The food you ate during your pregnancy period fuel you and your baby. The diet post-delivery is equally important. It helps your body recover and gives you the energy you need to care for your little one. During breastfeeding, the quality of breast milk changes every feed in response to the baby’s need. But there’s a catch: When you aren’t getting the needed nutrients from your diet, your body will use up what it has in store from before.
You may not be “eating for two” anymore but your body needs to restore a lot of important nutrients for both you and your newborn. During breastfeeding, your body and baby use a lot of energy and nutrients. It is very important that your diet supplies the nutrients you need during breastfeeding to ensure the well-being of both you and your little one.
“One basic practice you can start with is a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. Make time to sit down for a quick snack or meal – even if it means handing your baby to your partner or help for a few minutes. It is this quick snack or meal that will give you the extra energy you need to take care of both yourself and your baby. Always remember to make every meal count”, said Dr Roya Mankar, Obstetrician, Breastfeeding Promotion Network Of India.
Here are some superfoods that will help all you new mothers provide your baby with better nutrition and lose some of the pregnancy weight
Salmon is a powerhouse of nutrition for new mothers. It is loaded with DHA, which is crucial to the development of your baby’s nervous system. However, consuming salmon for more than 2 meals a week is not advised as you need to be aware of the amount of mercury your baby is getting exposed to.
Low-fat dairy products
Food items like yogurt, milk, or cheese, dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. Dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium and are packed with protein and vitamin B and while you’re breastfeeding, consuming these products help you ensure that your baby’s bones are developing. Including at least three cups of dairy each day in your diet is advised by doctors.
Beans are rich in iron, especially the dark-colored ones like black beans and kidney beans and these are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians to substitute the lack of protein which you can get from items like chicken, eggs, etc. Whether in the form of salads or curried legumes, they help provide you and your baby the right amount of iron you need.
A serving of fruit a day is always a must for breastfeeding mothers. Blueberries are an excellent choice as they are filled with vitamins and minerals which are good for you and they give you a healthy dose of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high.
The first thing all new mothers think of post-delivery is losing the extra weight by cutting down on carbs but what you don’t realize is losing weight too quickly may cause you to produce less milk and leave you feeling sluggish. Adding healthier carb option like brown rice into your diet will help you to keep your energy levels up. Brown rice provides your body the calories it needs to make the best-quality milk for your baby.
Citrus fruits are considered an excellent breastfeeding food, as nursing moms require a lot of vitamin C. If you can’t find time to sit down and snack, sipping on some orange juice as you go about your day will help you get the vitamin C you need and there is always the choice of opting for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more out of your drink.
For all those new mothers who are vegetarians but eat eggs, there is a food that can help you get the right amount of protein you and your baby need. Eggs are the perfect food to meet your daily protein needs. Whether it be scrambled eggs for breakfast or hard-boiled egg in you salad lunchtimes or simply a plain omelet, you can try to have any form of egg and know you and your baby will be perfectly healthy.
If looking for a non-dairy food that is rich in calcium, leafy greens are the best option. Spinach, broccoli, etc. are high in Vitamin A and give you the perfect amount of Fiber you and your baby need. Leafy greens are also filled with healthy antioxidants and are low in calories which help you keep weight gain at bay.
High in fiber and folate as well as rich in potassium, vitamin E and magnesium, avocados are a highly recommended fruit during breastfeeding as it benefits both you and your baby. They’re also a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat, but not more than quarter avocado in a day.
“New mothers who are breastfeeding are especially at risk for dehydration. To make sure your energy levels and you are producing a good amount of milk, make sure you always stay well-hydrated. Drinking fluids whether it be plain water or juices, just a few sips every half an hour will help keep you hydrated. What you need to be careful about is caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea, you should not have more than 2-3 cups a day as the caffeine enters the milk, causing your baby to become irritable and sleep poorly,” added Dr Mankar.