As a breastfeeding mom, you’re expending energy twenty-four hours a day. At this important time in your life, good nutrition is vital to your baby’s health as well as your own. You need a proper breastfeeding diet to ensure that both of you are getting the necessary nutrients. You also want to learn what to eat and what to avoid while nursing. Here’s a breastfeeding diet plan to guide you when nursing your newborn.
Facts About Breastfeeding
Your baby’s health depends a lot on the quality and quantity of your breast milk. The quality of breast milk is only affected by extreme deprivation or intake of a certain food. However, the quantity of milk depends very much on what your diet is.
If you don’t feed yourself properly, your newborn may still be healthy, but you’re putting your own health at risk. This is because if you’re not getting enough nutrients while breastfeeding, your body will treat milk production as its first priority. Then your own nutritional needs won’t be satisfied. That’s why you need a good diet while nursing.
Proper Diet While Breastfeeding
Increase your water consumption – you need to drink about 2.5 quarts (2.366 L or 2,366 c.c.) of water daily. Water is a main ingredient in milk production, so you need to supply your body with enough of it in addition to your own need. But don’t overdo this because excessive water consumption can reduce milk production.
Increase your caloric intake – you need about 2,500 calories per day during this crucial period. But it’s important to remember that you should stick to healthy foods such as proteins instead of sweets. As a rule of thumb, eat one gram of protein for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, then your daily protein consumption should be 120 grams.
Increase the number of meals – as your body is producing milk continually every day, it’s more beneficial for you to spread your caloric intake over 5 regular meals. Besides your usual breakfast, lunch and dinner, you may add an afternoon snack and another snack in the evening.
Eat food rich in Vitamin B9 (folic acid) – folic acid is necessary for the development of your baby’s nervous system. If you’re breastfeeding, you can increase your consumption of foods containing folic acid such as cabbage, spinach, peas, and asparagus.
Consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium – as your daily needs for calcium rises from 800 mg to 1,200 mg, you need a balanced nursing diet to supply this mineral to your body. You can achieve this calcium needs by eating rawer vegetables, nuts such as almond and hazelnuts, and dairy products.
What To Avoid While Nursing
Avoid tobacco -nicotine goes right to the breast milk so nursing mothers are advised to stay away from smoking.
Avoid alcohol – as alcohol in large quantities can slow down the growth of the baby
Do not take medication without consulting a doctor – as most types of medications such as antibiotics are harmful for the baby, you need to be careful about taking them.