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What You Should Eat While Breastfeeding

Nursing is a critical point in the development of your baby. It determines the quality and quantity of nutrients the baby receives which are vital for his/her growth. If you’re breastfeeding, then you know that it is your dietary choices that will impact your little one. The food you eat, although minimally, affects the nutrient constitution of your breastmilk. As a mom, it is your responsibility to ensure that you consume things that will be beneficial for your baby, and avoid things that are potentially harmful. There isn’t any special diet that you need to find and follow. A healthy balanced diet is the best way to get all the nutrition you need.

Here are some nutrition essentials:

Vegetables:

Veggies, especially green vegetables, are the source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Green vegetables tend to be rich in vitamins including Vitamin A, E, C, and K, and minerals including potassium, magnesium, and iron. Some vegetables that are high in nutritious value are spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and other leafy vegetables.

Fruits:

Fruits are great for two things - nutrition and taste. Not only are they loaded with nutrients, but they’re also yummy to eat! Different fruits are rich in different nutrients, as we all know. So what should be kept in mind is that, especially when breastfeeding, you eat a lot of different fruits in controlled quantities so that you and your baby can get the best of all the fruits you eat. Berries are an excellent source of nutrition under the fruit category!

Proteins:

Proteins are made up of amino acids which are essential for the functioning of the human body. While several amino acids are synthesized by the body, there are some amino acids that our bodies cannot synthesize. In order to acquire these amino acids, we need to consume the foods that contain the respective proteins. Protein rich foods include meat, milk products, lentils and pulses, beans, chickpeas, oats, millets, rice and wheat.

Carbs:

Now, I know that everyone’s all about reducing carbs in order to lose weight or stay in shape. After childbirth is a time when you would probably be most motivated to try this strategy. However, you may want to hold off on it until after you’re done with the breastfeeding period. Carbs aren’t all bad, the way we’ve made them out to be - they fulfill your energy needs and allow you to feed your baby. Make sure you get your carbohydrates from good sources, and avoid the refined carbs from refined flours like maida.

Calories:

When breastfeeding, remember that the food you eat is actually feeding two people. While you may want to focus on losing some of the weight you gained during pregnancy, don’t compromise on your food intake. Focus, instead, on gradual weight loss which could include exercise without dietary compromise. Avoid eating unhealthy and extremely fatty foods, but don’t restrict the amount of food you eat. Eat to fill your hunger and don’t be afraid to do so.

Animal Products:

These include meat as well as other products derived from animals such as milk, oils, etc. Meat products are a great source of proteins while animal byproducts such as milk and oils are high in other nutrients and minerals. Poultry is a good source of protein and iron. Milk and milk products are high in calcium. Seafood is a good source of zinc, copper, Vitamin B6, choline, and selenium, and oily fish are high in Vitamin D and B12.

Nuts:

Nuts and other seeds are also high in several nutrients including Vitamin B1, B2, and B6. They also contribute to mineral content in the body with regard to minerals such as copper and selenium. 

It’s really simple. Eat a well balanced diet every day and listen to your body. Eat how much your body wants, in order to fill your hunger, and don’t worry too much about calories. Avoid any potentially harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. If there are any prescription medicines that you’re on, consult with your doctor in order to ensure that they will not affect your breastmilk or, in the case that they do, that they are not harmful for your baby.

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