Breast feeding diet
Many women just want to get back into shape after the birth of their child, but take care if you are breast feeding or you could damage your babys health.
Breastfeeding is the best possible start for any new born, many nursing mothers have questions regarding following a breastfeeding diet and there are some important considerations to remember during this period.
A well balanced diet is important for you and baby
Even when a mum, for one reason or another, is not eating a healthy, well balanced, diet her breast milk will still meet all of the nutritional needs of her new baby. It is comforting, therefore, to know, that occasional lapses from a healthy diet will not have an adverse effect on breast milk. However, not eating a healthy, well balanced diet may well have a detrimental effect on the health of the mum. Strength and stamina are essential requirements for any new mum and a diet deficient in essential nutrients may cause the new mum to feel prematurely exhausted and even ill.
Feeling excessively hungry whilst breastfeeding is a normal part of the process – the human body works round the clock to provide healthy, nutritional milk for the newborn – this means that eating little and often will keep hunger at bay and energy levels high.
Calorie counting – dont do it
A breastfeeding diet is really just a diet which is healthy and well balanced, there is, in fact, no such thing as a breastfeeding diet which suits everyone. It is not even possible to state with certainty how many calories should be consumed by a breastfeeding mother, rather the ball park figure is between 2,000 and 2,700 calories daily are required by nursing mothers. This figure is dependent on a number of factors such as weight, exercise, metabolic rate and how much breastfeeding is being carried out.
Slow and steady
One of the reasons many women want to know about a breastfeeding diet is because they want to lose their pregnancy weight as quickly as possible. Many nursing mothers find that they lose weight very rapidly whilst breastfeeding, for others the reverse is true. Weight loss is best done gradually – it may take as long as twelve months to return to a pre-pregnancy weight.
It is essential that no new mother considers trying to diet until at least two months after the birth of their newborn. Any reduction in calorie intake during this period will have a detrimental effect on energy levels and milk supply.
Following a healthy diet and a moderate exercise program will give an average weight loss of 1.5 pounds a week – any more than this will probably cause problems. If, by the time the baby is six weeks old, the weight loss rate is more than 1.5 pounds a week it is likely that the calorie intake of the mother should be increased.
Variety is the spice of life
A healthy diet is a balanced diet with a wide variety of products from all food groups. Eating a mixture of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables along with some healthy fats will provide all of the required nutrients; maintain energy levels and help you to feel fuller for longer.
Fats and oils are an essential part of any diet, not just a breastfeeding diet, but some fats should be avoided at all costs – namely saturated and trans fats – whilst others should be eaten regularly. Choosing salmon, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds along with healthy oils such as canola will ensure that your breast milk will contain the essential long chain polyunsaturated fats essential for infant growth and development.
Try to avoid contaminants
Limiting exposure to pesticides and insecticides is an important element in any breastfeeding diet. These chemicals can find their way into breast milk with, as yet, unknown consequences for the long term health of the baby. Choosing organic options where possible and including a wide variety of foods in your diet will mean minimising ingestion of pesticides and insecticides.