Eating Right During Breastfeeding.

Just as your body provided the nutrients your baby needed to grow during your pregnancy, your milk delivers the nutrients baby needs to develop outside the womb during the first year of life. Your body uses nutrients more efficiently while you are lactating so that there is enough for both baby and you. It also relies on fat stores left over from pregnancy for energy to make milk. But you are still “eating for two.” You need between 300 and 500 extra nutritious calories a day to make milk for your baby.

Your eating plan for breastfeeding should include the nutritious foods you normally eat, but more of them. If you eat foods that are good for you, you will have more energy and feel better as you recover from birth and weather the stress of new motherhood. Avoiding the empty calories of high-fat, high-sugar foods will also help you regain your prepregnancy weight and figure. Candies, desserts, soda pop, and packaged snack foods offer little nutritional value. Instead, eat nutrient-dense foods that provide a lot of nutrition for each calories. For balanced nourishment, include nutrient-rich foods from the five basic food groups:

* whole grain bread, cereal, rice and pasta group (six to eleven servings daily) * vegetable group (three to five servings daily) * fruit group (two to four servings daily) * fish, meat, poultry, dry beans, eggs, and nuts group (two to three servings daily) * milk, yogurt, and cheese group (two to three servings daily)

Each day consume foods from each of these groups, portioned for balanced nutrition into the three basic calorie groups:

* carbohydrates should supply 50-55 percent of your total daily calories, and the major portion of this energy source should be in the form of healthy sugars, which give a steady release of energy, chiefly pasta, grains, and fruit. * healthy fats should make up around 30 percent of your total daily calories. * proteins should make up 15-20 percent of your daily calories.

Calcium Is Good Bone FoodYou need a lot of calcium during pregnancy and lactation. To nourish rapidly growing bones, calcium is important to baby. Don’t let the fear of depleting your own calcium reserves scare you from breastfeeding. Recent studies show that breastfeeding may actually protect mother’s bones against osteoporosis. The calcium that is taken from mother’s bones during lactation is returned during and after weaning, resulting in greater bone density than before pregnancy.

You don’t have to drink milk to make milk; cows don’t! If you don’t like milk or are allergic to or intolerant of it, you can get all of the bone-building mineral you need from the following calcium-rich nondairy foods: sardines, soybeans, broccoli, beans, salmon, tofu, watercress, kale, collards, okra, dried beans, greens, raisins, dried figs, and carrot juice. Since dairy products are still one of the best sources of calcium, cheese and yogurt are good sources if you dislike milk but are not intolerant of or allergic to it.

Iron — The Blood-Building ElementSufficient iron intake is vital to the post-partum mother. Several iron-rich foods are fish, poultry, prune juice, and iron-fortified cereals. To improve the absorption of iron from food, eat or drink vitamin C-rich foods (for example, fruit and vegetable juices) along with it — combinations like meatballs and tomato sauce, iron-fortified cereals and orange juice. As an added nutritional perk, breastfeeding has an iron-preserving effect by suppressing your menstrual flow.

Extra VitaminsBecause of the extra nutritional needs of mother and baby, continue your prenatal vitamin supplements during breastfeeding, unless your doctor advises otherwise. (Occasionally, it has been found that some brands of prenatal vitamins cause colicky symptoms in the baby, which disappear when switching to another brand.) To boost your vitamin D naturally, treat yourself to short, frequent doses of sunlight.

Extra FluidsA breast-feeding mother’s best noncalorie drink is water. Enjoy a glass of water or juice just before breastfeeding. Most mothers drink at least eight glasses of fluids a day. As a volume guide, drink as your thirst urges. Prepare something to drink before you sit down to breastfeed. If you wait to drink after feeding, you may not drink sufficient liquid. While extra fluids are prescribed as the universal elixir for nearly all breastfeeding’s ills, don’t flood yourself. Excess fluids may actually hinder milk production. Shun caffeine-containing coffee, teas, and colas, and alcoholic beverages, as they may have a diuretic effect, causing you to lose valuable minerals and fluids.

Environmental PollutantsPesticides and other contaminants are an increasing concern. To minimize these harmful substances entering your milk, avoid fish from waters known to be contaminated, peel and thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut away the fatty portions of meat, poultry, and fish, since chemicals tend to concentrate in fat.

There will be more articles on breastfeeding, feeding baby/toddler, general parenting help, so look for more of my articles to come.

Article Tags:
During Breastfeeding, Servings Daily, Daily Calories

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