Nutrition for Nursing Moms

Nine months of nourishing your baby in your womb isn’t enough. Apart from all the nutritional and immunity benefits, breast-feeding also helps you bond with your newborn. Breast-feeding does create a lot of anxiety for a majority of women during the early days, with problems like inadequate milk flow and inconsistent nursing troubling them. A clear understanding of breast-feeding would help dispel many doubts and fears.

 

What Should Nursing Moms Be Eating?

Ideally, mothers of nursing babies should eat a balanced, varied diet including fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important to eat foods from all the food groups, as well as continuing to take your prenatal vitamins.

  • Include fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals and at least three servings of calcium-rich milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • The National Institute of Nutrition recommends that breastfeeding mums need iron, calcium and folic supplements. Some mothers may additionally require Vitamin C. A and B12 supplements.
  • Include foods that are rich in iron and protein.
  • Drink adequate quantities of water. The best way to find out if you’re getting enough fluids is to keep an eye on your urine colour. If its pale, you’re drinking plenty: if its dark yellow, it mean you need to increase the quantity of fluids

What Should You Avoid Eating?

Contrary to traditional beliefs, there is no restriction on the type of food you can eat while breastfeeding. Everything is moderation is allowed, unless your doctor has advised otherwise. However, sometimes your baby may react to certain foods that you’ve been eating and this could cause discomfort to the baby. Most often, this may result in the baby having colic or gas which will make her cry.

To avoid this, keep a close watch on your diet to find out what is causing the problem. You could eliminate this from your diet for a few days to see if this is helping the baby. Some of the common foods that are believed to cause colic include cabbage, onions, eggs and cow’s milk.

Some strongly believe that spicy foods could trigger tummy upsets. But this may not be true in all cases. While some babies may be absolutely fine, others may react adversely.

What About Alcohol And Smoking?

Remember whatever you eat or drink, passes through your blood stream and eventually gets into the breast milk. So it’s best to avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine to keep your baby healthy, especially if she is newborn.

But if you really need to indulge yourself with alcohol, do be mindful of the quantity. Also, it’s best to have it soon after breastfeeding your baby. This will give you an ample four hour gap before the next feed, by which time, the alcohol would have substantially reduced to safer levels that is unlikely to harm your baby.