With a new baby in the hand, a new mom is almost always a bundle of nerves. There are so many things vying for your attention every hour of every day. Questions about breastfeeding are a large part of your daily dilemma. KSP make things a little easier for you! Here are all the things you need to eat, snack and feast on to make sure you are producing enough milk to keep your baby happy.
Shortly after giving birth, chemical messages are sent throughout a woman’s body, instructing it to produce breast milk. The benefits of both colostrum and breast milk are manifold. Through diet we can increase its potential and help ensure that it is of the highest possible quality.
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- Your body is healing after giving birth and you need to restore, repair, and make milk. So select nutrient rich and energy rich foods that are easy to digest.
- A breastfeeding mother needs approximately 500 calories more than a non-pregnant, non-lactating woman.
- Meal plans and foods that are allowed differ from region to region. What is acceptable for new moms to eat in a Gujarati household may be strictly off limits for a family from Kerala. Just remember to keep all considerations in mind and ensure you are eating a balanced meal.
- Some foods are known to increase symptoms of gas and colic in infants. There is no one table of foods that works for all. If you feel your baby is particularly fussy one day, evaluate what you ate and see if your baby feels better when you leave that particular food out.
- Always introduce only one new thing in your diet everyday. This is to make sure your baby takes to the new food and is not affected with gas or colic symptoms.
Energy – the fuel Producing enough milk to feed a rapidly growing child can take a lot of energy – about 500 calories each day. Find these calories in nutrient-dense foods, not high sugar ones. Energy foods like dried fruit, smoothies, fruit jams, barley, sweet potatoes and tapioca are excellent energy giving foods post pregnancy.
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Protein – the body building nutrient The protein found in your breast milk is easily and quickly digested by your baby. It has the perfect amino acid profile for growth. During postpartum period, a diet low in protein may lead to a longer recovery period. This may affect your ability to establish a good nursing routine and a good milk supply. Lactating moms should eat at least 4 protein dense servings of food daily (i.e. tofu, nuts, lentils, yoghurt, beans, egg, fish etc).
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Fats – the absorbers and insulators Fats in – fats out. The composition of fat found in your milk is highly variable and very much under the influence of your diet. Within hours of a meal, the type of fat you consumed will become the predominant fat in your milk. This means you should try to be aware of what to eat – and not eat! Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), found in nuts, seeds, olives, avocado and fish, are an important part of your diet during both pregnancy and lactation. These EFAs are essential for brain development & memory enhancement in your child. Breast milk is a good source of EFAs for your infant.
Water The extra fluid you are creating must be supported with additional fluids in your diet. Some mothers will experience an intense thirst as their baby latches on. All the more reason to keep a glass of water nearby at all times! Therefore drinking approximately 10-12 glasses of water each day is very important.
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Toxins in your milk? In addition to trans fats, there are other substances in your diet that are passed on to your child. Caffeine and alcohol, both are taken in by the infant through milk. Unfortunately the baby’s immature liver is not developed enough to process these chemicals.
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What Your Meal Plan Should Look Like
Morning Snack: Dates and soaked almonds.
Breakfast options: Water based drinks (avoid tea/coffee) + warm breakfast like poha/ upma/ idli/ uttapam/ paratha/ chilla/ sprouts/ wholegrain toast + a bowl of sprouts.
Mid morning snack options: Fruit and vegetable juice + 1 tbsp soaked seeds.
Lunch options: Whole wheat Roti or rice + subzi + dal + yoghurt/buttermilk.
Tea time snack options: Water based infusion + baked potato wedges/corn bhel/sprout bhel.
Late evening Snack: A serving of fruit and some nuts.
Dinner options: Can be same as lunch + one serving of vegetable in the form of soup.
Please stay well hydrated by adding coconut water, fruit juices and a few extra glasses of buttermilk to keep you energized. Make sure to eat fresh, local produce and avoid packaged food. Eat food that suits your body type. You do not need to cut out sweets and fried food but eat them in moderation. Also include galactagogues or milk boosting foods in your diet such as methi (fenugreek), sesame seeds, shatavari, fennel, etc. Remember every mom needs to do what is best for her and her baby. There is no one size fits all.
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