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Breastfeeding: Good Nutrition Helps

One of the principal decision a mother to be can make is breastfeeding, to give her newborn the best possible beginning in life. Breastfeeding ensures the thriving start to an infant's life and provides vital benefits for both mother and baby.


Whether you are a new mom or a seasoned parenting Pro breastfeeding often comes with a fair share of questions. What should I eat? How much should I eat? It is very important to eat well when you are breastfeeding. The prime concern for a mother should be her diet while breastfeeding. When you are breastfeeding your diet doesn't have to be perfect instead it should be healthy. A healthy diet is all it really takes for a breastfeeding mother to maintain her continuous milk supply.


Necessary Food Products during Breastfeeding


Still, certain key elements of the breastfeeding diet are of paramount importance when your body is producing milk.



FOLIC ACID


One of the most important vitamin for pregnant women is FOLIC ACID. It encourages normal fetal development. Folic acid continues to play a vital role even after childbirth i.e during breastfeeding. Nursing mothers should take at least 400-600 micrograms of folic acid in her diet to ensure a good supply of milk, and baby’s normal development.


Folic acid is easily excreted into the urine because of its water-soluble property, therefore, there should be a constant supply of folic acid to the body through diet and other supplements. Deficiency of the Folic acid in expecting mothers can have significant negative effects on unborn Baby’s brain development. A well-planned diet should easily keep your system well-supplied with the folic acid.


Green leafy vegetables like Spinach, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, and Romaine Lettuce are an excellent source of folic acid. They contain about 70-250 microgram of folic acid. Some other sources of folic acid are Asparagus, Broccoli, Avocado, Okra, Brussels Sprout, Cauliflower, Corn, Celery, Carrot, and Squash.


Citrus fruits like Papaya, Oranges, Grapefruit, Strawberries, Raspberries contains about 20-100 micrograms of folic acid. Beans and peas also contain a good amount of folic acid (40-350 micrograms).



CALCIUM


Calcium is secreted from your bones into your breastmilk to meet your baby’s calcium requirement, hence the continuous supply of calcium to the body is very necessary for both mother and her baby. The recommended amount of calcium for a breastfeeding mother (18-50 yrs) is 1000 milligrams daily to protect themselves from bone loss during lactation. This quantity of calcium assures that your bones will remain strong even after breastfeeding and it also decreases the risk of osteoporosis in later life.


Breastfeeding mothers should consume 3 serving of dairy products daily to meet their calcium requirement. Milk is an excellent source of calcium. You can also get the calcium you need from Yogurt (1 cup = 300 mg of calcium), Unprocessed Cheese like for eg cheddar cheese (1.5 cups = 300 mg of calcium), Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons = 300 mg of calcium).


Breastfeeding mothers those who are allergic to dairy products, need not worry. Calcium-fortified juices, Tofu, Calcium-fortified soy milk, Oranges, Calcium-fortified bread are some of the other rich sources of calcium.


PROTEIN


 


Protein is one of the important constituents of breast milk. Proteins are the building blocks of new tissue and play a vital role proper development of the body. It is very important for a breastfeeding mother’s growth and her baby’s health. Pregnant women and lactating mother need more than double the amount of protein than other women. For the maximal and continuous supply of breast milk, lactating mother should consume a protein-rich diet. the recommended allowance of protein for a lactating mother and pregnant women is 71 grams daily.


Eggs (2-3 per serving) are the plenteous source of protein, a lactating mother should add eggs to her daily diet to meet the desideratum amount of protein. 2-3 servings of lean meat, 3 ounces of poultry, and 3 ounces of fish contain a generous amount of protein. Milk and other dairy products like cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt can also be included in the daily diet by breastfeeding mothers for protein intake.


IRON


Iron helps maintain energy levels in lactating mothers. At times, an expecting mother becomes anemic during and after pregnancy (maternal iron depletion) because of high nutrient demand and loss of blood. Anemia can be treated by consuming iron-rich foods. Iron is absorbed in a newborn through breastmilk. Breast milk contains Vitamin C which helps in absorption of iron in babies. Dark leafy vegetables and lean meat are the good sources of iron. Iron-fortified cereals can also be taken by breastfeeding mothers to meet their daily iron requirements. Lactating mothers should avoid drinking tea as it may interfere with absorption of iron.


DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID (DHA)


It is an Omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acid is essential for the development of infant’s eye and brain. Lactating mothers should consume a high amount of DHA rich foods to increase the levels of Omega-3 in breast milk. The daily requirement of DHA levels in breastfeeding mothers is 200-300 milligrams. Seafood (herring fish, tuna fish, salmon) meals are the ideal meals to increase DHA levels in breast milk.


WATER


An inadequate supply of water and other liquids can negatively affect your milk production. Breastfeeding mothers should be hydrated in order to increase milk supply.

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