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Breastfeeding your baby is indeed a good decision to make for your baby’s future. Eating the right type of foods make a big difference. Breast milk has so many great benefits. Congratulations on your new arrival. Some mothers have new challenges during the initial phase. I hope you are doing well in your breastfeeding journey. If you are having difficulty, I recommend that you find an expert to help you along as soon as you start to experience .
Breastfeeding requires a healthy nutrition to enjoy the full benefits of breastfeeding your little star. Ensuring that you are eating a diet rich in nutrients is priority in getting the best results for you baby because your baby needs to grow and develop properly. Even though vitamin D is deficient in breast milk, it has all of the other nutrients your baby needs for a great development at least for the first 6 months of life. So what you eat can affect the quality of your milk. Many women may feel hungry during or after breastfeeding. I remember feeling really hungry and thirsty after breastfeeding my little ones. It can take a toll on your health production. Research has shown that breast milk is actually 87 percent water, 3.8 percent fat, 1.0 percent protein, and 7 percent carbohydrate and provides 60 to 75 kcal/100ml.
Unlike baby formula, the calorie content and composition of breast milk varies. Breast milk changes during each feeding and throughout your lactation period, in order to meet the needs of your baby. Did you know the taste of your breast milk changes based on what type of foods you eat. Many women think that the first milk, colostrum is not very valuable. Colostrum is valuable and needed as your baby’s first food because it is the right consistency for easy digestion. Isn’t God amazing! A few days after colostrum comes in then you have a heavier milk solution we call hind milk which has more fat and more nutrition.
It is important that your baby empties your breast before swapping to the other.
At the beginning of a feeding, the milk is more watery and usually quenches the baby’s thirst. The milk that comes later (hindmilk) is thicker, higher in fat and more nutritious. In fact, according to a research this milk may contain 2 to 3 times as much fat as milk from the beginning of a feeding, and 7 to 11 more calories per ounce. Therefore, to get to the most nutritious milk, it’s important that your baby empties one breast before switching to the other.
Nutrient-Filled Breastfeeding Foods: Really Super for the Best Nutrition
In fact, it’s estimated that your energy needs during breastfeeding increase by about per day. The need for specific nutrients, including protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, B12, selenium, and zinc go up as well.
This is why eating a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods is so important for your health and your baby’s health. Choosing foods rich in the above nutrients can help ensure that you get all the macro- and micronutrients you and your little one need.
Here is a list of foods that are nutritious and delicious food choices to include in your food plan when breastfeeding:
- Fish and seafood: salmon, seaweed, shellfish, sardines
- Meat and poultry: chicken, beef, lamb, pork, organ meats (such as liver)
- Fruits and vegetables: berries, tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, kale, garlic, broccoli
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds
- Healthy fats: avocados, olive oil, coconut, eggs, full-fat yogurt
- Fiber-rich starches: potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, oats, quinoa, buckwheat
- Other foods: tofu, dark chocolate, kimchi, sauerkraut
I sure hope you are loving this list . Just know that this list can be much bigger. I just wanted to give you a starter. We’re loving this list so far, but breastfeeding parents are not limited to these foods. We will explore more foods that are super healthy for you at this unique stage of your life. Check out this list Remember that you can still enjoy your favorite foods, even if they are not as healthy as the foods above. Once in a while would not hurt too much. Watch your intake of fast, sugary foods as much as much as possible. These foods if taken in large amounts can cause you to gain weight.
Great Vitamins to Take While Breastfeeding: Get As Much From Your Food Sources
Group 1 nutrients
Here are the group 1 nutrients and how to find them in some common food sources:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): fish, pork, seeds, nuts, beans
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): cheese, almonds, nuts, red meat, oily fish, eggs
- Vitamin B6: chickpeas, nuts, fish, poultry, potatoes, bananas, dried fruit
- Vitamin B12: shellfish, liver, yogurt, oily fish, nutritional yeast, eggs, crab, shrimp
- Choline: eggs, beef liver, chicken liver, fish, peanuts
- Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, organ meats, eggs
- Vitamin D: cod liver oil, oily fish, some mushrooms, fortified foods
- Selenium: Brazil nuts, seafood, turkey, whole wheat, seeds
- Iodine: dried seaweed, cod, milk, iodized salt
Group 2 nutrients
Here are the group 2 nutrients and some common food sources:
- Folate: beans, lentils, leafy greens, asparagus, avocados
- Calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, legumes
- Iron: red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, green vegetables, dried fruit
- Copper: shellfish, whole grains, nuts, beans, organ meats, potatoes
- Zinc: oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, dairy
Keep in mind that having enough group 1 nutrients is important for both you and your baby, while getting enough group 2 nutrients is mostly just important for you. If your body is deficient in any nutrients, know that your baby will get what he/she needs. Amazingly, your body will adjust by depleting your body stores . Hence, if you are not getting enough, you must replenish with your diet or supplements.
Adding Supplements to Your Diet: A Vital Necessity
I believe all new Moms should include a multivitamin can be a wonderous choice for increasing your intake of important vitamins and minerals. It is normal for all women to become deficient in nutrients after delivery; so it is extremely important for them to replenish their system immediately after postpartum. I recommend taking a multivitamin daily.
Here is a list to help you along:
Vitamin B-12 is a super important water-soluble vitamin that is essential for your baby’s health, as well as your own health, during breastfeeding.
Plus, many women — especially those following mostly plant-those who’ve had gastric bypass and women who are on certain medications (such as acid reflux drugs) — are already at an increased risk of having low B-12 levels.
If you fit into one of these categories, or if you feel that you don’t eat enough B-12 rich foods like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and fortified foods, then taking a B-complex or B-12 supplement is a good idea.
Keep in mind that a most high-quality multivitamin and prenatal vitamins contain enough B-12 to cover your needs.
Omega-3 fats are all the rage nowadays, and for good reason. These fats, naturally found in fatty fish and algae, play essential roles in both maternal and fetal health.
For example, the omega-3 fat DHA is critical for the development of your baby’s nervous system, skin, and eyes. Plus, concentration of this important fat in breast milk largely depends on your intake levels.
What’s more, shows that babies who are fed breast milk with high levels of DHA have better vision and neurodevelopment outcomes.
Because breast milk concentrations of omega-3s reflect your intake of these important fats, it’s essential that you get enough. We recommend that nursing mothers take in 250 to 375 mg daily of DHA plus EPA, another important omega-3 fat.
Although eating 8 to 12 ounces of fish, especially fatty fish like salmon and sardines, can help you reach the amount you need, taking a fish oil or krill oil supplement is a convenient way to cover your daily needs.
Vitamin D: Essential for All Newborns
Vitamin D is only found in a few foods, like fatty fish, fish liver oils, and fortified products. Your body can also produce it from sunlight exposure, though it depends on many factors, like skin color and where you live.
It plays many important roles in your body and is essential for immune function and bone health.
Vitamin D is usually only present in low amounts in breast milk, especially when sun exposure is limited. I encourage you to take walks in the sun sometimes with your baby.
Therefore, supplementing with 400 IU of vitamin D per day is recommended for breast-fed babies and babies consuming less than 1 liter of formula per day, starting during the first few days of life and continuing until they are 12 months of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to research, supplementing with 6,400 IU daily can help supply your baby with adequate amounts of vitamin D through breast milk alone. Interestingly, this amount is much higher than the present recommended vitamin D intake of 600 IU for breastfeeding moms.
Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common amongst breastfeeding women. And deficiency can lead to negative health outcomes, including postpartum depression. That’s why supplementing with this vitamin is recommended.
Ask your healthcare provider for specific dosing recommendations based on your current vitamin D levels.
“Breastfeeding is definitely An Amazing food that is Helping to Make the World A better Place”……Marilyn Smith
Drink plenty of water: It Goes a Long Way!
Mama, drinking lots of while breastfeeding is essential to help you stay hydrated and less fatigue during this exciting
journey. I do not know how it will affect you, but have something to drink while breastfeeding and always drink when you are thirsty. Never put it off. Drinking more fluids also helps to prevent constipation which can occur while on multivitamins and taking iron.
When your baby latches onto your breast, your oxytocin levels increase. This causes your milk to start flowing. This also stimulates thirst and helps ensure that you stay properly hydrated while feeding your baby.
It’s important to note that your hydration needs will vary depending on factors like activity levels and dietary intake. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to how much fluid you need during breastfeeding.
As a rule of thumb, you should always drink when you are thirsty and until you have quenched your thirst.
But if you feel very tired, faint, or as if your milk production is decreasing, you may need to drink more water. The best way to tell if you are drinking enough water is the color and smell of your urine.
If it is dark yellow and has a strong smell, that’s a sign that you’re dehydrated and need to drink more water.
Foods and drinks to avoid while breastfeeding
Most foods and drinks are safe during breastfeeding, but there are a few that should be limited or avoided. If you think something may be impacting your baby negatively, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
To be real it’s safe to eat just about any food while breastfeeding, unless you have an allergy to a specific food.
And, although some flavors from food, spices or beverages may change the taste of your breast milk, shows it’s unlikely that this will impact your baby’s feeding time or make them fussy.
Another common misconception is that “gassy” foods like cauliflower and cabbage will cause gassiness in your baby, too. Although these foods may make you gassy, the gas-promoting compounds do not transfer to breast milk, per this 2017 researchTrusted Source.
Caution! These foods have special safety considerations
- Fish: Avoid high-mercury fish.
- Alcohol: It’s safest to abstain. Be sure to time any occasional drink.
- Herbs: Check with your doctor.
These foods can bother some babies:
- Chocolate: Too much could overstimulate your baby.
- Cow’s milk: Your baby could have a food intolerance to a protein in cow’s milk.
- Soy: Your baby could have a food intolerance to a protein in soy.
Most breastfeeding moms can eat whatever they like without it affecting their babies. Foods that make you gassy won’t make your baby gassier than usual.
But every baby is different. If you notice that your baby seems to be fussy, gassy, or sleepless after you eat a particular food, talk to your baby’s doctor about whether the cause could be your diet or something else.
About 1 percentTrusted Source of the caffeine you consume is transferred to breast milk, and research says it takes babies much longer to metabolize caffeine. Drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee have not been shown to cause harm, but they may affect the baby’s sleep.
Therefore, it’s recommended that breastfeeding women limit their coffee intake to about 2 to 3 cups per day. It’s a bummer, we know, but at least some coffee is allowed, right?
Alcohol can also make its way into breast milk. The concentration resembles the amount found in the mother’s blood. However, babies metabolize alcohol at only half the rate of adults.
Nursing after drinking just 1 to 2 drinks can decrease your baby’s milk intake by up to 23 percentTrusted Source and cause agitation and poor sleep.
Because alcohol intake too close to breastfeeding can negatively impact your baby’s healthy, the AAP says alcohol intake should be limited during breastfeeding.
The AAP suggests no more than 0.5 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight, which for a 60-kilogram (132-pound) mother, equals 2 ounces of liquor, 8 ounces of wine, or 2 beers.
Although it’s perfectly find to enjoy an alcoholic beverage as a breastfeeding mom, it’s best to wait at least 2 hours after drinking to breastfeed your baby.
Although uncommon. Some babies may be allergic to cow’s milk. And if your baby has a cow’s milk allergy, it’s important that you exclude all dairy products from your diet.
Up to 1 percentTrusted Source of breastfed infants are allergic to cow’s milk protein from their mother’s diet, and may develop rashes, eczema, diarrhea, bloody stools, vomiting or baby colic.
Your healthcare provider can give you advice on how long to exclude dairy from your diet for, and when it’s safe to reintroduce dairy. I remember my baby girl having lactose intolerance, we had to use this liquid formula for her. It helped her feeds to be tolerated.
Breastfeeding and weight loss: A Wonderful Combination
You might be tempted to lose weight quickly after delivery, but weight loss takes time and it’s important to be kind to your body during this transition.
With the many hormonal changes that take place during breastfeeding and the calorie demands of making breast milk, you may have a bigger appetite during breastfeeding.
Restricting calories too much, especially during the first few months of breastfeeding, may decrease your milk supply and much-needed energy levels.
Losing approximately 1.1 pounds (0.5 kilograms) through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise should not affect your milk supply or milk composition, assuming that you are not undernourished to begin with.
It is recommended that as a breastfeeding Mom you should take the right calories by choosing the more healthier foods with high calories if you are overweight. But if you’re underweight, you would do the opposite by eating healthy foods with high calories. Meeting you caloric needs will help to improve your milk supply. Learning to read labels on food is also good to control and monitor your calorie intake.
Here’s an alternative to this!
On the other hand, I also know that not everyone prefers to diet in this way. Here is an alternative way you can do it with with this link right here
I want you to be patient with yourself, and do not become discouraged. Be persistent! It took months to put on the weight for a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby, and it may take you months to lose it — I encourage you to be patient. You will not lose your weight overnight.
The most important thing to remember when trying to lose pregnancy weight is that restrictive diets are not good for overall health and don’t work for long-term weight loss.
Adding A Smoothie Can Be A Winning Experience: Postpartum
Every pregnant woman should want to know that they are getting all of the needed quality nutrients for a healthy and rich lifestyle. Making a smoothie can be a treat , something different and also delicious, and nutritious. When you are considering adding a smoothies to your food list make sure that all of the above valuable nutrients are included. These include antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, electrolytes, and healthy fats are all important to consume while pregnant.
The best ingredients for pregnancy smoothies are:
Ginger is a wonderful ingredient for pregnancy because it is a great anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory spice and provides antioxidants.
Dark Green Vegetables
Nuts + Seeds
Adding nuts and seeds to your smoothies is a great way to get protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds and hemp seeds are some of the most nutritious seeds for your pregnancy smoothies.
Here are some great recipes you can try:
1. The Amazing Supercharged Smoothie
This is the ultimate smoothie for pregnancy, containing as many essential nutrients as a smoothie possibly can. It’s perfect to drink for lunch throughout your whole pregnancy and even postpartum while you’re breastfeeding.
The ingredients are:
- 1 organic banana
- 1 ½ cups organic frozen berries
- 1 generous serving of organic greens
- 2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
- 2 tbsp organic flax/hemp seeds
- 6-8 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
All you do is blend all ingredients well and enjoy!
2. Mango Ginger Power Smoothie
This recipe will help ease morning sickness and provides protein, probiotics, and many essential nutrients.
The ingredients are:
- ⅓ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup frozen mango
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ cup cold water
- 4 small pieces of crystallized ginger
Blend this up for a nausea-relieving, nutritious treat!
3. The Wholesome Green Smoothie
The Mega Green Smoothie gives you all the green fruits and vegetables you could possibly need! It also contains ginger to help with morning sickness.
The ingredients are:
- 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
- 1 cup frozen green grapes
- ¾ cup cucumber chunks (not peeled)
- ½ ripe avocado, cut into chunks
- ½ cup baby spinach or baby kale
- ¼ tsp ginger, peeled and grated
- Agave nectar to taste
Blend well and enjoy!
4. The Nuttier Delicious Smoothie
This recipe utilizes the protein and fiber found in nuts and seeds paired with vitamin- and mineral-rich banana and avocado.
The ingredients are:
- ½ frozen banana
- ½ avocado
- 2 tablespoons ground walnuts
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 8 ounces almond milk
Blend well and enjoy the flavor!
5. Carrot-Citrus Booster Smoothie
This simple twist on carrot juice makes an even more nutritious and delicious smoothie! Carrots provide beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A to support your baby’s eyes, lungs, and heart. With a citrus flavor, anyone can enjoy this drink even if you don’t like carrot juice.
The ingredients are:
- ¾ cup lemon sorbet
- ¾ cup carrot juice
- 8 ice cubes
Blend to enjoy a delicious, bright-orange treat!
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Blend your way to delicious smoothie treats that give you the total nutrition you need while breastfeeding
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We have come to the end of our topic on the best breastfeeding foods and weight loss for mothers. I have also included some helpful tips to help you long. Breastfeeding is hard work! Your body requires more calories and nutrients to keep you and your baby nourished and healthy.
If you’re not eating enough calories or nutrient-rich foods, this can negatively affect the quality of your breast milk. It can also be detrimental for your own health.
It’s more important than ever to eat a variety of healthy, nutritious foods and limit processed foods. Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol consumption, and stick to the recommended intakes to keep your baby healthy. Thank you for stopping by and do come again. I hope you are making progress in your breastfeeding journey.
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Here is a great video to watch on breastfeeding and loosing weight. Enjoy as you learn!