Breastfeeding and your diet


Although it may sound clichéd, but it is needless to emphasize that a healthy diet is important for a healthy body. And this fact assumes more importance when an innocent life depends upon what you eat. Hands down, breast milk is the life-saving elixir for your child as their immunity and development are directly proportional to the quality of your milk. Therefore, breastfeeding requires a good diet plan to ensure that both the quantity and the quality of the feed does not deteriorate.

You as a lactating mother should pay special attention to your diet. Although not everything you eat reaches your baby, that does not allow you the freedom of choosing the wrong diet. The mammary glands, responsible for producing milk, keep a check on nutrients, i.e. proteins, calcium, iron and vitamins in the milk. If your diet is not proper, these glands will use all the available nutrients to produce nutritious milk, leaving you unnourished in the bargain.   

Alright, we agree that you have gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, but this is not the time to lament your fat or unshapely body and start following a strict diet plan to get back in shape. Yes, you should not engage in gluttony, but calories are important too. On an average, you can consume up to 2000 calories, but add an extra 500 calories for your baby.

Eat every three hours as breastfeeding will deplete both your blood sugar and your energy levels. Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water or other liquids like herbal tea and coconut water. Opt for jaggery instead of sugar. Jaggery is rich in iron and it also helps maintain blood sugar level.

Make a list of foods rich in calories but ensure that the list is devoid of any oily or spicy food. Oil- or spice-rich food may upset your baby’s stomach. You may have your cheat days, but ensure what you eat does not have loads of oil and spices. Include the following items in your daily food chart – fruit, green leafy vegetable, dairy item, whole grain and lean protein.

Ensure your daily diet also comprises bottle gourd and moringa leaves, which boost milk production; almonds, which are good for the brain; ghee, as it is rich in DHA; milk, for calcium; edible gum, which makes bones stronger; and dill leaves. 

You can get back to your workout regime while you breastfeed but do not stress yourself. Also occasional caffeine, soda or glass of wine is perfectly ok, but ensure that your baby is not sensitive towards them. Remember, “A healthy outside begins from a healthy inside.”


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