Having a baby is a life-changing event. Not only are you responsible for keeping another human being alive, but you’re also responsible for providing them with the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.
As a breastfeeding mom, you have an even greater responsibility when it comes to your diet. What you eat not only affects your health, but also the health of your baby. Luckily, Motherhood Community provides nutritional information and more for new moms.
This article will give you insight into how to fuel your body while breastfeeding. Read more to find out about what you need to include in your diet.
Table of Contents
Pack on a Few Calories
First and foremost, you need to make sure that you’re getting enough calories. Breastfeeding requires a lot of energy and if you’re not eating enough calories, you’ll quickly become fatigued.
Try to consume an extra 500 calories per day. This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that you’re also burning more calories while you’re breastfeeding.
To make sure you’re getting enough calories, eat frequent meals and snacks throughout the day. And, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids. Water, milk, and juices are all good choices.
Beef Up on Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for both you and your baby. It’s necessary for the growth and development of muscle, skin, hair, and nails. It’s also important for the production of breast milk.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that breastfeeding moms consume at least 71 grams of protein per day. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, tofu, eggs, and nuts.
Don’t Cut All Fat
While people often see fat as a bad part of the diet, some fat is good in moderation. Fat is necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. It’s also a source of energy.
You should consume at least 44 grams of fat per day. Good sources of fat include avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish.
Get Your Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to protein and fat, you also need to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are essential for a variety of functions in the body, including the immune system, metabolism, and cell growth and development.
There are a few vitamins and minerals that are particularly important for breastfeeding moms. These include calcium, iron, and vitamin D.
Calcium is necessary for the development of bones and teeth. It’s also important for nerve function and muscle contraction. Ideally, breastfeeding moms consume at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day.
Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, dark leafy greens, and calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
Iron is important for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. It’s also necessary for proper cell function. Aim for at least 27 milligrams of iron per day.
Get lots of iron from beef, chicken, pork, beans, spinach, and iron-fortified foods.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. It’s also necessary for proper immune system function. At least 600 IU (international units) should be in your daily diet.
Consume sunlight, fatty fish, mushrooms, and fortified foods and beverages for this vitamin. You can also get it naturally from the sun. Just spend about 15 minutes outdoors each day.
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that’s necessary for the proper development of the neural tube. It can help to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. All women, including breastfeeding moms, need at least 400 micrograms of folate (the natural form of folic acid) per day.
You can find folate in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified foods.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that’s important for brain development. They can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 500 milligrams per day.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and flaxseed oil.
Iodine is a mineral that’s necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones help to regulate metabolism. Seafood, dairy products, and eggs are good sources.
Zinc is a mineral that’s important for the immune system, wound healing, and cell growth and division. Get it from meat, poultry, seafood, beans, nuts, and whole grains.
In conclusion, several key nutrients should be a part of any breastfeeding mom’s daily consumption. These include protein, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients by eating a variety of foods from all food groups.