There is never a time when a breastfeeding mother's body isn't busy producing milk for her infant. Because their bodies require more fuel to produce each ounce of milk, many nursing mothers report feeling perpetually hungry.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about what breastfeeding mothers should eat. One thing is for sure – consuming nutrient-dense foods that aid in refueling the body is essential. We scoured the Internet for some very vital information on what to eat while breastfeeding and came up with the list below.
Why Nutrition is Important While Breastfeeding
First, let's talk about why proper nutrition is so vital for nursing mothers, and then we'll list the five greatest foods for nursing mothers to eat. Babies benefit greatly from breast milk because of the nutrients it contains. Breast milk develops over time to incorporate the vitamins and minerals your baby needs.
Maintaining a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods is essential. Breastfeeding mothers, in particular, have a higher caloric requirement. Moms, who are already eating between 1,600 and 2,000 calories per day, should strive for an increase of 350 to 500 calories each day. Be sure to drink plenty of water, too.
However, it’s also vital that you don't let what you eat add to the stress of having a newborn at home; it's likely that you have enough on your plate already. As long as you’re eating a varied diet, you should be fine!
What to Eat While Breastfeeding
To keep your milk supply up, it's important to eat well. Foods that are lower in fat and rich in protein, such as beans, lentils, and lean meat, should be your first choices. Picking out a variety of colorful produce is also recommended.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Phytoestrogens, found in green, leafy vegetables, have been shown to boost milk production. So, you should stock up on greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, and cabbage. They are an excellent source of calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K. Take these into account the next time you're preparing a sandwich or salad. Just a side note on these greens. Some breastfeeding mothers worry that eating broccoli or cabbage will make their infants gassy and irritable. But this is untrue; the carbohydrate content of these vegetables, which is what causes gas, does not enter breast milk.
A number of health problems, according to a study, can be avoided or better managed by eating legumes. Consuming a wide variety of beans and legumes is beneficial for your overall health and can also help you maintain a sufficient milk production. They contain beneficial phytoestrogens and are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
But it's the chickpeas that have been celebrated as a galactagogue (food that increases the flow of breast milk) since ancient Egypt. They are one of the most widely accessible galactagogues due to their common use in cuisines across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.
Having access to seeds is like being given a gift of good health. They represent the first stage of development for every plant on the planet. Protein, minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium, and heart-healthy fats are all abundant in seeds. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds all have different nutrient profiles, therefore it's best to eat a mix of them. For example, chia seeds have a high omega-3 fatty acid content in addition to their high fiber, protein, calcium, and magnesium content. You'll feel full longer after eating chia seeds because of the high fiber and protein content, and the essential fatty acid concentration.
Calcium and copper, both of which are found in abundance in sesame seeds, help the body's immune system and promote healthy red blood cell production. If you eat them whole, you won't get any of the good stuff they're supposed to have. Crushed and husked varieties are recommended. Consider Tahini instead. It’s a savory paste formed from sesame seeds that is a key ingredient in hummus and many other Middle Eastern meals.
The majority of nuts provide a substantial amount of protein while also being low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Nuts are another nutrient powerhouse, packed with healthy fats, protein, and vitamins K, B, and D. The necessary fatty acids found in them are beneficial to health as well. In addition to their incredible nutritional profile, nuts also have another important reputation: as lactogenic (food that help produce breast milk) in many cultures.
Traditional Ayurvedic treatment has used nuts for hundreds of years. Almonds are one of the most popular lactogenic foods in the world and have a long history of usage in Ayurvedic medicine.
Fish and Seafood
Incorporating seafood into a healthy, balanced breastfeeding diet is encouraged because of the many beneficial elements it provides for both the breastfeeding mother and her infant. Fish is a good source of protein and has a relatively low amount of saturated fat. It is a good source of numerous nutrients, including iodine, vitamin D, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, which are not commonly found in other foods.
Fish contains elements that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and contribute to general health. In addition, nutrients like DHA are crucial for the growth of your baby's nervous system, brain, and eyes, and are passed on to your infant through breast milk.
Keep in mind that you don't have to follow any sort of restrictive diet if you're breastfeeding. All you have to do is prioritize healthy eating and living, and you and your kid will benefit from doing so. Eating healthy should be coupled with sleeping well. If you haven’t snapped back to your pre-pregnancy sleeping habits after giving birth, a maternity pillow can still help! It will help support your body as it heals, plus it can help with breastfeeding as well.