Certain nutritional requirements of a breastfeeding mother are increased in response to breast milk production.
Table 1: The daily nutritional requirements of a breastfeeding mother.
|First 6 months||After 6 months|
|Calories||2,245 – 3,340kcal|
|Carbohydrate||50 – 60% of daily intake of calories|
|Fat||20 – 35% of daily intake of calories|
The nutritional requirements of breastfeeding mothers must be met as they are important not only for their baby’s health and development, but also for their overall wellbeing. Here’s a closer look at why and how one should support the nutritional status of breastfeeding mothers.
To Boost Energy Levels
You’ve probably figured it out by now that caring for a newborn and producing breast milk requires LOTS of energy.
Aside from getting enough rest, did you know that good nutrition can help you gain the energy you direly need for breastfeeding?
Carbohydrate is key when it comes to providing energy. Carbohydrates are the most commonly used energy source as they are fast-acting nutrients that produce energy as soon as they are consumed. So, make sure that your breastfeeding diet includes some type of high-carbohydrate food at each meal. Examples include:
- Whole grains: Brown rice, wholemeal bread, and oats.
- Fruits: Bananas, dates, and berries.
- Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, beets, and corn.
You probably already know this, but we’ll say it again: avoid low carb diets and white carbs at all costs! White carbs are refined (devoid of bran, fibre, and nutrients), simple carbohydrates that are commonly referred to as “bad” carbs. Typically white in colour (as the name suggests), they include white bread, white rice, regular pasta, pastries, and so on.
To Prevent Diseases & Infections
The benefits of breastfeeding to a newborn’s immune system are widely understood; however, few people realise that breastfeeding has a significant impact on a mother’s health as well, primarily in the prevention of chronic diseases such as the following:
- heart diseases
- breast and ovarian cancer
- type 2 diabetes
- high cholesterol and blood pressure
So, in order to keep a breastfeeding mommy healthy so that she can breastfeed her baby well, a good nutritional status must be established, and there is no better way to do so than with a proper, well-balanced breastfeeding meal plan! A good breastfeeding meal plan should include all of the following:
|Protein||Fish low in mercury, lean meat, and dairy products.||3||Promotes postpartum recovery and optimal body function (for the production of breast milk).|
|Carbohydrate||High-carb fruits, whole grains, and oatmeal.||3||Lowers the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases.|
|Fat(omega-3)||Fatty fish low in mercury, nuts, and seeds.||No info||Improves many of the risk factors for heart disease.|
|Vitamin C||Grapefruits, oranges, broccoli, and kale.||2||Increases the production of white blood cells in the body, which fight infections.|
|Calcium||Dairy products, fruits, and Greek yoghurt.||3||Restores depleted calcium reserves, promotes bone health, and reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures.|
|Fibre||Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.||No info||Reduces the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and digestive disorders.|
|Water||–||128 oz.(approx. 3 – 4L)||Prevents dehydration.|
Aside from that, eating iron-rich foods while breastfeeding may also help prevent iron deficiency anaemia in breastfeeding mothers. Iron is also important for breastfeeding mothers, as a lack of it can make them more susceptible to infections. Good dietary sources of iron include fortified cereals, red meat, legumes, and leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.
To Balance Body Hormones
A healthy hormone balance is essential for proper body functioning as our body hormones control virtually every physiological process in our bodies, from metabolism to the immune system and, for breastfeeding mothers, the production of breast milk.
Specific nutrients, dietary patterns, and overall nutrition can all have an impact on your hormonal balance postpartum, either positively or negatively, which is why a well-balanced diet is critical to maintaining your hormone balance. This, however, may be harder than it sounds.
As a new mom with both old and new responsibilities, it may be difficult to prepare well-balanced meals on a daily basis. But don’t worry, mommies – that’s where we come in!
At ReLacto, we strive to provide not only the best but also a wide range of healthy, well-balanced meals that are packed with all the nutrition you need on a daily basis. But that’s not all! All of our dietitian-guided meals are lactogenic as they contain galactagogues – foods that are said to aid in the production and supply of breast milk! You can learn more about what foods help produce breast milk by clicking here.
So, mommies, it’s safe to say that with our breastfeeding meal delivery service, you’d surely be able to stay on top of your breastfeeding nutrition at all times! Speaking of staying on top, MumChecked has some of the best baby and mommy products and items that can help you do just that!