults, some babies will be more affected than others.
Caffeine does transfer to your breastmilk, but it’s unlikely that it will have an affect on your baby, unless you’re consuming over 750mg. This is equivalent to around four or five cups of coffee (although this does depend on the size of your cup).
Just as anything you eat can find it’s way into your breastmilk, any alcohol you drink can filter it’s way through too. However, it’s unlikely an occasional drink will cause any harm to your baby.
If you have a social occasion or a much needed night out with friends on the cards, there are ways to plan ahead to avoid exposing your baby to any alcohol in your milk. You could try avoiding breastfeeding for 2 to 3 hours. This allows time for the alcohol to leave your breast milk. You will need to make sure your breastfeeding routine is established before you try this or test out pumping your milk.
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