Importance of Breast Milk
Just as the diet plays an important role during pregnancy, the post-pregnancy diet is equally important. After delivery, a mother has to be conscious of what she eats, because the same becomes the source of food for the baby. Breast milk is the first form of nutrient and baby food. Ayurveda studies show, that breast milk is the safest and the easiest way of providing the child with nutrition. It helps the baby to build its immune system by reducing the risk to infections. Breast milk contains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, which help the baby to develop its digestive system. Rich in lymphocytes and macrophages, breast milk prevents the newborn from intestinal inflammation. Breast milk is also a rich source of iron, which helps cell growth and division.
Foods to Eat During Breastfeeding
Pots of Fluid Intake
Drinking oodles of water, is extremely crucial during this phase. During delivery, the body sheds a lot of water, which makes the mother thirsty in the first few days. However, the thirst will quench with adequate water consumption. As many mothers feel thirsty while breastfeeding, it is advised to drink lots of water. Keep a glass of water with you while feeding. Juices, pulses, and milk are the recommended fluids. However, avoid caffeine as it may be harmful for your baby.
Eat in Variety
Try pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone of your taste buds. The first 7 months of breastfeeding may make you feel hungry. Thinking from the baby’s nutrition point of view, experiment with your food to get adequate diet. Have lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, calcium rich foods, and iron rich foods. Going hungry will hamper your ability to produce milk. Treat yourself to the culinary delight of your choice, but only occasionally.
Calories are Good
Calories are good for lactating mothers, and thus are an integral part of the diet for breastfeeding mothers. A lactating mother spends 500 calories per day, to produce milk for her child. Obviously, the calories have to be refilled into the body. Don’t avoid calories in a hope that you’ll reduce weight. In fact studies show, that mothers who breastfeed their baby loose 0.5 kg a month. Maintain a calorie intake of 2500, spread over 5 meals in a day. The body is continuously producing milk, which is why it needs a regular caloric intake.
No Coffee-No Soda
In the diet during breastfeeding, a mother has to avoid caffeine contained in coffee, and carbon dioxide contained in soda. These can be very harmful for the child. The baby may not be able to sleep well, if caffeine is passed on through breast milk.
Alcohol and Tobacco: A Strict No
Alcohol passes in the breast milk in about less than an hour. Alcohol can retard baby’s growth, and is best when avoided. If the craving for alcohol is too much to handle, have after the feeding session. Even if you have a glass of hard drink and have to breast feed, pump the milk and feed only when sober. Every dietitian will tell you that tobacco is harmful not only for the baby, but you as well. Tobacco reduces appetite and increases nicotine levels in the body. Nicotine passage through milk is likely to cause respiratory ailments, fast heartbeat, restlessness, and vomiting.
Iron and Folic Acid
Consuming foods high in iron and vitamin B9 is an essential part of the diet, during breastfeeding. Folic acid is vital nutrient for development of baby’s nervous system. Eating a lot of spinach, corn, cabbage, fenugreek, asparagus, chickpeas, and beet root will give you the daily dose of iron and folic acids.
Breastfeeding diets are not any different from healthy diets. If a would-be mother adheres to a health diet throughout her pregnancy, there really won’t be any need to take extra efforts to garner all the nutrients post delivery. A follow-up of the healthy diets will ensure good health for you and your baby.