As a mother of an infant, you are no doubt in a very special situation. Nothing feels as great as holding your baby for the first time. You will naturally be protective of your child, and want nothing but the best for them. Mothers spend months reading up on all the parenting and caring techniques available. However, when it comes to breastfeeding, there isn’t as much thought put into it.
It is assumed that since breastfeeding is a natural process, there is very little you can do to influence it. However, a mother’s diet isn’t important just while she’s pregnant. During the first few months, babies get their nutrition only through their mother’s milk. For a baby to grow, it is vital that there is high quality and quantity of milk being produced. To help facilitate this, there are a few things you should keep in mind regarding your diet.
A lactating mother should ensure she’s getting plenty of healthy and nutritious food. Some of the best foods to include are cereals, whole grains, and fresh fruits. They offer the best combinations of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and very little bad fat. Consult a doctor if you feel you may not be getting enough nutrition in your regular diet. He may prescribe supplements that will help make up for any gaps in your nutrition. Some of the most common supplements are for calcium, iron and vitamin deficiency. While you are no longer pregnant, it’s still advisable to avoid alcohol. If you must drink, limit its quantity.
There are also certain foods that you can eat to help increase the supply of your breast milk. Oatmeal makes a tasty breakfast and is also an excellent way to boost milk production. It is packed with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Garlic is another common ingredient that can help increase milk production. There is no need to go overboard with the quantity as adding a clove of garlic to your food will enhance its flavor as well as help increase milk quantity. Beta-carotene, which is in high demand during breastfeeding, can be found in large quantities in carrots.
Junk food is something else you should save as an occasional indulgence. Trans fats present in junk food are extremely harmful. They are commonly found in hydrogenated oils, margarine and most of your favorite fast food. Fat is naturally present in breast milk as it provides the baby with essential energy and nutrients. However, trans fats are ‘bad’ fats. They are harmful to both the mother and the baby. A mother has no way of controlling the composition of her milk; she does, however, have control over the quality. Sources of healthy fats include nuts, fish and certain processed foods like peanut butter.
What else should you keep in mind? While mothers are usually trying to lose weight post pregnancy, they should avoid drastic calorie cutting. Studies have shown that if a mother is eating less than 1,800 calories a day, the amount of milk being produced is negatively affected. If she lacks the appropriate calories in her diet, the nutrients in the milk will be sourced from the mother’s body. This puts the mother at risk, and may even cause long-term term damage. To avoid this, a nursing mother should roughly stick to the same diet she followed while pregnant.
As a mother, you are in a delicate position. You must ensure you stay as healthy as possible so you can take care of your baby. Make sure to keep these diet rules in mind the next time you are eating. It will ensure you and your child stay healthy and happy.