How To: Eating Well While Breastfeeding
Here at Daily Mom we know just how busy the lives of new parents can get, especially in those first few months after your bundle of joy arrives. Mom and dad (but especially mom) need to eat well from the get-go. This post will give you all the guidelines of what, how and when a new Mommy (that’s you!) should eat.
First, lets go over the benefits of breastfeeding your baby:
- Breast milk has antibodies that go from you to baby to protect her from infections.
- Breastfeeding can help prepare your baby for different tastes and flavors.
- It encourages better bonding between mom and baby.
- It may reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Helps your baby’s brain development.
- Breastfeeding can satisfy a baby’s emotional needs.
- Baby can digest breast milk better than formula.
- Losing more weight (for mom) post partum has been linked to breastfeeding.
- Breast milk is free and convenient.
These are only SOME of the benefits breast milk has to offer. For a more extensive list visit this website.
While you are still in the expecting phase, we recommend you make some meals and freeze them. This will prove to be a huge help postpartum. You won’t have to spend much time cooking, and you will be happy to know you are consuming what you made. This will (hopefully) limit you to the amount of take-out food you order because, yes, you will still have cravings. This will also give you more time to focus on other things, like your new pooping, farting and burping bundle of love.
Although we know most moms worry about the extra weight they may have gained during pregnancy, now is not the time to be on any kind of diet. Your body will need the energy to keep up with breastfeeding, baby and everything else going on in your life!
When eating postpartum, there are a few things to consider:
- You will be hungry often, so make sure you are filling up on “good calories” and not empty calories.
- Consider the “Super foods”; see our pregnancy super foods post for more information.
- Pack protein into EVERY meal.
- You need to have a portion of each food group every day.
- Keep an eye out for what may irritate baby’s tummy if breastfeeding.
- Staying hydrated and drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is always recommended.
Try to fit these things into your daily diet:
- Protein: Try chicken, eggs, or a veggie option, such as tofu.
- Iron rich foods: Soybeans (beans, chickpeas, lentils,) 80% dark chocolate (yes we said it!) or ground beef.
- Vitamin C: Try fortified cereals, oranges or broccoli.
- Calcium: Milk (cow, almond, soy) low fat cheese, or dark leafy greens (kale, arugula).
- High fat foods: Nuts, avocados, or peanut butter.
- Fruits and veggies: Apples, mangos, raspberries, carrots, beets, or cucumber.
- Complex carbohydrates: Potatoes, rice, or whole grain breads.
- DHA rich foods: Salmon, seeds, or leafy vegetables.
- Try these Organic Prenatal Vitamins
Ever wonder what you should avoid, or ingest in moderation while you’re nursing?
- Fish: You should continue to avoid eating high-mercury fish, and any heavy metal fish should be eaten in moderation.
- Alcohol: While it’s considered to be safe to consume alcohol while nursing, it should be kept to a few drinks per week and preferably following a nursing session. This is so the alcohol can metabolize in hopes that less will be transferred to baby.
- Caffeine: Depending on where you left off, we don’t suggest getting straight back into the habit of drinking 3 or 4 cups a day. Try 1 or 2 cups a day and see if there are any changes in baby.
- Medicines: Remember when you had to be cautious of any medicine you took while pregnant? Same goes for a nursing mama.
Food and water can do many wonders for the body and soul. We believe if you follow these guidelines it will help with the stress and fatigue that a newborn can pour into your life. Although a new baby is a true blessing, they do not come without a drastic amount of change to our lives, and this can wear you down and make you feel tired. Taking care of a baby and being a mom really is a 24 hour 7 days a week kind of job, and sometimes you may feel like you don’t even have time to take care of yourself.
Want to look chic while drinking fluids? Try these fashionable bkr glass water bottles
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember these helpful hints:
- When someone offers help, take it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with have your parents, in-laws, sister, cousin, or friend, come over to cook you up a delicious healthy meal. You will most likely get some offers, and we advise you to say YES!
- When you do cook yourself a meal, make more of it. You can freeze the leftovers for another day.
- Eat small snacks throughout the day. If your baby is eating, you should also be eating. Remember to use different food groups and make it nutritious.
- Remember how we mentioned drinking water? Keep a Klean Kanteen close by to stay hydrated, its good for the environment too!
- Let your partner do the cooking. You have enough on your plate in those first few months. Sit back, relax, and have a meal made for you. After all, you did do most of the work to get that baby here.
Making healthy choices:
As mentioned above, breastfeeding mommies still have to consider what they are putting into their bodies. It is not time to give up that healthy lifestyle just because you are no longer pregnant. Baby is still getting all of her nutrients from YOU mom.
- Consider buying organic foods to make sure you and baby are getting the best.
- Watch out for any signs that your little one is bothered by any foods you are eating.
- Get a variety of different tastes.
We know not every mom can be healthy 100% of the time so just do your best. A woman’s body is absolutely amazing; it will take nutrients the body has stored away, and make your breast milk healthy. But, it’s important to remember that what you are eating is replenishing these nutrients! By eating a healthy, delicious and perfect balanced diet, you will stay energized and feel good.
For more information on diet and breast feeding have a look at this book Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
For some great healthy recipe ideas for the nursing mommy, check out these recipe posts: