Healthy diet and lifestyle changes for breastfeeding mothers

Contribution: Rachna Arya

Introduction

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated around the world from 1 to 7 August every year. This global campaign aims to spread awareness about the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.

Eating a healthy diet and being physically active can greatly support a new mother’s physical and psychological health.

This is especially important in the first year after childbirth as the mother’s nutritional needs increase in response to milk production.

What you eat during lactation determines the energy, protein, nutrient and vitamin content of your breast milk.

Your body needs adequate nutrients every day for the formation of the baby Preventive managementProvide important nutrients and promote development.

Several studies have indicated that a healthy diet can aid in postpartum weight loss as well as prevent micronutrient deficiencies associated with postpartum depression.

If these nutritional needs are not met, it can have a negative impact on both you and your baby.

It’s important to eat a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.

what to eat

  • Include 2 to 3 servings of protein-rich foods such as poultry, fish, meat, cheese, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds daily.
  • Eat leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, cabbage and collard greens as they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Increase intake of fruits like papaya, banana, avocado, chiku, apricot etc.
  • Any type of whole grain—including whole wheat bread, pasta, cereal, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, and millet—will provide benefits for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Breastfeeding mothers need to drink water frequently to compensate for the extra water used in milk production. Staying hydrated keeps you and baby hydrated and prevents constipation, which can come from food, drinks and drinking water. It is recommended that you drink a glass of water or other drinks like fresh fruit juice, tender coconut, lassi, lime juice etc. every time you breastfeed.
  • Increase your energy intake by an additional 500 kcal for the first six months and 400 kcal for the next six months.
  • Lactation and vegetarian diet are suitable. If you avoid meat, be careful with alternative sources of iron and zinc, such as dried beans, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. To make sure your baby is not B12 deficient if you follow a vegetarian diet, you will need to take a B12 supplement.
  • Focus on increasing your intake of nutrients such as vitamins C, A, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, B12, iodine and selenium. Newborns depend on breast milk for an adequate supply of these important nutrients
  • Make sure you’re getting enough calcium, as it decreases during breastfeeding. Aim to consume 500 ml of milk or milk products such as milk, cheese and yogurt daily, along with calcium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables and tofu.
  • Eat a variety of foods while breastfeeding to give your baby a variety of tastes.

Things to avoid while breastfeeding

  • Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks and energy drinks
  • Be careful with spicy food
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Avoid consuming alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Talk to your doctor before starting to use prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements.

Lifestyle changes during breastfeeding

  • Maintain an active lifestyle to stay healthy, feel good and have more energy
  • Try to get enough sleep whenever possible
  • Resist the temptation to lose weight through a restrictive diet or medication.
  • Practice techniques for relaxation, and inner peace such as meditation, yoga, etc. as this may help Balancing hormones Which has a positive effect on lactation.

last thought

Motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life, yet it can also be very challenging. As a mother tries to learn to breastfeed and care for her baby, she may experience self-doubt and confusion during periods.

Therefore, during this time, a balanced diet combined with moderate physical activity and relaxation techniques can help the mother adjust to her new role.

Moreover, you should opt for frequent health screenings. It provides you with vital insights into your health, allowing you to take the necessary measures to improve it.

Book a full physical health exam today!

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