Breast Milk is the best source of nutrition for the baby and for the mothers it has numerous short-term and long-term benefits. The best part is that every mother is fully capable of making the best kind of nutrient dense milk for their child. No need to follow any hard and fast dietary plans nor any special kinds of food intakes are required, just a good balanced diet is essential. The very basic and elementary protein-carb-fat combination is provided by every mother to its child even if her diet isn’t that well-balanced or contains all of the essential nutrients. Although milk supply supplements do help in increasing the quality and quantity of the milk for sure.
The quality and the quantity of the milk isn’t relied on proportionally on the mother’s diet- it’s not like if the mother has a very well-balanced diet the baby will also receive a combination of all the required nutrients or vis-e-versa. The mothers who aren’t that well-fed or don’t really make a conscious effort of having a well-balanced and nutrient rich diet, can provide good quality milk to their babies. If there is anything that the baby needs and mother’s milk lacks that, her body will not wait for her to take that nutrient in her diet so that it can be filtered to the milk ducts but the mother’s body will simply tap into the nutrient’s storage of her own body and provide for what lacks in the milk. So, a healthy diet isn’t directly related to breastfeeding but it surely is related to a healthy mother which is the catapult for providing for the baby.
In this article, I will give you a complete breakdown of all the essential dietary requirements a mother needs to introduce into her diet and also from the food she needs to steer clear from. A well-balanced, nutrient rich diet will not only account for a happy, healthy mother but also increase milk supply and provide various other benefits.
Understand Breast Milk
Before jumping the gun on how to ensure a good diet we first need to make all mothers aware of how their milk actually works, so that they don’t get trapped into the pitfalls of too-much-information. Breast milk is alive, active and truly mesmerizing, trust me. It’s nothing like the formula milk, breast milk changes, adjust and alters with the requirements of the baby’s needs. It provides for exactly what the baby needs at that particular stage of life.
In this first milk that comes out of the breasts known as colostrum is thick, yellow colored milk that’s jam packed with immunity boosters so that no virus or bacteria catches the vulnerable baby. In the next few weeks, the composition changes to a waterier form that quenches the thirst and fills the stomach without making it too heavy. After that the milk again changes its composition and becomes thicker and fuller of nutrients to help the baby grow and nourish.
With the changing requirements of the milk, the mother should always have a well-balanced, healthy and nutrient rich diet, so that her body isn’t deprived of any essential nutrients thus making her feel weak, lethargic or not-so-strong to take care of the baby. Breastfeeding mums will also have strong hunger pangs, much more intense than during pregnancy. This is happening due to the fact that the body sucks away nutrients to provide for the baby. Making breast milk is nutrient-extensive and demands higher levels of healthy eating. In fact, the requirement of daily intake of calories increases by 500 calories every day. This is why it’s impeccable to have a nutrient-rich-diet that compensates for all the nutrients that are taken away during the milk making process. Including milk supply supplements in the diet will also provide for various essential nutrients as well as increase milk supply, which is great!
How to Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet?
Now, no need to get all chalked up by thinking about what’s a well-balanced diet. Simply put it’s just following the food pyramid that was taught to all of us in grade 5. Following the food pyramid will always be useful to everyone and not just breastfeeding mothers. If a mother is already following the food pyramid, she’ll face no issues while nursing her little one as her body will have everything readily available already. The food pyramid encourages the use of foods from all groups like grains, vegetables and fruits, proteins, dairy and sweets and oils but in the recommended quantities.
The biggest chunk of the diet should rely on grains like whole grain, oats, pasta, cereal or breads, after that include 3 serving of vegetables and at least 2 serving of fruits in your diet. Protein should also company your foods 2-3 times a day, lean meat is the best but don’t skip on other essential items like beans, nuts, seeds, and lentils. After that include dairy products 1-2 times a day like milk, cheese and yoghurt. Lastly, fats like sweets and oils should be included with great care into the diet and use them not more than 2-3 times a week.
The best way of having a well-balanced diet is by creating a schedule for it and going by it studiously. For nursing moms, snacking throughout the day will also greatly compensate for those insatiable hunger pangs.
Foods To Avoid During Breastfeeding
Just like I provided for a list of things to include in the diet, I also have a list of things to avoid while nursing. Firstly, avoid drinking alcohol as much as you can, it can seep into the breastmilk although relatively small quantities but you don’t want to risk it. Also limit your caffeine intake or introduce caffeine slowly gauging the effects of it on the baby. Also avoid high mercury fish like shark, swordfish or big eye tuna.
Supplements and Breastfeeding
Summing it all up, I would highly recommend including milk supply supplements in your diet that would take care of any missed nutrients in your diet and provide for a good flow of milk.