There’s no more important time for healthy choices in a woman’s life than when she’s pregnant. Not only is the mother’s health always a concern, but now there’s a baby on board literally feeding off of the mother and relying solely on the mother to provide care once born.
For a few years there, artificially produced baby formula was taking over the natural act of breastfeeding, but those days are all but over. More and more mothers are deciding to go natural these days, and breastfeeding their baby is something they’re not taking lightly.
It’s Important to Know if Breastfeeding is Right for You and Your Baby
Moms are scrambling to get on the right type of breastfeeding diet (which isn’t necessarily the fastest way to lose weight type of diet) so that their milk is as plentiful and as nutritious as it can possibly be.
One uninformed and incorrect option a lot of moms are making is going on a low-fat diet. They’re considering their and the baby’s health first, so you can’t really fault anyone for choosing to make these types of decisions. The heart is in the right place. However, a low-fat diet is actually a bad choice for mothers planning on breastfeeding children.
Due to pregnancy and its rigors, mothers need more fat and more of the calories from fat in their bodies to ensure the best milk production and also the best overall health.
Besides staying away from low-fat diets, here are some other tips you can use to stay healthy and productive when planning on breastfeeding.
Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers
No Magic Needed
Your body naturally has everything it needs to make great milk for your baby. As long as you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet, staying away from the junk out there, then your milk will be perfectly fine for your baby.
The Extra Calorie Boost
Breastfeeding mothers need about 500 extra calories a day while pregnant and during the entire breastfeeding cycle. This is why low-fat diets are bad news – it’s much harder to get those essential calories when you eliminate the fat. Whatever your normal calorie intake is, make sure you up it by 500 if you’re planning to breastfeed.
You’ll want to stay properly hydrated, but remember not to get carried away and drown yourself in water. The color of your urine should tell you if you’re hydrated enough. If it’s a darker color, then you’re not drinking enough. If it’s clear like water, then you’re drinking way too much. This is touch and go, so to speak, so you will have to find the medium here.
Go Light on Caffeine
If you’re ingesting caffeine, then so is your baby. Even after your baby is born, the caffeine is passing through your breast milk and into the baby’s system. Be sure to take it easy. A cup of coffee in the mornings is fine, but anything beyond that is just too much. So be weary of soda, tea and other drinks and substances containing caffeine.
Fatty Acids are Good
During the first year of your baby’s life, his or her brain is going to nearly triple in size. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) will help promote healthy growth, and the more of these you ingest the more your baby will be ingesting. So be sure to eat plenty of nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and cold-water fish. Stray away from canned tuna, though.
B vitamins and calcium are important for breastfeeding mothers. You need your energy to stay up and active, and the calcium will certainly help. You can take these in supplemental form, but always be sure to check with a doctor before attempting to start any vitamin regimen.
Overall, make sure that you’re staying fit and healthy. When you’re pregnant and planning on breastfeeding, or during the time you’re breastfeeding, diet and exercise programs that eliminate certain nutrients or become too stressful are not encouraged.