BREASTFEEDING AND DIET

Breast feedingBreastfeeding is the optimal and the most effective way of nurturing an infant while simultaneously benefiting the lactating mother. However the mother who is breastfeeding her child has to bear in mind that her diet replaces the nutrients that are used up during breastfeeding, such as protein, calcium, iron and vitamins. Hence it is important for breastfeeding mothers to have proper diet and nutritious food.

Follow the following diet requirements:

Protein

Breast milk contains a lot of protein. So, you will need to include extra protein in your diet, from foods such as:

  • Meat, fish and chicken
  • Eggs
  • Cheese and yoghurt
  • Nuts and legumes, for example, lentils, baked beans and split peas.

If you are lying down while feeding your baby make sure that:

Calcium
Calcium is another major ingredient in breast milk. You will need extra calcium from dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. These are the best source of calcium. If your diet does not contain plenty of calcium, your body will use calcium from your bones to meet your increased needs. This weakens your bones and increases the risk that you will develop osteoporosis later in life.

Iron
Pregnancy uses up your iron stores. During breastfeeding, you need to rebuild your iron stores with iron rich foods such as:

  • Liver, red meat, chicken and fish are the richest sources of iron
  • Legumes - for example, baked beans
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Wholegrain bread and cereals
  • Green leafy vegetables.


Folate and vitamins
Breastfeeding also increases your need for Folate. Sources of folate are, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and sprouts. Vitamin C and A are also important nutritions required during breastfeeding. Sources of Vitamin C are, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruit, tomatoes, capsicum and potatoes. Sources of Vitamin A are, dark green and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and pumpkin.


Diet for Vegetarian mothers
A vegetarian diet can meet the nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mother as long as it includes a variety of foods, including:

 


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