Breast milk is incredibly nutritious. In fact, it provides most of the nutrients that your baby needs for the first 6 months of life.
The nutritional requirements for the baby will rely solely on the breast milk, and therefore the mother will
need to maintain a healthy diet. If the baby is large and grows fast, the fat stores gained by the mother during pregnancy can be depleted quickly, meaning that she may have trouble eating good enough to maintain and develop sufficient amounts of milk.
This type of diet normally involves a high calorie, high nutrition diet which follows on from that in pregnancy. Even though mothers in famine conditions can produce milk with nutritional content, a mother that is malnourished may produce milk with lacking levels of vitamins A, D, B6, and B12.
Focus on making healthy choices to help fuel milk production. Opt for protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and seafood low in mercury. Choose a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables.
What To Eat To Increase Milk Supply
- Whole Grains
- Oats, Oatmeal and Oat Milk.
- Lean Meat
Foods To Limit or Avoid While Breastfeeding
Avoid fish high in mercury. Due to concerns over mercury poisoning in infants, women who are breastfeeding should avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, and bigeye tuna
Limit your Caffeine intake. During breastfeeding, women are recommended to limit caffeine intake to 300 mg per day or less to prevent irritability and disrupted sleep patterns in your infant.
Avoid highly processed foods. As highly processed foods are generally low in essential nutrients and may affect your child’s food preferences later in life, it’s recommended that breastfeeding moms limit their intake of foods that are high in added sugars and processed fats.
If they smoke, breast feeding mothers must use extreme caution. More than 20 cigarettes a day has been shown to reduce the milk supply and cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, and restlessness in the infants. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is more common in babies that are exposed to smoke.
Heavy drinking is also known to harm the infants, as well as yourself. If you are breast feeding, you should avoid alcohol or consume very small amounts at a time.
The excessive consumption of alcohol by the mother can result in irritability, sleeplessness, and increased feeding in the infant. Moderate use, normally 1 – 2 cups a day normally produces no effect. Therefore, mothers that are breast feeding are advised to avoid caffeine or restrict intake of it.
By following a healthy diet and limiting intake of ‘bad’ foods, you’ll ensure that your baby gets the right nutrients during your time of breast feeding. This stage of life is very important – as you don’t want anything to happen to your baby.