It is important for you to eat a healthy diet while you are breastfeeding, but you don’t have to be as vigilant as you were when you were pregnant. Breast milk can meet your baby’s nutritional needs even when your diet is less than perfect, according to the BabyCenter website. You should strive to eat as healthy as possible, though, for your health and so that your body will produce enough, good-quality milk.
Breastfeeding is not the time to go on a diet. You shouldn’t even think about losing weight until at least two months after your baby is born, according to the BabyCenter, because that could lessen your milk supply. The most weight you should lose is 1.5 lbs per week; any more than that can affect your milk supply. If you are losing more weight than that, start adding more calories to your diet.
A Varied Diet
The best foods you can eat while you breastfeed are the best foods you can eat in general. Healthy eating for you while you breastfeed lays the foundation for healthy eating with your family as your baby grows. Eat a varied, balanced and natural diet, recommends the La Leche League. You should eat different types of foods that vary from meal to meal and from season to season. This helps reduce any food intolerance or reaction in your baby that might happen from you eating large amounts of one particular type of food.
Types of Food
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, either raw or cooked. Include all kinds of whole grains in your diet, such as wheat, rice, barley and corn, and products made from these grains, such as bread and pasta. Eat protein, such as dairy products, meat, fish and eggs. If you are vegetarian, you can get protein from lentils, soybeans and beans. Eat only small quantities of fat. In general, it is better to eat natural foods rather than processed foods that contain preservatives, flavorings and colorings.
Importance of Calcium
You do need calcium as a breastfeeding mom. You can get calcium from drinking milk, but there are other sources, too. Get calcium from cheese, canned salmon or mackerel, anchovy paste, whole grains, broccoli, kale, nuts, dry figs, tahini, tofu, corn tortillas and soy sauce.
You might be thirstier than normal when you breastfeed, especially with a newborn, according to the La Leche League. Have a glass of water next to you while your baby is nursing. Moderate amounts of herbal teas are good. When you choose a drink that is carbonated, sugary or contains stimulants, evaluate the effects it has on your baby to determine if you are drinking too much of that particular drink. Limit your alcohol consumption because alcohol can get into your milk. Babies are less likely to nurse well in the four hours after you drink alcohol, according to BabyCenter.