Breast milk is the highest form of nutrition for babies, and breastfeeding has many different benefits for both baby and mom. Not surprisingly, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet while breastfeeding as new moms are still “eating for two.” Breast milk is incredibly nutritious, and it contains all of the nutrients that your baby needs for the first six months of life. It is also important to remember that you need to take care of yourself through a healthy diet so that you have the energy your body needs to keep a steady supply of breast milk and to maintain your health.
Foods to Include in Your Diet While Breastfeeding
- Oatmeal – This complex carbohydrate goes a long way for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Oatmeal is easy to digest, and it will keep you fuller longer. If you are working hard on losing baby weight, this ideal food will help. Oatmeal is also thought to help increase a breastfeeding mother’s milk supply. Oats are rich in iron, fiber, and protein. Make sure you opt for the non-instant varieties for the healthiest options.
- Eggs – While eggs are on the list of food allergens that may cause sensitivity in babies, if your baby is symptom-free you should enjoy this food. Eggs are classified as a “superfood.” They are a little food with huge benefits: protein, healthy fat, and vitamin D. If you enjoy boiled eggs, keeping a stash in the fridge will allow you to have a healthy snack on hand that is good for both you and baby.
- Quinoa – Another “superfood,” quinoa is a gluten-free grain that has been shown to increase milk supply. It can be made as a savory or sweet dish that will add amino acids, protein, iron, and phosphorus to your diet.
- Fish – While you want to avoid fish that contains high mercury content, white and non-oily fish are good sources of protein and DHA. Salmon and tuna are the best choices to eat in moderation (1-2 times a week).
- Berries – Talk about a healthy, delicious, and easy snack – berries are finger foods that you can get excited about. Whether they are fresh, frozen, or dried, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries are full of antioxidants and fiber. Add them to your oatmeal for a truly healthy meal!
- Leafy Greens – Salads are your friends! Leafy greens such as spinach, romaine, and kale are full of vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, and iron – all vital nutrients for you and your baby. Adding a side-salad to every meal, or replacing one meal a day with a healthy salad, is an excellent option for obtaining these nutrients.
In addition to these healthy foods, you must remember to drink plenty of water! Water is your life source, and if you are not hydrated you will not make an adequate supply of breast milk.
Eating a healthy diet is important throughout life, but eating a healthy diet is especially crucial when you are breastfeeding. Remember, you will need approximately 500 extra calories a day in your diet to create enough milk for your baby and to supply you with the energy your body needs. You will burn through these extra calories by creating breast milk!
Contact Marietta OB/GYN Affiliates, P.A., to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, and how to care for yourself and your growing baby.