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How to Create a Helpful Breastfeeding Diet?
Creating a helpful breastfeeding diet does not have to be difficult. Incorporating some Asian traditional practices, culture, and ingredients into your diet can make a big difference. Here are some ways to create a helpful breastfeeding diet:
Drink Adequate Fluids
This is especially important during the hot summer months…oh, sorry, we forgot we’re writing this article in Singapore. What we meant was that this is especially important in the warm tropical climate of Singapore.
Drink lots of water and herbal teas to stay hydrated and increase your milk production. Soups are also a great option as they are easy to digest and full of nutrients.
Drinking plenty of fluids is essential for all breastfeeding mothers, as it helps to keep them hydrated and supports the body’s normal functioning as the mother breastfeeds.
While any type of fluid will help, water is the best choice, as it is calorie-free and contains no sugar or caffeine.
When breastfeeding mothers are dehydrated, mothers are more prone to be constipated and easily tired. If a mother is easily tired, she may not be able to attend to or nurse her baby as often as she would like to. It would become a vicious cycle which does not help the mother to breastfeed successfully.
As a result, it is important for all breastfeeding mothers to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
It is important to eat small, frequent meals when you are breastfeeding. This will help you to maintain your energy levels. The body needs about an additional 500 calories to support the nutritional requirements of breastfeeding mothers. Thus, it is normal for mothers to feel hungry easily when she breastfeeds.
Splitting up meals into smaller main meals with snacks in between can help you meet those additional requirements without making you feel uncomfortably full post-meal while still providing you with more sustained energy throughout the day.
Snack times in between these smaller main meals are also a great time to slot in two servings of fruits per day. More often than not, fruit intake ends up being sidelined because you’re likely too full after a meal to even bother. On the other hand, when you do try to have fruits before a meal, you feel like it kills your appetite and you end up not having enough during your main meals.
Fruits are important and shouldn’t be missed. It is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and a great source of fibre! All of which is essential in supporting the general well being of mothers, skin complexion, gut health and even mental health. Thus, think of how you can pair up your fruits with a choice of protein or healthy fats to make them more filling for your tummy and enjoyable!
Ensuring that a balanced diet is observed while breastfeeding is important in order to provide the best nutrition for both mother and baby. A rather simple recommendation from SG Hub to follow easily in order to practice balanced meals daily is to follow the “quarter, quarter, half” rule such as below:
~ One-quarter plate of rice
~ One-quarter plate of protein
~Half a plate of veggies
Balanced meals help not only replenish the nutrition stores of mothers that are used to support breastfeeding, but also ensure that the nutrients in the breast milk that is dependent on adequate maternal intake are sufficient for infants.
Yes, you may have heard time and time again that regardless of what you eat, your breast milk will still be the best food for your baby! Majority of the nutrient composition in your breast milk does not change based on what you eat as it is dependent on maternal stores. However, nutrients that are not dependent on nutrient stores are what mothers need to be concerned about so that they would have adequate intake for themselves and their baby. These are nutrients like Omega 3-DHA, Choline, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and all Vitamin Bs except Folate.
Nutrients like Omega 3-DHA, Iodine and Choline are important for brain development in babies while nutrients like Vitamin A are important for vision health in babies! If there is a lack in maternal intake, there will be a lack of these nutrients in the breast milk for the baby! So it is very important for mothers to practice a balanced diet as often as possible!
Eat Lactogenic Foods
Breastfeeding is an important part of a newborn’s development, and lactogenic foods may help to support mothers with milk production. In addition, these foods often contain high levels of nutrients like fibre, antioxidants, and polyphenols that are beneficial to mothers and infants.
While there are many different lactogenic foods, some of the most commonly consumed include fennel, fenugreek and garlic. Often, these foods are consumed in the form of tea or incorporated into the cooking and preparation of meals.
Ginger is a common ingredient used in Asian cuisine. It has many health benefits, including relieving nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. It is also known to increase milk production among nursing mothers. Old wife’s tale, some would call it. Some really do swear by it! Try adding ginger to soups or teas, or eating ginger candies throughout the day
Fenugreek seeds are another ingredient commonly used in Asia which have been anecdotally found to increase milk production in nursing mothers. They can be found in most health food stores or online retailers. Try soaking a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight, then drink the water as well as chew on the seeds in the morning. You can also add fenugreek seeds to soups or curries for added flavour and nutrition.
Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for both you and your baby. They are also a good source of fibre, which can help with any digestive issues you may be experiencing. It is always recommended for mothers to include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Lastly, make sure to get enough rest! When you are tired, you are more likely to be more anxious and stressed. Tense and anxious mothers are associated with fussy or lethargic infants, inhibited let-down and illness of infant or mother.
Following an Asian-centric diet while breastfeeding can have many benefits for both mother and child. So try out some of these tips and see how they work for you.
At this point, if you’re still intrigued about the actual lactation foods that increase milk supply, then might we suggest some healthy lactation meals? How about a ReLacto breastfeeding meal plan? Oh, yes, we at ReLacto do provide breastfeeding meals that can help mummies find the support they need in their breastfeeding journeys.