Every Mother’s Must Have Guide For Breastfeeding

Grantly Dick-Reed (British obstetrician and a leading advocate of natural childbirth) once famously said,
A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.

The quote, in a nutshell, combines all the important benefits of breastfeeding.

Women have been breastfeeding since time immemorial. That, however, does not mean women are born bearing every detail about breastfeeding. Even though there is no dearth of information when it comes to breastfeeding, they often leave you more confused than informed. It is normal for new mothers to have innumerable queries about breastfeeding or breast milk. To help you out with these queries, we present to you the must-have guide for breastfeeding that every mother should have. Read on we tackle questions about your dietary practices and things you should avoid during breastfeeding.

What Should You Eat During Breastfeeding?

Nutrition is of paramount importance for any breastfeeding mother to help milk production. Breastfeeding relies heavily on your energy levels, making a healthy diet essential. While there isn’t anything special that you need to eat during breastfeeding, a combination of healthy foods will provide you the required nutrition. You should choose from a healthy mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to maintain your nutritional needs. Some of the food items you can include in your diet are:

Some of the food items you can include in your diet are:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Children may hate it, and sometimes adults too, but the benefits of it can’t be negated. A powerhouse of vitamins A and C and iron, green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach should be a part of every breastfeeding mothers’ diet. Rich in antioxidants and low in calories, they are important both for you and your baby.
  • Salmon: Considered a nutritional powerhouse for new mothers, salmon is loaded with DHA. An omega-3 fatty acid, DHA is crucial for the development of your baby’s nervous system. While breast milk does contain DHA, women who get more DHA from their diet have a higher level of it.
  • Lean Meats: Iron-rich foods are an important part of any breastfeeding mother’s diet to boost energy. Any lack in it makes it hard for the new mother to cope up with the needs of her newborn. Lean meats like chicken and fish are not only rich in iron but also provide extra protein and vitamin B-12.
  • Legumes: For vegetarians, legumes are a great way of incorporating protein into their diet. Rich in iron, particularly the dark-coloured ones like black beans and kidney beans, they are great for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Eggs: Eggs are not only a great source of protein, but also a vital dietary source of vitamin D. These two work together to help strengthen your infant’s bones and muscle while providing you with much-needed energy.
  • Low-Fat Dairy Products: For a healthy breastfeeding, low-fat dairy products should be included in your diet. Products like yogurt, milk, or cheese are known to provide a healthy dose of vitamins B and D. Other than that, they are the best sources of calcium available for new mothers. Calcium is required not only for the development of your baby’s bone structure but also for your own well-being.
  • Whole Grains: Inclusion of whole grains in your diet provides important minerals to you and your baby. Whole grain cereals like oatmeal, brown rice and barley provide you with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, iron and other minerals. The help in the overall growth and development of your baby and provide energy and stamina to you.
  • Nuts and Seeds: A rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition. They are great to snack on in-between meals to satisfy your hunger pangs. Nuts and seeds are also known to protect you from heart diseases and aging.

How Much Fluid Do You Need During Breastfeeding?

Most mothers have heard the old-wives tale of drinking lots of water to keep up with their breast milk. However, in reality, your body is more than capable of producing the required amount of breast milk, even while going thirsty. Rather than forcing yourself to drink, it is better to drink enough to satisfy your thirst. To remind yourself to drink water, it is a good idea to have a drink nearby while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers release a hormone called oxytocin, which makes them feel thirsty. Drinking at least one glass of your water while feeding your baby, as well as in-between when you feel thirsty, keeps that in check.

To remind yourself to drink water, it is a good idea to have a drink nearby while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers release a hormone called oxytocin, which makes them feel thirsty. Drinking at least one glass of your water while feeding your baby, as well as in-between when you feel thirsty, keeps that in check.

Be attentive to your body’s signals if you are worried about getting enough to drink. Signs of dehydration include concentrated urine (darker, smelling stronger than usual) and constipation (hard, dry stools).

What To Eat To Increase Breast Milk?

Even though there is no scientific research to back up the acclaim these following foods have garnered among mothers, they have been served since generations to increase breast milk. It is best to remember to consume these foods in moderation though and as part of a balanced diet.

  • Fenugreek Seeds (Methi): Fenugreek seeds top the list when it comes to food items consumed for increased breast milk. While this ancient belief is backed by a small amount of research, it isn’t substantial enough to prove its effectiveness. These seeds are a great source of omega-3 fats, essential for your baby’s brain development. Other than that, they are also rich in beta carotene, vitamin B, iron, and calcium.
  • Fennel Seeds (Saunf): Like fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds to boost lactation. Regular consumption of it aids digestion and helps to relieve constipation in breastfeeding mothers.
  • Garlic (Lehsun): Garlic, which is known for its many therapeutic and herbal properties, also helps in the production of breast milk. Though there is no sufficient evidence to prove it, garlic milk is served as a popular traditional post-delivery drink.
  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera): An integral part of many Indian dishes, cumin seeds helps to improve digestion. It also provides relief from constipation, acidity and bloating.
  • Basil (Tulsi): While there is nothing to suggest that basil helps to increase breast milk, it does have a calming effect. It also helps in improved bowel movement and promotes a healthy appetite.
  • Dill Seeds (Suwa): Rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium, dill has many benefits. It is believed to improve breast milk production, helps to relax and ease digestion. Being a mild diuretic, dill should be consumed in moderation.
  • Sesame Seeds (Til): Included in the diet of many breastfeeding mothers, sesame seeds are a great non-dairy source of calcium. They are also an excellent source of copper and are packed with other micronutrients important for both mother and baby.
  • Gourd Vegetables: It is generally believed that vegetables from the gourd family help to improve milk production. Apart from their high nutritional value, they are low in calories and easy to digest. Bottle gourd (lauki), apple gourd (tinda) and sponge gourd (tori) are some of the items you can include in your diet.
  • Oats: Oats is a healthy and nutritious breakfast option for many nursing mothers. Packed with calcium, fiber, and iron, they help to improve lactation. They are also believed to ease anxiety and depression.
  • Red Vegetables: Like green vegetables, red vegetables too should be included in your diet. Apart from improving lactation, these vegetables help to boost liver health. Being high in iron content, they prevent the mother from post-pregnancy anemia. Some of the red vegetables you can include in your diet are sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, and beetroots.

Learn the various things and foods to be avoided during breastfeeding here.


Originally published at www.babygogo.in on July 29, 2017.