As beneficial breastfeeding is for your baby and you, it can be equally challenging for your health. Did you know that lactating mothers require 500 kcal more than their regular diet? Or that Iron and Calcium are the two most crucial requirements for a healthy diet for a breastfeeding mother? Both inside and outside a mother’s womb, a baby relies on the mother for his health. A healthy diet goes a long way in providing the right the nutrients to your baby.
Sometimes babies can have reactions to certain kinds of food intake. There is no special diet for breastfeeding, but what you ought to balance is the blend of nutrients intake and the foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
In this article, you’ll know, all you need to know about foods to avoid when breastfeeding, what constitutes the best diet for breastfeeding and the food you should be relishing while you are breastfeeding! We bring to you the Do’s and Don’ts for the best and a healthy diet for a breastfeeding mother.
What to eat while breastfeeding?
For the first six months of the baby’s life, your breast milk is the only, and the most important source of nutrition. A healthy diet ensures sufficient and nutrition rich milk supply, and also provides you with the energy to fight fatigue. Food for breastfeeding mother plays a pivoting role in breastfeeding. If you are wondering what to eat while breastfeeding or what not to eat while breastfeeding, we list for you the must haves breastfeeding foods and diet.
- A Balanced Diet– A balanced diet includes carbohydrates (whole grains/potato/rice), proteins (meat/chicken/egg/pulses), fats (milk/curd), and fruits and vegetables for all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. The food for breastfeeding mother should have a balanced intake of nutrients.
- Nuts and Seeds – While breastfeeding, you will observe an increase in your appetite. Nuts and seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds are extremely rich in nutrition.
- Calcium and Vitamin D – You need calcium and Vitamin D for healthy bones, for both you and your baby. When breastfeeding, your body gets depleted of calcium. The best source for Vitamin D is of course sunlight, so sun bask as often as possible. Food like cheese, egg yolk, soy milk are other sources of Vitamin D. Calcium can be obtained from leafy vegetables, nuts, sesame seeds.
- Folic Acid and Lactation foods – 500 mg of folic acid every day can be a boon to your heart and facilitates growth in the baby during early stages of infancy. Lactation foods are the foods which play a role in directly increasing the milk supply. Oats, fennel yeast, garlic are some examples. There are also products like lactation cookies and teas available in markets which can act as good supplements.
Some nutrients you should definitely be adding in your diet include Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12, A, D, Iodine, Selenium and Choline. Remember to drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated. Food for breastfeeding mother affects the baby’s behaviors as well. We write more about it further in the article.
Foods to Avoid While breastfeeding
As important it is to know what to eat while breastfeeding, it should also be on the top of your mind to make decisions with respect to the foods to avoid while breastfeeding. We list for you everything you need to know about what not to eat when breastfeeding. Also note that, breastfeeding is different for different mothers. Playing around with your diet can help you determine the best foods for breastfeeding when it comes to you.
- Spicy foods – It is absolutely okay to eat spicy food unless your baby creates fussiness over it. If your baby cries or fusses around, you should restrain the intake of spicy food before breastfeeding.
- Cow’s milk – Most babies are allergic to cow’s milk proteins consumed by the mother. Refrain from consuming cow’s milk during the initial months of breastfeeding. You can check by consuming the milk once in a while, whether your baby has grown and become intolerant.
- High amount of carbohydrates and sugars– When it comes to foods to avoid when breastfeeding, high amount of carbohydrates and sugar intake is top of the charts. Some examples include- Onions, apples, mangoes, pulses, mushrooms and wheat products. They are bloating foods and can make the baby colicky. Carbohydrates and sugars are nevertheless very crucial to your diet, in a moderate amount.
- Caffeine – It is absolutely normal to consume caffeine when breastfeeding, but excess of caffeine can reach the baby. 200 mg is the maximum daily intake of caffeine you should confine to.
It does not matter what your diet is as long as it is healthy. If it is good for you, it is good for the baby. What not to eat when breastfeeding, also depends on your immunity and inherent allergies if any. Stay healthy and take care of yourself. Eat as often as you want to. There is no exclusive best diet for breastfeeding.
Fruits You Can Eat While breastfeeding
Fruits are nutrition dense. Eating fruits while breastfeeding is the ultimate source of vitamins and minerals. Fruits are the healthiest and best food for breastfeeding mothers when it comes to the intake of Vitamin A and Potassium. Nothing beats natural resources.
Some fruits you can eat while breastfeeding are listed below.
- Green Papaya – Green Papaya induces lactation. It is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E. As compared to ripe papayas they also have more potassium content. It is often used as a traditional alternative medication to improve lactation.
- Strawberries – If you are a fan of strawberries, you ought to relish them when breastfeeding. Strawberries are rich in iron, potassium,and Vitamin C. In case you are allergic, feel free to avoid, since allergies can transfer through breastfeeding.
- Banana – Banana is the best natural source for folic acid. Also, it helps you fight fatigue owing to the rich content of carbohydrates
- Chikoo (Sapodilla) – It is a high calorie and high fibre fruit. It can help you regenerate the calories you have lost while breastfeeding.
- Sweet Melon– Sweet melon provides a constant flow of vitamins and minerals. A rich water content and presence of Vitamin C make it very beneficial while breastfeeding.
- Oranges – Known for its citrus properties, and abundance of Vitamin C it boosts tissue reformation and growth for breastfeeding mothers.
- Blueberries– They have antioxidant properties. For both you and your newborn, it helps in fighting diseases.
- Apricots – Apricots help regulate the milk hormones (being phytoestrogens) thereby increasing lactation.
Fruits to avoid while breastfeeding
Fruits come with their own boons and benefits. However, there are some fruits to avoid while breastfeeding.
- Pineapple – Pineapple juice is extremely acidic. If it makes way through the breastmilk to the baby it can cause problems like rashes.
- Citrus fruits – A moderate amount of Vitamin C is good for you. But if it taken in excess, they can add acidic flavor to the breastmilk and also cause the baby to go through acidic reactions and vomiting.
- Cherries and Kiwi – Cherries and Kiwi are natural laxatives and are associated with gastric problems with the baby.
When it comes to fruits to avoid when breastfeeding, the best way to recognize the right and wrong is to observe how your baby is responding to your diet. Any signs of discomfort like indigestion, crying or fussiness can help you connect the dots. You should also visit your doctor if you are unable to recognize and continue to have problems when breastfeeding.
How much water to drink while breastfeeding?
If the next question on your mind is, “How much water to drink while breastfeeding?”, we have the answer you need.
The simplest answer to this question is that you should not shy away from drinking water at all, and should drink at any moment you want, and as much as you want. Your breastmilk is composed of 90% of water. Needless to say, it is of utmost importance to stay hydrated.
Also, the oxytocin hormone which is released during breastfeeding tends to make you more thirsty than usual. This is how your body ensures you stay hydrated. In case of dehydration, you will continue to produce breast milk up to the extent you are dehydrated to the maximum capacity. Your production can decrease, and it can be a concern to you and your baby’s health.
A requires adult requires 8 glasses of water a day. For a breastfeeding mother, this amount should range between 10-12 glasses a day. Just like there is no fixed diet for a breastfeeding mother, requirement can be different for every mother, and sometimes, the only way is to figure out as you go.
Is Drinking Alcohol While breastfeeding Allowed?
As surprising as it may seem, there is no prohibition to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Generally, a moderate amount of alcohol (One glass a day) is permissible. As evident, the diet for breastfeeding mother comes with minimum restrictions.
Alcohol consumption can be detected in the breast milk There should be a minimum gap of 2 hours between consuming alcohol and breastfeeding. Exposure to alcohol, beyond the moderate amount can affect milk ejection and short breastfeeding durations. For the baby, it can be a hindrance in growth and development.
Is Smoking while breastfeeding Allowed?
If you are addicted to smoking, breastfeeding is absolutely what you should not be doing. Your breast milk has the ability to protect your baby from diseases and any possible effects of being exposed to smoke.
It is always preferred that breastfeeding mothers should not smoke. The more you smoke, the more your baby will be at the risk of health conditions like asthma, ear infections, eye irritation, and allergies. For mothers, it can lead to low milk production, premature weaning, and hindered milk ejection.
Can I take Caffeine while breastfeeding?
Like we said, the diet for breastfeeding mothers comes with minimum restrictions. It is okay to consume caffeine up to a particular extent. The ideal amount is about 3/4th of a cup or 500mg. If you are a coffee fan, caffeine and breastfeeding are fine together. Take note that, like alcohol, caffeine over the moderate amount can also pass onto the baby through breastfeeding. Keep a gap of minimum two hours between consuming caffeine and breastfeeding.
We wish you a beautiful journey ahead. As long as you are eating healthy, we ensure that your diet is the best diet for breastfeeding. There is no special or routine diet necessary. Just do what you know, is best for your baby and you.