Nutrition for Breastfeeding Mothers
A diet rich in nutrients is essential for your infant’s health. Often, a baby’s sole source of nutrition is their mother’s milk, so you must supply everything the infant needs to for development. Breast milk also supplies the building blocks of their immunity system during a baby’s early stages life. Breastfeeding nutrition starts with eating a healthy, balanced diet. When you are hungry and sleep deprived, it is easy to eat whatever is most convenient. But remember, what you are feeding yourself is what you are feeding your new baby. It is important to make good nutrition choices while breastfeeding. Some important elements you need to include in your post partum diet are:
HYDRATION: Your milk levels can drop severely if you are dehydrated. Making milk not only directs some of the water in your body to your breasts, it also uses water in the production process. So if your milk suddenly dries up, don’t panic. Reach for 2 litres of water and repeat. If you don’t like plain water… never fear! There are many other options like teas, fresh juices and flavoured waters.
Avoid teas with peppermint or sage in them as these can make your milk supply drop. Also be mindful of kombucha, as it can have alcohol in it, and if it’s not produced safely it can harbor some pretty scary microbes. Other drinks like sodas are filled with sugar or sugar substitutes and should take a back seat.
CALCIUM: Calcium consumption is crucial for you and your babies. You can obtain this nutrient in foods such as dairy products, non-dairy fortified products (almond or soy milk), fish, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals and tofu. You should stock up on fortified cereals as they are shelf-stable and consider using frozen leafy greens to add to omelets, pastas and soups.
IRON: Iron is crucial during the postpartum period. Doctors will usually test for iron and recommend supplementation if necessary, but the following foods will help with improving iron stores: fortified cereals, oysters, lean beef, tofu and spinach.
Recipes While Breastfeeding to Meet Your Nutritional Requirements
Here are some interesting recipes that will help meet your nutritional requirements while breastfeeding –
1. Delicious Badam Til Ladoos Recipe
- ½ cup Sesame seeds
- ½ cup Almonds crushed
- ½ cup Jaggery
- 1 tsp Ghee
- Roast the sesame seeds in a pan without oil over medium flame
- Stop when the seeds start popping
- Crush the almonds finely and dry roast slightly
- Filter out the impurities from the jaggery after melting it with half a cup of water
- Boil the filtered jaggery with a tsp of ghee until you get a soft doughy (a soft ball) consistency
- Add the til and the badam, and mix
- Make balls out of this mixture when it is still hot
- Store in an airtight container
- Basic Overnight Oats
- ½ Cup Rolled Oats
- 1 Cup Milk of Choice (Almond, Soy, etc)
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp nuts/seeds (almond slices, walnuts, etc)
- 1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as honey, maple or agave syrup)
- Optional add-in ingredients: Fresh fruit, chia and/or flax seeds, nut butters, dark chocolate, or cocoa powder
- 1 clean jar with lid
- Mix all ingredients and your choice of add-ins in a jar. Stir until combined. Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to eat, top overnight oats with a splash of your favorite milk, fresh fruit, ground nuts and sweetener to your preference. Enjoy!
What is your go-to recipe for lactation?
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