Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for a nursing mother as she develops a special bonding with her baby during this period. As a new mom, eating healthy and nutritious food should be your foremost priority. Most moms remain in a hurry to lose those extra pregnancy pounds, but you must know that nursing mother needs extra nutrients and calories during this period.
Inadequate nutrition and calorie intake will make you tired and weak. This is because a breastfeeding mom produces approximately 23 to 27 ounce milk per day, which contains 330 mg of calcium per quart. So for producing milk, she needs at least 500 calories extra energy per day than usual.
The quality of breast milk and the growth of the baby largely depend upon the diet that the nursing mom takes. Mother’s milk for the first few months (six) is the only source for the baby to get nutrients and energy. So consuming nutritious diet is as important for the baby as it is for the nursing mom.
A nursing mother’s diet should be a balanced one with adequate calcium. Her diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, milk, dairy products, eggs, meat or bean and plenty of fluids. Below mentioned are certain important nutrients and how they benefit the mother and the baby.
Best Diet Tips For Breastfeeding Mothers
The protein requirement of a nursing mother per day is 75 grams, which she can get from eggs, chicken, fish, meat. pulses and legumes, cottage cheese, curd, milk, nuts and seeds like peanuts, almonds, cashew nuts etc.
A breast feeding mother needs 45 grams of healthy fats in her diet per day. Breast milk which nursing mother feeds to her baby contains a fatty acid called DHA, which is crucial for baby’s vision and development of nervous system.
If the nursing mother gets DHA from her diet, the level of DHA in her milk will be higher. The best source of DHA is fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon which is loaded with DHA. According to FDA guidelines, breast feeding women should be cautious regarding consumption of fish that may have chances of mercury exposure.
Breast feeding mother’s diet should contain higher amount of calcium i.e. 1000 mg per day. If your diet lacks calcium, your body will need to use calcium from your bones to fulfill its increasing requirement. This can lead to weakening of bones and later in your life you can have the risk of developing osteoporosis or make the bones vulnerable to fractures easily.
Along with providing protein, Vitamin D and B vitamins, dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk are good source of calcium. Breast feeding milk is loaded with high level of calcium which contributes to the development of bones in a baby. So, breast feeding mothers should get enough calcium for their own health. Incorporate good quantity of low fat dairy products in your diet.
The iron requirement for breast feeding mother per day is 30 grams. Lack of iron in breastfeeding mother can lead to anemia and fatigue. The foods rich in iron are meat, chicken, fish, green leafy vegetables, cereals, legumes and nuts.
Vitamins And minerals
The level of vitamins and minerals in breast milk depends on the mother’s diet. So your diet should contain all the vitamins and minerals. Breast feeding mother needs folic acid, B6, B2, vitamins B12 and C. Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, capsicum, carrot and all citrus fruits contain vitamin C.
Any food that seems to bother baby’s digestion should be eliminated from the diet.
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