By Silpa Sreekumar, Candok Health Coach @ candok.in
Nutrition is of utmost importance during lactation.Nursing mothers need awareness and guidance on how to maintain optimal nutritional levels during their lactation period.This includes identifying nutritional problems, assessing nutritional status, developing diet plans and counseling if required.
Breastfeeding demands an awareness of nutrition for long term benefits of the mother and the child.
Here are some tips to guide breastfeeding moms on how to maintain optimal nutritional levels during this period.
- Include sufficient quantity of protein up to 2 to 3 servings per day. This may come from animal sources or plant sources. Animal sources include fish, egg, dairy, poultry and plant sources include beans, nuts and seeds.
- Include three servings of vegetables. Vegetables should include dark green and yellow vegetables as much as possible.
- Two servings of fruit per day. This can include unripe papaya, bananas, mangoes, apricots, prunes, red and pink grapefruit.
- Include whole grains like whole wheat bread, pasta, cereals and oatmeal.
- Consume food rich in folic acid. You may also consume folic acid tablets as advised by a medical professional- the baby gets folic acid from mother’s milk.
- Include beans, peas, nuts, and rice in your regular diet.
Proper nutrition during breastfeeding is the need of the hour and should be managed through diet and supplements. Diet and supplements as required are recommended to fulfill the needs of the following- Iodine, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
Things to Avoid
- Avoid pacifiers and bottles
- It is advisable to avoid foods that might cause gas as this may lead to gastric problems and other chronic intestinal issues for the baby. Gas producing food like beans, broccoli, onions, spinach, cabbage and brussel sprouts are high in nutrient content and they may be consumed with caution in lesser quantities.
- Be cautious with drugs, avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and spicy foods.
- Find ways to manage stress and avoid stress as much as possible.
- Reduce Vitamin A and Vitamin E supplements. Excess amounts of A & E may cause harm.
- Avoid the urge to lose weight by skipping diet or reducing food intake
To increase the production of breast milk : Nurse frequently – milk production increases with frequent feeding, this occurs especially in the first few weeks and make sure to drain all the milk as possible from your breast, avoid pacifiers and bottle feeding. Give only mother’s milk to the baby. These are some of the easy to do tips that can help in increasing the production of milk.
Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, keep your stress levels in check, be happy and get good sleep. The nutrition requirements are higher during nursing and a personalized diet plan will help you meet the requirements – for both mother and baby.
Breast milk is also the immunity booster for your baby. Following these tips will also boost immunity while nursing.
Candok Health Coach can provide guidance, prepare a customized diet plan, suggest basic physical activity and guide you through your journey to health and wellbeing.
Understanding and applying Nutrition Series. Edited by Candok editorial board, Candok Lifestyle. Live Life, Naturally!