Expectant mothers start thinking of feeding the baby well before they deliver. With a vast majority of health care providers/ lactation consultants suggesting that breast feeding is the best option, to be and new mothers have multiple questions on lactation diet. These range from –
• What should I eat to produce enough milk for my baby?
• What should I avoid in my diet to ensure that my baby is not colic?
• If I don’t lactate is it alright to give my baby bottle feed?
Well, if you are not lactating, it is alright to give you baby bottle feed. At Kanupriya, we have consulted with many new mothers who are not lactating sufficiently or at all on bottle feed.
Having said that, if you are lactating then it is good to know that breast milk, in any quantity, is wonderful for babies. Some studies suggest exclusive breast feeding for the first six months while some lactation consultants suggest that introducing food at three months maybe alright. Bottom line is that breast milk remains the best meal for the baby for at least the first three months.
What makes breast milk the first universal suggestion is that it contains all nutrients that a baby needs for its growth and development, from proteins to fats to calories and minerals. These nutrients pass from the mother to the child. So here are some sample food groups that help understand a new mother’s healthy lactation diet.
A thumb rule to keep in mind is that when breastfeeding, you need 400-500kcal extra per day. Now coming to the food groups –
1. Dairy Products : Foods such as milk, paneer, cheese, eggs etc. are rich in protein and a good source of calcium. These foods help form Caesin in breast milk, which aids digestion and absorption of other nutrients.
2. Green and Leafy Vegetables: Broccoli, Kale, Peas, Mustard Greens etc are all rich in their protein and mineral content. This helps boost nutritional value of the breastmilk and the fiber maintains the mother’s digestive system’s health.
3. Pulses and Legumes: These have high levels of minerals such as iron, folate, phosphorous, zinc, and B vitamins. Rich in proteins and low in fat, this is a good inclusion to have a well-balanced diet for a new mother.
4. Seafood: Rich in iodine and other minerals, seafood for those not allergic can be an interesting addition in the daily diet.
Salt, butter and ghee in the normal amounts must also be consumed to ensure the supply of fat and energy to the mother.
Just as when pregnant, when breastfeeding mothers should be careful with caffeine, alcohol and medication. Hydration through water and other healthy fluids is essential and do not try diets to lose weight.
At Kanupriya we help our mothers plan their lactation diet for the well being of their child and themselves.