You’re probably wondering why it’s very crucial to make changes with your diet when you start to breast feed. Don’t worry to take this risk, as this is very important for your baby’s growth and brain development. Breast milk is very resilient and just an automatic process. Your body will only extract what it needs from you to create it. Rest assured as long as you eat right and drink enough fluids, there will be plenty of milk that your baby can drink from you.
Though you really have to make a few adjustments especially to your diet so that your body can produce enough milk. Taking these changes can also provide you with mental and physical strength to take care of your baby during this post-partum period.
Here are some health tips for nursing moms.
Increase Your Calorie Intake
Increasing your calorie intake may be painful to hear but it’s important so that you can produce enough milk for your baby’s needs. It is highly recommended to increase your calorie intake by 200 calories during your pregnancy period. When you reach the breast feeding period, a total increase of 500 calories is a must. This also depends on how much you are breast feeding. Another alternative instead of counting your calorie intake is eating 3 small meals every 3 hours. This will ensure you high energy levels and stable blood sugar levels. Eating whole grains or starch, healthy fat and lots of protein can also help you to stay full for longer.
Ever feel that you’re lacking enough nutrients for your breast feeding needs? Taking prenatal vitamins with omega-3 fatty acids can help you regain those lost nutrients. It’s highly recommended that you continue taking prenatal vitamins while you’re still on breast feeding stage. This ensures that the nutrients you need such as folic acid, B12, and omega-3 fatty acids will be more than enough for you. Folic acid and B12 can help your baby’s brain and immune system development, while omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA can help for the development of your baby’s nervous system. It can also prevent depression and anxiety during your post-partum stage.
Stay Away from Environmental Contaminants
Such environmental contaminants like pesticides can easily find a way into your breast milk. In that case, educate yourself with Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” guidelines so that you’ll be aware which foods contains the highest or least amount of pesticide residues. You can also purchase organic or local fruits and vegetables. Locally grown fruit and vegetables contains less environmental contaminants. Always be careful in choosing what you eat, as exposure to such pesticides can have an impact on your infant’s developing nervous and hormonal systems.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is very important when your body is producing breast milk all day long. Always drink water throughout the day or before you feel thirsty. It is highly recommended to drink 1 cup of water each time you nurse. Stay away from caffeinated drinks during your breast feeding stage. And always choose filtered water, not those that are stored inside plastic containers. Having trouble drinking enough water? You can alternatively flavor your beverage with lemon, lime, or other fruits.
Reduce Your Caffeine
Never take too much caffeine in your nursing stage. This can lead to agitation, disrupt sleeping patterns, and bowel irritation for your infant. It’s perfectly normal to grab a cup of coffee during your sleepless nights. However, if your baby begins to show some negative effects because of your caffeine intake you may want to reduce it for a little. A maximum of 2 cups of caffeine a day is enough for you, and always remember to drink plenty of water as we have mentioned earlier.
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
If you’re an alcohol drinker, you may want to reduce it as your baby’s detoxification system during this stage is not yet fully developed. This may affect your baby’s milk consumption as alcohol can slow down your baby’s system development. There are also alcoholic beverages that can reduce your milk supply so you may want to avoid those. But if you really want to drink alcohol while nursing, you can alternatively store milk prior to drinking and avoid yourself on breast feeding for a while until alcohol is cleared from your body. 1 serving of alcohol takes approximately 3 hours before it gets cleared from your system, so you may have to wait a little bit longer.