By now, you know how important your breastfeeding nutrition is. It not only affects you, but some components of your diet will affect your breast milk, too. Breastfeeding also means you burn more calories. Bonus!
In general, you’ll still need to eat more than you did before you were pregnant. That means consuming about 400 to 500 extra calories a day. Don’t go crazy. That’s basically a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, a small yogurt, and a banana. But that’s not all you’ll need to consider when deciding what to eat while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Nutrition Tip: Vitamins and Minerals
Some nutrients in your breast milk are affected by your diet., So keep eating healthy stuff like whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and protein-rich foods like eggs, beans, lean meat, and dairy.
When it comes to fruits and veggies, try to eat the rainbow—aim for all colors. The more you enjoy a range of fruits and vegetables, the more vitamins and minerals you’ll get.
Iron-fortified cereals are good go-tos for iron. Add a vitamin C-rich food like strawberries to increase the absorption of iron.
Still, your doctor will likely recommend taking prenatal vitamins or other supplements that can help support your nutritional needs while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Nutrition Tip: Protein and Probiotics
Eggs are a source of complete protein filled with all the amino acids that people need. They can increase your daily intake of choline, an essential nutrient which may be low in breastfeeding women. So, scramble one up and enjoy.
Seafood, like salmon, is a good choice for getting your protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Try to have two to three servings of fish that are lower in mercury per week and avoid eating certain fish because of their mercury levels. The mercury in fish gets passed through your breast milk and can be harmful for your baby’s developing brain and nervous system. For more information about mercury in fish, visit www.fda.gov.
When it comes to dairy, the added benefits of probiotics in yogurt are a good choice. Probiotics help support digestive health and immune a health. A win-win.
Breastfeeding Nutrition Tip: Staying Hydrated
Thirstier now that you’re breastfeeding? You’re not imagining it. This is likely due to an increase in the hormone oxytocin. As long as you drink enough to satisfy your thirst while nursing, you’ll stay hydrated. But, try to avoid the empty calories of sugary drinks.
Hopefully you can put some of these tips about what to eat while breastfeeding to use. Eating healthy while breastfeeding isn't just good for you, it’s good for your baby, too!