Breastfeeding mothers often wonder if they’re eating a well-balanced diet. Lactating women are in search of the best meal plan out there. After all, breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for babies.
What is an ideal plan for breastfeeding mothers? What foods are good for breastfeeding mothers? What food and drinks should breastfeeding moms avoid? Can women start their weight loss journey while breastfeeding?
This article discusses the diet that breastfeeding mothers should follow. It also includes the food to avoid and the possibility of losing weight while breastfeeding. For more information on a healthy pregnancy and parenting, you may also visit Motherhood Community.
Please note, while the Spatz3 is currently not available for pregnant or breastfeeding women, this article will provide a wealth of information on the subject of remaining healthy while and after breastfeeding.
What a Healthy Breastfeeding Diet Looks Like
A healthy diet plan for lactating mothers is essential for both her and the baby. A good diet helps produce milk, which plays an improved role in the growth and development of a baby.
Eating the right food can promote positive outcomes in a baby’s growth, especially in the first six months. An unhealthy diet plan can negatively affect the mother and baby.
Women can develop postpartum depression (PPD) after having a baby, usually around six weeks after giving birth. Lifestyle changes, such as a balanced diet, can help boost a person’s well-being. There are several ways to improve lactating women’s moods.
What Food to Eat While Breastfeeding
When a lactating woman produces milk, the body needs extra calories. Breastfeeding makes women get hungry more often than usual. Nutrient deficiencies in breastfeeding moms can cause serious problems such as maternal depletion syndrome.
Maternal depletion syndrome happens when a breastfeeding mother doesn’t get enough vitamins, nutrients, and energy from their diet. A healthy diet plan for a lactating mother aids her physical and emotional recovery. A breastfeeding mom needs an extra 330 to 400 kilocalories (kcal) per day.
A well-balanced meal plan for a breastfeeding mother includes suitable sources of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Here are diet considerations for lactating women:
Fruit and vegetables can provide the fiber a breastfeeding woman needs, and they promote good gut health as they contain essential vitamins and nutrients for digestion. A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables also helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Breastfeeding can take a lot of energy, and a lack of iron can worsen the situation. It can make breastfeeding mothers feel tired most of the time. Meat and poultry can be good sources of iron. Iron can help in energy preservation and body temperature regulation. Getting enough iron helps in the prevention of iron deficiency in lactating moms.
Calcium is another vital nutrient in breastfeeding. It helps a breastfeeding mom recover better as it supports the nervous system. The daily amount of calcium recommended for breastfeeding moms is 1,300 mg. Some good sources of calcium are low-fat dairy products, yogurt, and hard cheeses.
What Food to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Particular food and beverages can change the taste of the milk a lactating mother produces. Studies show that the taste of breastmilk doesn’t affect its quality. However, certain products a breastfeeding mom eats can cause harm to her breastmilk.
It would be best if breastfeeding moms avoid caffeinated drinks. A certain amount of caffeine a lactating mom consumes will be part of her breast milk. Healthwise, it does not harm the baby, but babies process caffeine longer than adults, which can affect their sleep.
Like drinks with caffeine, alcohol is another beverage that affects breast milk. Drinking alcoholic beverages while breastfeeding cause agitation and poor sleep for the baby.
Some fish are part of the list of food to eat while breastfeeding, except for those high in mercury. Mercury is a metal found in some fish that can be toxic. Fish that are high in mercury can be harmful to a breastfeeding mom as her body can absorb the mercury she feeds her baby through breastfeeding. Babies are sensitive to mercury poisoning.
Fish high in mercury include:
- King mackerel
- Bigeye tuna
Consuming these fish and breastfeeding can affect a baby’s central nervous system. Including fish high in mercury in a lactating mom’s diet can impair the baby’s speech, cognition, and visual-spatial abilities.
Breastfeeding and Weight Loss
Most women gain an average of 30 pounds when they get pregnant. Some mothers naturally shed their pregnancy weight, while others struggle to lose weight.
BMI (body mass index) is a good indicator of body fat. It can tell whether a lactating mom has a healthy body weight or not.
It is essential for lactating women to feel healthy and have enough energy. It would be best for breastfeeding moms to avoid a restrictive diet. Experts recommend women add exercise to their routine to lift their mood and prevent postpartum depression.
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