Here is some information about nutrition during lactation. Read more about nutrition for nursing mothers.
Nutrition During Lactation
The nutrition needs of a nursing mother are much more, because the kind of nutrition she consumes, will determine the quantity and quality of milk produced post-pregnancy. The food that the mother consumes not just fulfills her nutritional requirements, but also the nutritional requirements of the baby. A nursing mother produces 23 to 27 ounces of milk per day and thus, there arises a need to consume 500 extra calories per day. The nutrition for nursing mothers plays a vital role in defining the overall growth and health of the child. There is a possibility that the nursing mother might have a healthy baby, despite the fact that she had not fed herself properly, but then that is likely to happen often at the detriment of the mother's health itself. It is during the time of pregnancy and after it, where the body identifies ‘milk production’ as its first priority. Most often, this leaves the nursing mother deprived of the necessary nutrition. Read further to explore more information about nutrition during lactation.
Nutrition For Nursing Mothers
- It is during lactation that the nursing mothers tend to feel thirstier, owing to the fact that part of their water consumption is utilized by the body for the formation of milk. It is here where it becomes necessary to increase your water intake by one quart per day, so that you are drinking a total of 2.5 to 3 quarts.
- You should increase your calorie consumption to about 2500 calories per day and opt for healthy foods that are rich in nutrients required by the body. If you are counting calories while nursing, you might not be providing enough for your child. So keep the weighing machine away for a while and binge on lots of healthy food guilt-free!
- Eat more of protein rich foods. The basic rule says that you should eat 1 gram of protein each day for every pound you weigh.
- Eat multiple small meals. Follow a five-meal routine: breakfast, lunch, after- noon snack, an extra snack during the evening and dinner.
- There is a need to keep away from tobacco, as there is likelihood that the nicotine might get transferred into the child's body through breast milk.
- Say no to alcohol, as alcohol can retard the growth of your baby.
- It is recommended to consult your doctor before taking any kind of medication.
- It is advisable for the nursing mother to continue taking her prenatal vitamins.
Folic acid is an extremely important nutrition while nursing your baby. It is a B-vitamin and the recommended intake for nursing mothers is anything between 400-500 micrograms daily. This is not only important for the mother but is also imperative for the proper growth and development of the child. Foods that are rich in folic acid are cereals, rice, bread, pasta, dried beans, legumes and green leafy vegetables. An increased intake of these foods during lactation will not cause any harm for the lactating mother.
Calcium is extremely important for the health of the nursing mother and the baby. It has been proven that a lot of calcium is lost during pregnancy and lactation and as a result, it has to be replaced in order to be able to maintain overall health. The recommended intake for lactating mothers is 1,600 mg, which a mother can receive with the consumption of cheese, broccoli, almonds, milk, tofu, yoghurt and dark green vegetables.
Along with prenatal vitamins, it is imperative to consume food that is high in vitamins such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, pulses and legumes. Vitamin D is also extremely important for the growth and the development of the baby. It is recommended that pregnant and lactating mothers have more vitamin-laden fruits and vegetables during this period in order to be able to replenish the body and replace the lost vitamins.
Iron is important for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. If there is an iron deficiency, the mother can end up feeling weak, fatigued and will also have a loss of appetite. Nursing mothers could also end up contracting the flu more often, which could be harmful for the baby. This could be avoided with the continuous intake of prenatal vitamins and by consuming foods that are rich in iron including red meat, poultry, spinach, dark leafy vegetables, kidney beans, baked potatoes, raisins and other dry fruits.
Drink Lots Of Fluids
While breast-feeding, it is extremely important to drink a lot of fluids. Whether you are having more glasses of water than usual or you have started taking a glass of juice with your breakfast every morning, it is always a good option to keep some water or juice at hand. Try to avoid energy drinks that have additives or dangerous ingredients like caffeine as it could alter the composition of breast milk and in turn, be harmful for the child. A lot of water and a lot of juice (fresh or readymade) are good options!
Your body needs a good amount of vitamins and minerals when you are pregnant and postpartum. In order to be able to produce a good quantity of good quality milk, it is very important to understand what your body requires nutritionally, which you can satisfy by eating or avoiding certain types of food. Remember, the food you eat will directly affect the growth and the health of your child, so choose wisely!