A new baby is a milestone and means having to make changes. If you aren’t feeding him/her infant formula, a new breastfeeding diet is in order.
What you put into your body makes a difference to your baby’s health. We indicate what foods you should and shouldn’t eat during breastfeeding and suggest lifestyle changes that you should make if you choose this route.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Only 30% of women breastfeed, according to statistics. Some women can’t do so, while others choose to avoid the process. Breastfeeding has tremendous benefits for a mother and her baby, and here’s why.
1. Optimal Nutrition
First of all, breastmilk provides the right amount of nutrients for a mum and her newborn. Doctors and other experts recommend it for at least a year, as babies become accustomed to new foods.
Its composition changes according to a baby’s needs. During the first few days post-birth, a mother’s milk has a yellow fluid called colostrum. It’s low in sugar, high in protein and full of beneficial compounds.
2. Breast milk has antibodies
Also, breastmilk has antibodies that help infants fight off bacteria. Colostrum has immunoglobulin A and other antibodies. It forms a layer around a baby’s nose, throat, and digestive system, protecting it from infection. Therefore, it reduces the risk of diseases.
Researchers discovered that three months of feeding a baby only breast milk reduced its risk of infection by 50%. It also lowered the risk of respiratory tract infections (72%), gut infections (64%), and intestinal tissue damage (60%).
Breastfed babies aren’t the only ones with low disease risk. Breastfeeding also protects moms against cancer, according to studies. Other research suggests that it prevents metabolic syndrome.
3. Encourages weight loss
Breastmilk prevents babies from becoming overweight, due to the different gut bacteria it contains. These bacteria prevent fat storage. Studies show that obesity rates are about 30% lower for babies fed with breast milk than those given formula. Also, breastfeeding prevents future obesity by about 4%.
And breastfed babies aren’t the only ones who lose weight. Their mothers will slim down because the hormonal balance of breastmilk is different from milk formula. That said, diet and exercise are always essential for preventing weight gain.
4. Makes children smarter
The brains of infants fed with breast milk develop differently from formula-fed babies. Breastfed babies, according to studies, have higher intelligence scores than their formula-fed peers. They also develop fewer behavioral problems.
5. Contracts the uterus
A pregnant woman’s uterus grows when she’s pregnant. It balloons to fill almost the whole abdomen.
A process called involution takes place after delivery. It returns the womb to its original size. The body also produces oxytocin during breastfeeding, which hastens this process. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers experience faster involution than those who feed their children milk formula.
6. Lower risk of depression
New mothers are prone to post-partum depression. Studies show that it affects up to 15% of them. They also show that women who breastfeed have a lower risk of this ailment than those who don’t.
Changes that take place in the body when you breastfeed
As mentioned above, breastfeeding, especially when you follow the right diet, prevents weight gain. Oxytocin also returns the uterus to its regular size. The body produces colostrum according to your baby’s needs. Other changes take place as well.
1. Hormonal Changes
First of all, your hormones go a little awry. Your body produces the hormone, prolactin. Also, you know that your body produces oxytocin, which shrinks the uterus to its regular size. This substance may also cause you to feel extraordinarily happy. You may feel a lack of sexual energy and no period. Drowsiness is another typical hormonal change.
Furthermore, your breasts will leak because they produce milk. Thanks to oxytocin, they will seem to act on instinct, doing so when your baby is hungry or cries.
3.Change in bone density
Finally, your baby, needing calcium, will draw it from your bones when you breastfeed. Your body may lose 3-5% bone mass during this time because it produces less estrogen than it did before the birth of your baby.
The Best Breastfeeding Diet – Foods to Eat
The demands on you as a new mum are many and will increase if you nurse. Getting proper nutrition is essential because you need to consider your little one.
First of all are oats, filled with fiber and protein. They will keep you full because they break down slowly. Your favorite breakfast also helps to stabilize your blood sugar and improves your milk supply.
Congratulations! You have a new reason to enjoy omelets for lunch. Eggs contain the amino acids your baby needs. They also represent your daily intake of choline, which improves the brain development of children.
Avocado contains healthy fat, 75% of which is unsaturated. It boosts your nutrition by allowing the body to absorb vitamins. It will improve your little one’s health, so take as much avocado toast as you wish.
Greek yogurt is ideal for breakfast or as a snack. It contains probiotics (healthy bacteria) and Vitamin B 12, which promote overall well-being.
Beans may make you feel bloated, but they will ensure the well-being of your baby and yourself. They are abundant in minerals like zinc, folate, iron, calcium, and protein. Adding beans to your diet will increase the plant-based proteins in your body. They also transport oxygen, which raises your energy levels. They are safe to eat and ensure your milk supply.
Milk has the vitamins and minerals a mom and her growing baby need. Turn to it for calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Potassium.
7. Fruits and Vegetables
Eat the food rainbow if you’re breastfeeding – the more colors, the better your diet will be. Fruits and vegetables are as colorful as you get, and make excellent garnishes. Bright orange carrots are a source of Beta-Carotene. It converts to Vitamin A in your body. This root vegetable also boosts immunity and eye health, so you won’t go wrong if you transfer its goodness to your child.
You probably pushed the fish at the dinner table away when you were pregnant because someone told you how dangerous it is. The good news is that you can reintroduce it into your diet. Salmon has Omega-3 fatty acids that become DHA in your baby’s body. It lines cell walls and forms a protective coating around them. You will experience the benefits of tuna or salmon if you eat it twice weekly.
9. Brown Rice
Brown rice is rich in fiber and stabilizes blood sugar. It also increases serotonin or the feel-good chemical that helps us fight stress. This healthy food also adds Prolactin, or the hormone mothers need to produce milk.
Finally, nuts can boost milk supply. They have tryptophan, which converts to serotonin to stabilize your mood and relieve your newborn’s stress. They also increase Prolactin, which means more nutrition for your baby.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods may harm your young infant if they work their way into your breast milk. Cutting them out of your diet is wise.
First of all is caffeine, which you probably need more of because you’re getting less sleep than when you were pregnant. Sadly, it works its way into your breast milk. Babies cannot process it as quickly as adults, so have your coffee after yours feeds.
You may also want to avoid chocolate, as it’s a rich caffeine source. If your baby’s stool becomes runny, cut it out of your diet entirely.
Avoiding fish may seem ironic because we added salmon to the best foods list above. Of course, you shouldn’t cut fish out of your diet except those with high levels of mercury. These include King Mackerel, Swordfish, and Shark. If you enjoy fishing, check local advisories on whether the lake where you’re doing so has a high mercury content.
3. Peppermint and Parsley
You may know that peppermint has positive physiological effects, but did you know that you run the risk of reducing your milk supply if you don’t eat it? Although they are harmless if consumed in small amounts, be careful should you decide to increase this quantity.
Avoid dairy if your young one has eczema or other skin issues. To check if your young one has a dairy allergy, avoid it for a few days. The child probably has one if you see an improvement.
This listing is a commonsense, but still worth mentioning. Like caffeine, it works its way into your breast milk. Having a social drink or two is harmless, but do remember to give the alcohol about two hours to metabolize. You can nurse as soon as you are sober.
Oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits are harmless as a rule but may cause your little one to spit up or have a diaper rash. Substitute it with pineapple or mango.
You know that you should avoid garlic if you’re expecting a kiss, but you may not know that the smell permeates your milk. Your baby’s palate hasn’t matured enough to accept it yet.
If your infant has bloody stools, gluten intolerance should take the blame. Eliminate it from your diet if you’re not sure that it is.
In all, a breastfeeding diet, with the right foods included, will do wonders for your health and your baby’s too.
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