You already know that breast milk is the best food for your baby, but what about your feeding while breastfeeding? We interviewed a dietician to find out what to eat while breastfeeding and to answer your doubts and questions.
While breastfeeding , you do not need to follow a special diet, but what you eat must be nutritionally balanced. In other words, you need to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, whole grains such as oats, brown rice, cereals and bread that have “whole grain” on the label. These foods, as well as potatoes, pasta and couscous, also ensure a high intake of starch, an important source of energy.
Additionally, you need lean protein (excellent protein sources are eggs, legumes, lentils, fish and lean meat) and healthy fats, found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish. , such as salmon or mackerel. Blue fish is excellent for the health and development of the child; however, you shouldn’t consume more than two servings (around 140g) (or more than one serving of swordfish, shark, or marlin) per week, as it may contain pollutants.1
Should I take vitamins while breastfeeding?
Vitamin D is essential. It is for healthy bones, both for you and for your baby, much of the intake happens with exposure to sunlight. If you live in a place with little sunshine, especially during the winter, your body may have difficulty producing enough vitamin D; therefore, it is advisable to use supplements (your health care advisor will be able to advise you on this).2
Also, make sure you’re getting enough calcium, as its stores are depleted during breastfeeding .3Aim to consume four servings a day of dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, or non-dairy products including nuts, tofu, sesame seeds, and green leafy vegetables. One serving could be equivalent to half a bowl of green vegetables or a small 50g piece of cheese.
Foods to avoid while breastfeeding: what are they?
The good news is that, aside from limiting the amount of oily fish consumed, there are no specific foods to avoid while breastfeeding your baby. Caffeine and alcohol are also fine, within reasonable limits (read on for more advice).
Plus, unless you’re allergic to peanuts, there’s no reason to avoid peanut-based foods while breastfeeding. In fact, the latest research suggests that if you consume peanuts while breastfeeding by introducing them to your newborn’s diet within the first year of life, the baby is less likely to become intolerant.4
Do I Need Extra Calories While Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding moms need about 500 more calories per day than non-breastfeeding moms; however, every woman is different and your energy needs change throughout the breastfeeding journey.5The amount of calories you need depends on your baby’s age, size and appetite, as well as your body mass index (BMI), how active you are, and factors such as whether or not to breastfeed your baby. breastfeeding exclusively or breastfeeding two or more twins .
Can i follow a diet while breastfeeding?
It’s not a good idea to try to lose weight while breastfeeding (you need to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you and your baby need). The fat you accumulate during pregnancy is used to make breast milk; therefore, breastfeeding your baby helps you lose the pounds you have gained.
If you find yourself gaining or losing more than about 1 kg per week, ask yourself if you are following a healthy and balanced diet, modify it if necessary and consult a healthcare professional for more advice.
How can I find time to prepare a healthy meal?
Normally we tend to focus on feeding the baby rather than on our own; however, be careful not to fill up on cookies and treats! It’s understandable, but you’re not doing your body any favors!
Go for fast, nutritious dishes like scrambled eggs with spinach or stir-fried chicken with brown rice. Eating porridge (oatmeal) in the morning is great, because oats and soluble fiber provide a slow release of energy (if you’ve been feeding your baby at night you need to regain energy!).
Prepare chopped fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator for a quick snack or keep a small bag of unsalted nuts in your bag. These two solutions are simpler than trying to peel a mandarin with one hand while breastfeeding!
Should I Drink More Water While Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding can make you thirsty, so it’s important to keep yourself well hydrated. Everyone should have six to eight glasses of fluids a day, but even more while breastfeeding.6Learn to sip a glass of water, milk, or unsweetened fruit juice every time you breastfeed your baby.
I love coffee: should I avoid caffeine?
Like anything you eat or drink, caffeine passes into your breast milk; therefore, it is advisable to limit its intake during breastfeeding. Official recommendations on caffeine limits vary from country to country; however, most of them recommend not taking more than 200-300 mg per day (300 mg equals two cups of filtered coffee or four cups of tea). Talk to your trusted health care advisor about what’s right for you. Don’t forget that caffeine is also found in cola-cola and energy drinks; in addition, a small bar of dark chocolate can contain up to 50 mg.7
Can i drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Many breastfeeding moms choose to stop drinking alcohol. However, occasional alcohol consumption during breastfeeding has been shown to have no adverse effects on infants.8However, it is advisable to avoid taking it until the baby is more than three months old, after which to consume some alcoholic drinks occasionally (for example a glass of wine (125 ml).
If you consume an alcoholic beverage, wait at least a couple of hours for the alcohol to be handled by your body before the next feed.9Alternatively, you could have a small drink while you are breastfeeding your baby, as he will have finished feeding by the time the alcohol has entered your body. For peace of mind, if you plan to consume an alcoholic drink, you can express and store the milk in advance to give it to your baby on the next feed.
Keep in mind that alcohol can temporarily reduce milk production; therefore, if you drink alcohol your child may seem hungrier and will want to eat more.8
Will my baby be less demanding in the future if I eat all of it?
Breast milk takes on the flavor of the foods you eat.10As a result, if you choose a varied diet while breastfeeding by exposing your baby to different tastes, your baby may end up liking those flavors in the future.
If you like spicy dishes there is no reason to avoid them when breastfeeding. When I had my first daughter, I ate a lot of spicy food. When I was two, I took her to Sri Lanka and, although it may be just a coincidence, she ate everything!
Is there anything in my diet that my baby doesn’t like?
Young children are often irritable or lively, and of course, moms wonder if it’s caused by something they ate. It probably isn’t. Research suggests that the percentage of babies allergic to an element found in breast milk is just over 1%.11Cow’s milk, eggs, corn, or soy protein in maternal nutrition are the most common causes of allergy, not the spicy foods, hot sauce, or cruciferous vegetables that moms sometimes believe can cause a reaction.
If your baby is allergic to something in your milk, he may experience excessive vomiting, a rash, blood in his stool, or persistent congestion. If your baby has a food intolerance, he is likely to exhibit behavioral symptoms, such as throwing tantrums and crying after a feed, as well as reflux, diarrhea, and bringing his knees to his chest. If you suspect something is wrong, see a healthcare professional. He may advise you to eliminate a particular food for a couple of weeks and reintroduce it to see if anything changes in your baby.
You could also keep a food diary – write down everything you eat and drink, as well as all of your baby’s symptoms (you may notice patterns). Remember to always consult a healthcare professional before eliminating a food group, such as dairy products, as you must get the nutrients provided from other sources. Depending on where you live you may be referred to a dietician or other specialist.
Does being a vegetarian affect my breast milk?
As long as you are getting enough calories and getting all the nutrition your body needs (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals) you have nothing to fear. Mothers who follow a vegetarian and vegan diet while breastfeeding should make sure they are getting large amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids; So choose foods or supplements that make these vital nutrients available to you.
If you are on a vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic or other diet, consult a healthcare professional to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need.