Being worried about your nutrition and what foods you consume aren’t just limited to the months when you’re pregnant - they count for after you’ve given birth as well. During the breastfeeding stage, all new mothers should be aware of what they are putting into their bodies, as well as their babies. Educate yourself on how to make sure you are only providing your body and your baby’s with nothing but the essentials.
The bond between mother and child during the breastfeeding stage is unlike any other. All breastfeeding mothers should be more aware than ever of what foods and drinks they consume, since these all ultimately get passed down to their nursing infant. Even though everything a woman eats produces itself in the form of breast milk, the ingredients contained can be harmful to the early development of an infant is proper nutrition is not followed. In this case, when the mother practices good nutrition, she is not only helping to keep her baby healthy, but herself as well.
Good nutrition means good quality of breast milk for an infant. While the quality of a woman’s breast milk can be affected by extreme deprivation or excessive consumption of a certain food, the quantity of milk is affected by the mother’s diet. A mother who breastfeeds may be able to keep her baby healthy but if she neglects her own body’s dietary needs, this could be detrimental to her health in the long run. The first step to take to ensure proper nutrition during this time is to increase how much water you drink. By boosting your water intake by one quart per day, you will be able to provide your body with enough water to produce enough breast milk and address your body’s own needs for hydration. Of course don’t go overboard with the water, either. Too much will reduce milk production so find a happy balance.
Breastfeeding mothers should also increase their caloric intake to between 2,500-2,800 calories. The best way to do this is to spread it over the course of five small meals instead of three huge meals. Stay away from sweets, though, and stick to healthy foods that are rich in protein. When snacking in between meals, try low-fat dairy products and a piece of fruit, followed by a glass of water. In order to produce healthy amounts of breast milk, your caloric intake must be maintained and regular.
Even though it should be obvious, mothers who are breastfeeding shouldn’t consume any alcoholic beverages. The presence of alcohol can pass through breast milk in less than an hour and when consumed in large quantities through breast milk, this can retard an infant’s growth. Wait until you are completely past the breastfeeding stage before consuming even one drop of alcohol.
In regards to what foods you eat, stick to mostly unsaturated fats. Rapeseed, olive oil, sunflower and corn are all ideal foods to consume, since they contain the fatty acids that are responsible for building the baby’s nervous system. Foods rich in B9 should also be included in your daily diet. Folic acid is also a vital part in the development of a healthy baby so start adding cabbage, corn, chick-peas, asparagus and spinach to your meals, as well as wheat and orange juice. In addition to the foods you consume, continue to take a god prenatal vitamin - they shouldn’t be discarded just because you’re no longer pregnant.
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