Breastfeeding moms can easily become so busy with baby, and perhaps other children, they forget to take time to nourish their bodies well. Making time to eat great food can be easy and offer a world of benefits.
Breastfeeding burns about 500 to 900 calories a day making it important to replenish these calories. Quality nutrition for breastfeeding moms helps moms heal from their delivery, not to mention helping them keep up with baby’s demands. So often moms are too busy to realize it’s already after noon and they haven’t eaten all day. Or maybe you just grabbed a doughnut or piece of toast to tide you over. This type of eating does nothing to help you recover or have enough energy to keep up with the rigorous schedule of breastfeeding in the early weeks. Wholesome foods, even quick snacks of fruit or nuts, help you recover easier and faster.
Protein is important to include with every meal as it is one of the building blocks of fueling our bodies. Instead of just a piece of toast, add a bit of peanut butter; rather than having a plain glass of milk, put Carnation Instant Breakfast in it. Dairy products are a good source of calcium and protein. It’s also quick and easy to have some yogurt, cottage cheese or chunk of cheese. Choosing low fat or no fat options will reduce the number of calories. Nuts are also a handy source of protein and there is a wide selection of protein bars to choose from.
There will be many times when you are too tired to cook dinner. Do not worry! There are many good, healthy choices of frozen dinners to choose from that take a few minutes to microwave. Take advantage of friends and family that offer to bring meals over. No time to be super mom and decline any offers of help!
Any foods that contain oatmeal and/or malt are good for the milk supply. If you are struggling to keep up with baby’s demand or not pumping enough milk at work, these foods can help boost supply. Oatmeal or malt-o-meal for breakfast make a great start to your day. Having oatmeal cookies or cereal bars handy for snacks will help curb cravings and give you a quick pick-me-up. Make malts at home with your favorite ice cream and malt flavoring; add Ovaltine to milk or ice cream.
Breastfeeding moms need to be getting 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium a day. If you aren’t getting enough dairy or using non-dairy milk, make sure to take a calcium supplement with Vitamin D to help with absorption. Vegetarian moms need additional Vitamin B12 supplements. Fortified orange juice is another excellent source of not only calcium, but a vast array of vitamins and nutrients.
Caffeine is the one food that needs to be kept to a minimum. Babies can become very fussy and irritable with too much caffeine in their breastmilk causing them not to sleep well. A little chocolate isn’t a big deal, but keep other sources of caffeine (such as coffee, caffeinated beverages and teas) to about a serving a day when your baby is a newborn.
Some moms may find an occasional food that makes baby more fussy or gassy such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or beans. What bothers your newborn now may not be an issue when baby is one to two months old. If a food doesn’t bother your baby 4 to 6 hours after you’ve eaten it, then it no longer is an issue. Babies are exposed to many flavors while breastfeeding, including garlic, which may help them be more receptive to new tastes as they get started on solid foods.
While you are nursing, a lot of fluid is leaving the body as breastmilk so it’s important to replenish with lots of water. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water every time you sit down to nurse or pump. Have it within your reach so you can sip on it during the feeding or pumping session.
Nutrition and breastfeeding does not need to be complicated. Make sure you are getting a good variety of foods that include protein (such as meat, dairy, nuts or beans), fruits and vegetables. A variety of colors on your plate means you have included a good selection of these foods. Even moms who don’t eat well make good breastmilk, but eating healthy benefits both you and your baby.
Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime with your concerns. I am here to assist you in any way I can.