Top Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding
While breastfeeding, it is important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet to support both your own health and your baby's growth and development.
You need extra nutrients when you are breastfeeding as you are supporting yourself and your baby.
The nutrients in breast milk come directly from the mother's body. If the mother's diet is deficient in essential nutrients, the mother's body may prioritize their baby's needs, potentially leading to nutrient depletion in the mother. For example, if the mother's diet is lacking in calcium, her body may draw from her own calcium reserves.
Here are some nutrient dense foods that can be beneficial to include in your breastfeeding diet:
So, which foods should you eat while breastfeeding?
1. Wholegrain, high-fibre foods:
Aim to get most of your carbohydrate intake from grains such as quinoa, oats, brown rice, brown pasta, and brown bread.
Carbohydrates provide the energy you need to care for your baby and yourself throughout the day.
Your carbohydrate sources should be high in fibre. High fibre foods take longer to digest, and therefore stay in the stomach for longer. This keeps you feeling fuller for longer and reduces the need for snacking.
A large portion of your overall food intake should come from vegetables. Try to include 7.5 servings per day of a wide variety of colourful veggies.
Beans, peas, and lentils are all nutrient-dense, high fibre foods that will keep you feeling full.
4. Protein-rich foods:
Eggs, poultry, red meat, yoghurt and fish are all great sources of protein. For vegetarians and vegans, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, and nuts are all easy high protein options.
Adequate protein is essential for the quality and quantity of breast milk. It also supports your baby's growth and brain development. Protein helps to reduce cravings and helps you to feel full for longer to support weight loss. Include high protein foods 2-3 times per day.
The recommended fruit intake for breastfeeding women is 2 pieces per day.
6. Dairy products:
The Institute of Medicine recommends that nursing mothers consume 1,000mg of calcium per day. 1000mg can be made up of 100g almonds, 200g of yoghurt, and two cheese slices.
Breastfeeding mothers need more calcium to support the baby's bone development. If the mother's diet is lacking in calcium, her body may draw from her own calcium reserves.
7. Healthy Fats:
When you are breastfeeding, the only source of fat for your baby’s growing brain is from you. Therefore, it’s critical to get adequate amounts of fat in your diet, especially the essential fatty acid DHA ,one of the omega-3 fats. Omega-3s can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, and also in plant-based sources such as walnuts, flax, and chia seeds
How can I find time to prepare healthy food?
While it's natural to direct your attention towards looking after your little one, it's equally essential to ensure you're not solely relying on sugary snacks. While the temptation is understandable, it won't benefit your body or your baby in the long run.
One convenient solution to maintain a healthy diet, even when time is limited, is to incorporate the In Shape Mummy Health Shake into your routine. This shake offers a quick, balanced, and nutrient-packed meal replacement option, ensuring you get the essential nutrients your body needs without the demands of traditional meal preparation.
As for speedy meal ideas, consider options like chicken stir-fry with brown rice, or opt for a hearty salad packed with greens, lean protein, and colorful vegetables. These choices not only provide essential nutrients but also require minimal preparation time, making them ideal for busy days, especially if you've been breastfeeding at night and need to replenish your energy levels.
To simplify healthy snacking, keep a selection of pre-chopped fruits and vegetables in your fridge. Additionally, consider stashing a bag of unsalted nuts in your nappy bag for those moments when peeling a manderine with one hand during breastfeeding seems like an impossible task. These accessible and wholesome snacks will help you maintain your energy and nutrition while caring for your baby.
Maintaining a healthy diet will help you and your baby thrive, as well as help you achieve a healthy weight.
While breastfeeding can be nutritionally demanding, it's essential to emphasize that it's also a highly beneficial and rewarding experience for both the mother and the baby. Many mums find that they can meet these increased nutritional demands by consuming a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated.
Additionally, the In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums is a quick and easy way to fill potential nutrient gaps and help ensure you are meeting all your nutritional needs.
And remember, breastfeeding is an incredibly selfless act, don't deny yourself a treat here and there. You deserve it.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.
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