There has been a lot of debate whether “breast is best” for babies, but there is no doubting the special bond formed between mother and baby as a result. If you decide you want to breastfeed your baby, it is crucial to maintaining a healthy diet, as this ensures that you are passing on as many nutrients as possible in your milk.
Searching the internet will give you all sorts of information on what to eat while breastfeeding. And while there is no one-size-fits-all approach, following some common sense dietary steps will not only help your baby but also ensure that you stay healthy yourself.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
There are many benefits regarding breastfeeding your baby, and these include:
- Your baby receives lots of nutrients, hormones, and disease-fighting compounds that are impossible to completely replicate in formula milk
- Reduced risk of illnesses such as gastroenteritis and pneumonia in the first year of the baby’s life
- Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of developing some diseases later on in life such as type 2 diabetes
Diets are not an exact science when breastfeeding, but as a general rule, you should use common sense and carefully monitor your baby’s behavior and digestion following feedings. If you notice any particular problems with upset stomachs, rashes, or if your baby is restless, it might be a good idea to stop taking that food while you are still breastfeeding.
Good Foods for Breastfeeding
There are no specific foods to recommend other than what you need to keep yourself healthy. Having a balanced diet keeps your energy up and helps to build up high-quality breast milk for your little one.
Fruit and Vegetables: a varied amount of fruit and vegetables each day
Starchy Foods: whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice, as well as potatoes help the production of milk and can aid in your baby’s digestion
Protein: this is useful for you and your baby, but try to eat a varied amount of meat and limit the amount of fish you eat
Liquids: stay hydrated throughout the day, and while you are breastfeeding, by drinking lots of water—milk is good for the calcium, but don’t drink too much citrus-based fruit juices, as the acid is likely to upset your little one’s digestive system
Dairy: eating and drinking good-quality dairy products is an excellent way to take in calcium, which helps the healthy growth and development of the bones
Food and Drinks to Avoid or Have in Moderation
Caffeine: This is a tough one for many sleep-deprived mothers, but caffeine intake should either be avoided or kept to a minimum, as it can be easily passed on to your baby, resulting in missing their afternoon nap. Avoiding caffeine also means watching the amount of chocolate and soda you have.
Alcohol: Another thing that is best to avoid or limit while breastfeeding is alcohol, as it can be passed onto your baby. Alcohol can easily upset your baby’s sleeping and eating patterns, so if you are planning to have a drink, leave sufficient time between drinking and feeding time.
Allergens: If your baby is sensitive to foods such as dairy, wheat, and nuts, they are likely to show symptoms such as rashes, upset stomach, poo problems, and feeding problems. If you are concerned about any particular food, discuss it with your pediatrician to see what they recommend.