Breastfeeding mothers should always maintain a balance and healthy diet, and takes plenty of fluids to produce more breast milk. Your daily diet shall include all the basic food groups such as calcium, protein, iron and vitamin. Breastfeeding mothers normally require more calories than a new mother without breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding fully, your diet shall include 2700 kcal per day. However, your calories intake shall be reduced after weaning from breastfeeding to 1800 kcal per day. It is very common that you will feel thirstier; therefore, it is essential for you to drink enough water to quench your thirst. You could also drink a glass of water before and after you breast feed.
A healthy breastfeeding diet is more on good quality of food rather than the quantity of food. A healthy daily diet shall include:
1. 50% of grain (such as oatmeal, cereal, wheat germ etc)
2. 20% of vegetables, beans and peas (such as carrots, pumpkin, spinach or other green vegetables, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, soybeans, red beans, kidney beans, pinto beans etc)
3. 10% of fruits (such as prunes, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, honeydew melon)
4. 10% of various nuts, seeds and seaweed (such as almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanut, peanut butter, sunflower seed etc), and 5. Last but not least 10% of meat and fish (such as lean beef, pork, lamb, shrimp, clams, oysters, cod, rainbow trout, halibut etc). 6. You could also add some milk products to your diet such as low-fat milk and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
Good foods that help in maintaining a healthy and balance diet for breastfeeding:
1. Beans and peas like soybeans, kidney beans etc are your source of protein. They also rich in vitamin B. It is a good source of food to lose weight while breastfeeding without affecting the quality of breast milk.
2. Raisin, almond and others nuts contain higher iron, calcium and fiber than fresh fruits, and also a very good replacement for fruits which might lead to gaining weight.
3. Clams, oyster, dried scallop are enriched with iron. You could add this group of food into your diet to prevent anemia.
4. Seaweed is a high fiber, zero-calorie food which also helps in reducing cholesterol. 5. Spinach, cabbage and green vegetables would improve the metabolism of your body.
Nursing mothers need to aware on certain food intake, as any food that you have included in your diet would pass into your breast milk. You are advice to avoid taking a lot of spices, vinegar, ginger and sesame oil. Fish like swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tilefish are not suitable for you as a breastfeeding mom, as these fish contain high levels of mercury. You are also advice to avoid any alcoholic beverages. Beverages with caffeine such as coffee also not recommended. However, a moderate amount such as 2 cups a day would not affect much on your breast milk if you cannot avoid it. You shall stop smoking if you are a smoker. Even the secondhand smoke is not good.
Breastfeeding mothers are advised to aware that any drugs should be taken under a professional description. Although the amounts of drugs which will be presented in the breast milk is low and the concentration is too low to cause any hazard to the baby, you are urged to get the professional advice before taking any drugs. You should seek professional advice on the suitability used of any drug before attempting for self medication.
Breatfeeding your baby requires extra calories in your diet; therefore, you need to ensure that your diet and food that you take daily includes all the essential diet in the food groups. The type of food you take will affect the quality of your breast milk for your baby.