The idea behind healthy nutrition for a breastfeeding mama, is to nourish both bub and mama with vitamins, minerals & antioxidants, strengthen the immune systems, provide the mother with enough nutrients to produce an adequate milk supply and to help deal with the new changes (which are often stressful) in this new phase of life.
For the first 6 months an exclusively breastfeeding mother will produce between 800-1,200ml of milk every day, an enormous task. Your daily nutrient requirements are even greater than during pregnancy. An average of 500 extra calories is needed each day.
So what are my top tips?
• Always try eat fresh, organic, seasonal produce that is close to its natural form.
• Eat regularly (every 4 hours) and insure a good mix of complex carbohydrates and lean protein in every meal.
• Eat enough protein: a good rule of thumb is a palm-full three times a day.
• Up your intake of essential fatty acids (omega 3‘s) from small oily fish (salmon, anchovy, sardines, ocean trout), walnuts & flaxseeds.
• Increase your calcium intake, eat foods like tahini (sesame seed paste), spinach, bok choy, sardines, organic natural yogurt, dried figs, raw almonds.
• Drink a minimum of 2L of filtered or spring water every day.
• Eliminate stimulants (caffeine, chocolate, alcohol). Caffeine is detectable in breast milk 15 min after consumption and levels peak after about 1 hour. Caffeine causes irritability and sleep disturbances to bubs.
• Consider a probiotic supplement especially if your child is suffering from colic.
• Try avoid stress and anxiety, both will slow you milk production.
Remember, the food you eat provides the building blocks for your baby’s future, so make smart, fresh, wholesome, real food choices.
Karin is medical nutritionist, wife, mama and business owner of Nutritious N’ Delicious who specialises in nutritional, health and life-style education. Karin has a passion for nutrition and the power of food – especially as it pertains to disease prevention.
Find out more about her at www.nutritiousndelicious.com and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consult.