Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to give your baby the nutrition they need, but you need the right food and drinks, too! Here are some tips for breastfeeding nutrition to help you and your baby stay healthy and comfortable during the lactation period.
What food should I eat if I breastfeed?
When breastfeeding, always eat a wholesome and balanced diet to keep healthy. That ensures that you produce enough breast milk. Your body needs about 400 to 500 more calories per day for lactation. So your body needs enough resources to keep you strong and healthy.
Many women lose weight in a natural way. If you are not one of the lucky few who bounces back to their pre-pregnancy size really quickly while breastfeeding, take heart! It takes most of us more time. Be healthy, stay active, but we don’t recommend crash diets and ridiculously fast weight loss during this time. Many women want to lose their baby weight as quickly as possible, so they cut out fat or carbohydrates from their diet.
While there’s nothing wrong with losing weight after giving birth, remember: Your body was preparing for having a baby for nine months. It will also need nine months to fully recover. So give yourself time to regain your old shape. Cutting out nutrients is not the right way to eat while breastfeeding. Your body needs fat, proteins and carbohydrates for producing breast milk.
Which foods should I avoid while breastfeeding?
An old wives tale is that your diet influences the child’s digestion. However, many women still believe that certain foods cause flatulence in their baby and therefore refrain from eating them. Breast milk is made from blood, not your stomach contents. So it doesn’t matter if you eat onions or cole slaw. If your baby really does have flatulence, it’s usually caused by something else. To rule out food intolerance or allergies, for example, consult your pediatrician.
What does a balanced diet while breastfeeding look like?
A balanced diet during breastfeeding isn’t that different than a normal nutritious eating plan. You should choose whole grain products as well as fresh vegetables and fruits. Many mothers get hungry while breastfeeding and always have a sliced apple or a fresh banana within reach. Lactation bites are also a healthy snack for breastfeeding mommies. Ask a friend or family member to prepare them for you.
Also, don’t forget your proteins and healthy fats. Half an avocado with scrambled eggs is a perfect and easily cooked lunch. A handful of almonds or walnuts are a highly recommended topping for your dinner salad.
What do I drink while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding women also need more fluids. Your body needs to produce a sufficient amount of breast milk, so it’s important to drink enough during the months you’re breastfeeding.
Throughout the day you should drink 2.5-3 liters (around to 100 ounces). If you don’t drink enough, you can significantly impair milk production.
Unsweetened mild fruits and herbal teas are optimal. Many midwives also recommend so-called breastfeeding teas with anise and fennel to stimulate milk production. Peppermint and sage tea, on the other hand, inhibit milk production. Mild juice spritzers are quick thirst quenchers and provide energy. Carbonated water is great, but not as hydrating as still water, so opt for still over sparkling.
You should drink some drinks sparingly when breastfeeding. Caffeinated drinks, black and green tea can make your baby restless. When you are not used to drinking coffee, it can also affect your blood pressure. Colas contain way too much sugar and toxins. Pure juices and smoothies might be too acidic and, in sensitive babies, lead to a sore bottom.
Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
While breastfeeding, there are a few things you should really do without. These include nicotine and drugs of all kinds. Only consume alcohol in very small quantities, and wait until your child is older and no longer exclusively breastfed.
That means a small glass of wine to toast with at your girlfriend’s wedding is perfectly okay. But you shouldn’t regularly drink alcoholic beverages. If you do choose to have a few drinks, you can use a system like MilkScreen that will measure the alcohol in your breastmilk so you know whether or not it’s safe to feed that to your baby. You can always “pump and dump” if you need to.
In addition, you should wait at least two hours between drinking alcohol and breastfeeding. Many women don’t drink alcohol at all during the months of breastfeeding, as the risk of irreparable damage to the child is simply too great for them. La Leche League, for example, states: “Alcohol abuse (excessive drinking) by the mother can result in slow weight gain or failure to thrive in her baby. The baby may sleep excessively, or may not suck effectively leading to decreased milk intake. The baby may even suffer from delayed motor development.
Can I still take my medication while breastfeeding?
Just like cigarettes and alcohol, medication can also affect a nursed child. However, Dr. Thomas Hale states in his 2017 book Medications and Mother’s Milk that “most drugs do not enter milk in levels that are hazardous to a breastfed infant.”
So be careful that the medicine that causes no harm to your baby. Unfortunately, many doctors and pharmacists aren’t sure which medications are safe for breastfeeding. They rely on the package insert, which almost always cautions against prescribing the medication to pregnant or lactating mothers. To find medication safe for breastfeeding, it is important to check reliable sources for up-to-date research-based information.
The Infant Risk Center of Texas Tech University has a huge database for medication that is safe to take during pregnancy and lactation. Another great source is LactMed®.
At which places should I not breastfeed?
Breastfeeding is perhaps the most natural thing in the world, but many people feel offended when a mother nurses her baby in a public place. They think of it as exhibitionism when a mother exposes her breast to feed her infant.
Understandably, many mothers don’t want to disturb anybody while feeding their babies. If you were to breastfeed openly in a place like a wedding ceremony, for example, you’d probably draw attention away from the bride.
So while there isn’t necessarily a place that’s taboo for breastfeeding (though a wedding, funeral, religious services would rank up there), it might be a great idea to invest in a nursing cover like a Hooter Hider or Bebe Au Lait. That way you can feed your baby without exposing yourself to everyone. There’s also special clothing that helps you to nurse without getting half-naked. Nursing clothes are stylish and available for all occasion.
And then there are also some mothers, that simply prefer to breastfeed in a quiet place. Especially when their baby gets distracted easily. All in all, it is your decision, when and where to breastfeed.
And don’t forget to ask questions to family members on FamilyApp. They might have some great tips and advice.