Someone once said that the birth of a baby is a lifelong holiday. It is difficult to disagree with this. But I always want to add that this holiday sometimes baffles future parents and forces them to independently seek answers to many questions that have arisen. One of the main things in the first days of a little man’s life is his mother’s food, of course, if she intends to breastfeed him.
Diet for a nursing mother: to be or not to be
It’s no secret that everything eaten by a nursing mother enters the child’s body. He can react violently to some foods, for example, a rash or intestinal colic, to others neutrally. But all of them, one way or another, affect its growth and development. That is why many pediatricians advise to review your diet during the feeding period, especially if it was previously far from correct. And remove harmful or low-quality foods from it, replacing them with useful and safe ones.
Nevertheless, we all try to give our children only the best and often overdo our efforts. If earlier in our society it was believed that the diet of a nursing mother should not differ in any way from the diet of an ordinary woman, then over time everything has changed.
A huge number of pediatric practitioners have appeared, to whom you want to listen. After all, each of them gives their advice and recommendations regarding the mode and frequency of feeding the baby, as well as the quantity and quality of the food eaten by the mother. And all would be fine, only many of them, although based on medical science, but, nevertheless, somewhat contradict each other and mislead young parents.
In order not to get confused and provide yourself and your child with a sufficient amount of vitamins and microelements, which are needed both for his growth and development, and for his mother to restore her strength and fulfill her responsibilities for caring for him, you can heed the advice of foreign nutrition specialists. They have remained unchanged for many years and have powerful arguments.
In them, nutritionists do not insist on changing the diet, but only on increasing the consumed kilocalories, which are spent on feeding itself. And they believe that since an adult is supposed to eat according to the principle “food pyramid“, Which means that a young nursing mother should do it too.
A few words about the food pyramid
For the first time the term “food pyramid” appeared in 1974. Presenting a visual diagram of proper nutrition, he showed the number of servings of different food groups that a person should eat per day for normal life.
It followed from it that most of all it is necessary to use cereals and cereals. A little less fruits and vegetables. There are even fewer dairy and meat foods, including fish. And the smallest amount of consumed substances should come from vegetable oils, fats and carbohydrates.
In the 2000s, nutritionists introduced a new term – “food plate“. This is an improved nutrition system adapted to the modern person. It assumes the maximum consumption of fruits and vegetables, less cereals and grains, and the minimum – protein (meat and fish).
Experts insist that a nursing mother needs to eat 300-500 kilocalories more than usual, since it is they who are spent on the process of feeding and pumping, if any. From this it follows that her body should receive at least 2000 – 2500 kcal daily. The final figure depends on many factors, such as weight, exercise, frequency of feeding, mother’s metabolic rate, her age, and so on.
Feeding and losing weight
Many mothers who have gained extra pounds during the period of carrying babies strive to return to their previous shape as quickly as possible. And they begin to limit themselves in food, reducing the number of calories consumed to 1200 or less.
Meanwhile, doctors say that such restrictions can not only negatively affect their health and well-being, but also lead to a significant decrease in the amount of breast milk. As a result, it will be worse for both the mother, who is constantly experiencing fatigue and hunger, and the malnourished child.
You can avoid this fate and get back in shape by listening to the advice of nutritionists. They recommend:
- 1 Lose weight gradually, and not immediately, at least over the course of a year;
- 2 According to the advice of La Leche Lig (an international organization of volunteer mothers), “start performing the slightest physical exercise no earlier than 2 months after the birth of the baby in order to allow the body to fully recover and normalize hormones”.
- 3 Do not rush to eat every time you feel hungry. Sometimes in a nursing mother, it is quenched with a glass of water or low-fat milk.
- 4 Drink about 6-8 glasses of liquid a day. This will not only allow you to gradually lose weight, but also contribute to an increase in lactation.
Vegetarian moms and feeding
Vegetarian moms can also successfully feed a baby, provided that all the doctor’s recommendations are followed. The fact is that in their body there may be an insufficient amount of vitamin B12, calcium, iron and DHA acid, which is necessary for the normal development of the eyes and brain of the child.
However, there is some good news. Studies have shown that breast milk from vegan moms contains fewer toxins than milk from moms who eat meat.
Vitamins and minerals
The following vitamins and minerals must be supplied to the nursing organism:
- Calcium. It will help protect the bones and teeth of the mother during the feeding period and will help form a strong skeletal system for the baby. In addition to dairy foods, it is found in green leafy vegetables.
- Choline. It participates in metabolic processes in the body and contributes to the development of the brain, normalization of the heart rate and strengthening of the heart muscle. It is found in egg yolks, chicken and beef liver, and cauliflower.
- Zinc. It is responsible for the immune system and comes from seafood, oatmeal, eggs, honey and citrus fruits.
- Vitamin C. A source of antioxidants, which, moreover, has a positive effect on the immune system and promotes the absorption of iron. It is found in citrus fruits, rose hips, bell peppers, cabbage and strawberries.
- Potassium. It is responsible for the work of the heart and is found mainly in vegetables and fruits, in particular in potatoes and bananas.
- Iron. The level of hemoglobin in the blood depends on it. It is found in meat and spinach.
- Omega-3 fatty acids that affect the development of the nervous system. They are found in oily fish.
The quality of breast milk depends on many factors. Nevertheless, one of the main things is the food that goes into the mother’s body. During this period, it must be of high quality and natural without preservatives and dyes. That is why a nursing mother should abandon semi-finished foods and other purchased delicacies and switch to homemade food.
Top 10 foods for a nursing mom
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate. Incredibly nutritious and healthy, it contains fiber and iron to help improve bowel function and increase hemoglobin.
Eggs. They contain DHA acid and vitamin D, which are needed by the child’s eyesight, brain and skeletal system. But you need to use them very carefully, as they are allergens.
Green leafy vegetables. They contain vitamin A, iron, calcium and folic acid, which together have a positive effect on the growth and development of the baby.
Berries. It is a source of antioxidants and fiber. They increase immunity and improve well-being, as well as have a positive effect on bowel function.
Almond. It enriches the body with DHA acid, calcium and magnesium and helps to improve lactation.
Fish. It is a source of DHA protein and acid.
Avocado. It contains folic acid, vitamins E and C. It improves metabolic processes, affects the work of the heart, removes cholesterol from the body and rejuvenates it, and is also responsible for the health of the nervous system. And it helps to increase lactation.
Sunflower seeds. They contain amino acids, vitamins and minerals necessary for normal growth and development of the body. They can be added to yogurt and fruit salads, or consumed on their own.
Water – it helps to increase lactation. You can replace it with low-fat milk, green tea or compote. You can drink fruit juices if they do not cause allergies in your baby.
Live yogurt. A source of probiotics for mom and baby.
Harmful foods for a nursing mother
- Alcohol… It poisons the body with toxins and negatively affects the nervous system.
- Coffee, black tea, chocolate – they contain caffeine, which flushes calcium from the bones and causes overexcitation in the child. Plus, chocolate can cause rashes or change the taste of breast milk.
- Foods That May Cause Allergies… They are different for each kid. These include nuts, eggs, and some types of fish. You should use them carefully, gradually introducing them into your diet and noting the slightest changes, if any.
- Citrus… These are allergens that can also negatively affect the baby’s digestion, causing colic and excessive spitting up, and impair the taste of breast milk.
- Herbs and herbal teas… All of them can affect positively and negatively on the body of the mother and baby, therefore, only a doctor can allow their admission.
- All types of cabbage and legumes… They provoke bloating in the baby’s tummy.
- Garlic… Like other spices, it can negatively affect the taste and smell of breast milk.
- Dairy produce… Sometimes they cause allergies or bloating in the baby.
The guarantee of the child’s health is not only a balanced and proper nutrition of the mother, but also frequent walks in the fresh air, as well as her good mood. It is transmitted to him, calms him and improves his sleep. And this is the second no less important question for many parents, isn’t it?