What to Eat When Breastfeeding: Nutrition and Superfoods
Human breast milk is typically high in nutrition and offers more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than most commercial baby formulas. To maintain the consistency and quality of your breast milk, you must eat healthy, whole foods that provide your body the nutrients it needs. Therefore, to help your baby stay strong and healthy, you’ll need a healthy breastfeeding diet.
The physical demands of caring for an infant require you to eat well so you can maintain energy levels and lower your risk for illness. Behaviors such as skipping meals, failing to eat the right foods, and drinking too little water can have adverse effects on your milk supply, and on your own health.
Here’s what you need to know about nutrition to achieve a healthy breastfeeding diet:
Making milk requires extra energy and calories
The bodies of nursing mothers must work harder to produce milk, which means you’ll be burning more energy and calories as a result. Listen to your body’s hunger cues, and eat whenever you feel hungry.
Protein is important for breast milk production
Women who breastfeed usually require nearly twice the amount of protein as non-pregnant women who aren’t nursing. Plus, protein helps maximize your breast milk supply. Consume more protein from healthy, lean sources, such as beans, lentils, poultry, and fish.
What to eat in a healthy breastfeeding diet
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy products are loaded with valuable nutrients that benefit both you and your baby. Avoid consuming boxed, processed foods while nursing, and increase your intake of healthy, breastfeeding superfoods.
Caffeine can make your baby irritable
Put off drinking caffeinated beverages throughout nursing, and stick to drinking water instead. Caffeine can make its way into breast milk and make your baby cranky and irritable; plus, it dehydrates your body and impacts milk supply. Focus on drinking more water throughout the day to flush out waste and keep your body hydrated.
Talk to your OB-GYN about developing a healthy, balanced meal plan to get the right nutrition for breastfeeding. Women’s Care is devoted to helping you and your baby benefit from breastfeeding. Contact us today to make an appointment, and to learn more about our women’s health services.