By Kejal Sheth
Breastfeeding is important not only for mothers but equally crucial for the health of the newborn. Every lactating mother’s energy levels need to be increased and for this, she should consume at least of 2200 to 2500 kcal daily during the first six months of lactation. However, after six months, when you introduce weaning foods to your baby, the energy requirements gradually decrease, depending on the body weight and the body mass index (BMI). Lactation burns a lot of energy without you realising the amount of energy burned during this process.
Galactagogues like poppy seeds, dry coconut, ragi and bajra laddoos, dill seeds, til laddoos, oats, green leafy vegetables should be added to a mother’s daily diet for good production of milk.
Also, it is important to supplement your diet with plenty of wholesome foods.
* Good carbohydrates are a must, so cereals like whole wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, oats and sweet potato should be included.
* Consumption of protein increases, so foods like moong dal, toor dal, masoor dal, soya, rajma, chole and sprouts should be added to the diet.
* Dairy products, like milk, organic/low fat cheese, paneer, buttermilk, curds should be consumed in regular amounts.
* Moderate amount of fats also need to be taken.
* Requirements for Vitamin A, C, D, B12 and folic acid increase on a large scale, so it’s advisable to have plenty of dark green leafy vegetables like amaranth, fenugreek, methi, spinach, etc.
* Add yellow and orange vegetables like carrot, pumpkin, tomato and citrus fruits like oranges, guava and amla to the diet.
* Iron intake must be raised, so you can add jaggery, garden cress seeds, raisins and dates.
* Add a liberal intake of fluids as the production of breast milk depends of fluid consumption.
* Have at least four litres of water daily during lactation, including plenty of buttermilk, dal, soups and juices.
It’s important to avoid certain foods/drinks in your diet.
* Alcohol, as it can pass through mother’s milk into the baby’s body and cause permanent neurological damage, which can be seen later in life.
* Fish, since it contains many metals, such as mercury which will negatively affect a baby’s neurological function.
* Citrus fruits, peppers and eggs can cause irritation to babies and they may react adversely.
* Mints like peppermint will decrease milk production.
* Avoid tea and coffee as caffeine will interfere with your baby’s sleep and make her or him fussy and irritated.
* Avoid gas-forming foods, such as onion, cabbage, garlic and broccoli. Excessive gas will disturb the baby and these foods affect milk production as well.
* Processed foods are not recommended as they contain lot of preservatives and artificial colours, which is not good for little ones.
* Peanuts can cause allergies in some kids.
(Kejal Sheth is a nutritionist, weight management expert and founder of Nutrivity.in)