For mothers who choose to breastfeed, there are diet and lifestyle choices to consider.
There are many advantages to breastfeeding for both moms and babies. The health benefits for breastfed babies include less frequent childhood illnesses, lower risk of obesity, and possibly slightly higher IQ’s than babies that are formula-fed.
There are health benefits for moms who breastfeed as well, such as a lower risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. For mothers who plan to breastfeed, there are many things to remember, including the important role that a healthy diet plays in breastfeeding.
Eating While Breastfeeding
Although there is no special diet recommended for breastfeeding moms, it is advised for mothers to eat as nutritiously as possible. A nursing mother can consume the same amount of calories that she did before her pregnancy and can eat whatever she likes in moderation; there are no specifically blacklisted foods for nursing mothers.
However, each woman and each baby are different and certain foods consumed by the mother may cause stomach discomfort in her child. Should this happen, a woman should consult her doctor or the baby’s pediatrician to see what foods in her diet are the likely culprit and try eliminating them for the time being.
A woman who is breastfeeding should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes whole grains and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, as recommended by the Mayoclinic.com. It’s also very important for moms who are breastfeeding to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. In a well-hydrated person, urine should be light yellow or clear.
Ideally, good nutrition should begin before a woman even becomes pregnant, but it is especially important during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, not only to ensure her baby gets the right nutrients but also to keep up her own health and strength. For moms who are unsure about what foods are healthiest, a consultation with a nutritionist or dietitian can be very helpful, or ask a doctor for advice on healthy eating.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Nursing Moms
There are other things to think about besides the proper diet for good health while breastfeeding. Nursing moms should try to get as much rest as possible. Consult with the child’s pediatrician about whether Vitamin D supplementation might be good for the baby, as breast milk might not provide enough Vitamin D on its own.
Also, talk to a doctor about whether a multivitamin for mom is a good idea. Womenshealth.gov recommends exercise for nursing moms . Just make sure to wear a supportive bra and use breastfeeding pads for comfort and to avoid embarrassment from leakage. Mothers who are breastfeeding should not smoke.
There are several things nursing mothers need to keep in mind. Although an occasional alcoholic drink while breastfeeding is okay, do not breastfeed for at least two hours after the drink. Also, limit caffeine to less than 25 ounces of coffee a day, or five soft drinks that contain caffeine, as excess caffeine consumption by the mother can have an adverse impact on a breastfed baby’s sleep habits. Breastfeeding mothers should make sure to clear any medications that are taken with a doctor to be sure they are safe for a nursing baby.
Breastfeeding is good for the health of moms and babies. Taking good care of herself while nursing by eating right, exercising, and taking supplements if recommended, can help both mom and baby be happy and healthy.