During the breastfeeding time period, women’s body will prioritize the use of nutrients to produce milk for the baby before turning into nutrients for their own. It is necessary to plan and follow a healthy diet to maintain the baby's growth and help the mother stay healthy.
I. Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers – Nutrients For Breastfeeding Moms:
After giving birth, women need to quickly restore their health and have abundant milk supply for breastfeeding. Therefore, postpartum mothers should have a nutritious and diverse diet.
Postpartum women will need more energy from a balanced diet, and calorie is the first thing postpartum women need.
After giving birth, women need more energy and nutrients than normal because in addition to providing nutrients for the mother, an amount of nutrition will transform into breast milk for lactating. Therefore, mothers should add a diversity of foods into their daily diet. In fact, when the mothers breastfeed, their demand for energy and nutrients will increase to help the babies grow well. Breastfeeding mothers need to ensure the adequate nutrients their baby will get through breast milk.
Childbirth, whether natural delivery or caesarean delivery, do force the women to release a huge amount of blood so that after giving birth, women often have anemia and iron deficiency. Iron deficiency will cause fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, depression, intestinal disorders, plus due to the mothers have to stay late at night, so they will have increased risk of severe exhaustion.
Iron deficiency can also greatly affect the appearance of the mother, such as dry nails, brittle hair and hair loss, pale skin, etc. Therefore, adding more iron supplements to a nutritious daily diet for postpartum women is very important.
There are two types of iron in foods that the mothers should know that are the iron from animal origin that can be easily absorbed as the iron taken from liver, beef, lean meat, chicken, fish, shellfish, hard, eggs, and plant-derived iron, such as the iron taken from spinach, beets, Brussels sprouts, kale, peas, lentils, figs, and other spices.
To have the body to absorb iron more efficiently, the postpartum mothers should also remember to consume iron in the combination with foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, lemon juice, and avoid foods that hinder iron toleration, such as beverages containing caffeine (tea, coffee, fizzy drinks) and foods high in calcium (milk, dairy products) …
3. Vitamin D:
Even when you sunbathe with your baby every day, you still should combine your daily diet with foods rich in vitamin D after giving birth.
As a fat-soluble vitamin and act as an inner hormone in the body, vitamin D plays an important role in creating relaxed mood, support the muscle function and strengthen the immune system to prevent mothers from the flu, colds, and some common postpartum side effects, such as weak bone and teeth.
According to a US study which was conducted on 19,000 blood samples, those with vitamin D levels below 10 nanograms / ml at risk of fever, flu 40% higher than those with vitamin D levels above 30 nanograms. Vitamin D is found in milk, cod liver oil, fatty fish, egg yolks, soy milk, rice milk, orange juice, breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin D.
4. Vitamin A:
This is also a nutrient that is needed in the healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers. Vitamin A plays an important role in helping to increase eyesight, strengthen bones, improve your immune system … .Therefore, after giving birth, if you are breastfeeding, you need to absorb about 1,300 micrograms of vitamin A per day.
A diet which includes some of the foods abundant in vitamin A, such as citrus fruits, papaya, pink, mango, jackfruit, pineapple, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, shrinkage, pot-herbs, lean beef, salmon, milk… is actually a healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers.
5. Vitamin C:
When you are a breastfeeding mother, you will need to consume exactly 120 milligrams of vitamin C per day. The reason is because vitamin C can help to strengthen your skin, bone, and help the connective tissues inside your body stay healthy. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and can help the body absorb iron easily. Vitamin C can be found in guava, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, tomatoes, cauliflower, pineapple, cabbage, spinach, vegetables, spinach…
Vitamin C can easily soluble in water, decomposed at high temperatures. So you need to pay attention when washing and cooking the foods containing vitamin C.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral of the body, playing a key role in keeping the bones and teeth strong. Thus, experts advise young mothers to consume1000 milligrams of calcium per day through eating foods such as milk and dairy products (milk, goat's milk, cheese, yogurt …); vegetables (spinach, parsley …); seafood (prawns, shrimps, crabs, seaweed, sea cucumbers, snails, clams, carp, sardines …); beans and soy products (soy, tofu, peas …). This is actually an important nutrient that is needed in the healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers.
7. Folic Acid:
Folic acid is one of the important nutrients that you need to absorb after giving birth and during the breastfeeding process. Folic acid has a special relation to the maturation of erythrocytes and has blood tonic effect.
During the breastfeeding process, young mothers need to consume enough 500 micrograms per day through folic acid-rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables (lettuce, salads …), oranges, asparagus, all kinds of bean, broccoli, bread, cereals, sunflower seeds, avocados … in their daily diet.
Foods rich in protein provide the energy needed for many functions of the body, contributing to maintain a healthy immune system. Therefore, during pregnancy and after giving birth, the mothers need to consume 71 grams of protein per day. Foods rich in protein include eggs, chicken, lean beef, chicken, nuts… This is also a nutrient that is needed in the healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers.
Zinc is an activity stimulant of about 100 enzymes – the catalysts of biochemical reactions in the body. This nutrient supports a healthy immune system, necessary for wound healing and helping to protect the taste and smell.
During the breastfeeding process, postpartum mothers need to consume 12 milligrams of zinc every day. Mothers can consume more zinc into their body by eating more zinc-rich foods, such as clams, scallops, oysters, sea fish, eggs, red meat…
A feast of colorful fruits is not only very delicious but also a rich source of vitamins and minerals which are important and necessary for the body of the mother and the baby through breast milk, as well as an excellent source of antioxidants, which are good for the skin and the beauty of women.
Furthermore, the antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase enzyme, superroxid enzyme, dismutase enzyme; beta-carotene (provitamin A), selenium … also work to help to prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as strengthen hair and reduce hair breakage.
Breastfeeding mothers can enjoy the colorful fruits like kiwi, strawberries, peaches, corn, bell peppers, cherry, custard-apple, blueberries,… or vegetables such as spinach, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes , purple cabbage, purple eggplant…They are not only delicious but also rich sources of antioxidants. Therefore, these foods should be added to the healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers for good.
The amount of hormones changed dramatically in the pregnant period and after giving birth due to the acting limitation of activities and due to the stress and anxiety during child care can cause constipation in most women. Prolonged constipation can lead to hemorrhoids and affect the quality of milk for the baby.
Therefore, to prevent constipation, mothers should eat foods rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Mothers should also know that there are two types of fiber: insoluble fiber which is abundant in green leafy vegetables, fruits… and soluble fiber which can be found in rice bran, barley grain, corn, peanuts, beans, white pulp of grapefruit, orange, apple, grape peels, etc.
In addition, fiber can help breastfeeding mothers lose weight quickly because it only makes we feel full without increasing the amount of calories in the body, while limiting and controlling blood sugar level. Fiber does not create excessive sugar which can metabolize into extra fat stored inside the body. Fiber can also help to reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
II. Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers – Foods To Eat:
Eating enough nutrients in moderation also helps you maximize the body energy. If you are a breastfeeding mother, you should know that the quality of your breast milk will not change much whether you follow a harsh diet. However, if you are not consuming enough necessary nutrients, your body is forced to use the nutrients it needs from its own reserves. Therefore, if you want to ensure an optimal health, make sure you are in compliance with a reasonable diet to breastfeed your baby well, as well as to improve your own health.
If you add these healthy foods into your regular diet, it will be sure that your own body and also your baby will thank you much!
Salmon is a functional food which is very nutritious and provides human beings with a lot of health benefits. Salmon contains very beneficial fats like DHA – the fat which can support the development of the nervous system as well as the baby's brain.
Therefore, when the mother's diet is supplemented with salmon, synonymous with the increased levels of DHA in breast milk, it can help to develop the brain cells of the infant.
However, when mothers eat fish, they should remember not to eat types of fish which contain high levels of mercury because it is very poisonous. Among types of fish, salmon is considered the fish which has the mercury content lower than shark, swordfish, mackerel…
2. Consume More Low-Fat Dairy Products:
Dairy products contain yogurt, fresh milk, and butter. These foods are not only rich in protein but also contain large amounts of vitamin B, vitamin D, and calcium.
If breast milk is supplemented with calcium, it will help to make the infant’s bones and teeth always stay strong. One effective way to supply the breast milk with calcium every day is that breastfeeding mothers should eat 3 servings of foods processed from the low-fat or non-cream milk and butter. Therefore, this is what people should add to the food diet for breastfeeding mothers.
3. Lean Beef:
This food should be also added to the daily food diet for breastfeeding mothers because it contains a lot of necessary nutrients. In fact, dishes made with lean beef will help to increase the iron content inside your body. In contrast, if the body lack iron, people especially breastfeeding mothers will have high risks of anemia, weakened strength, and their baby will also lack essential nutrients.
Bean, especially black bean, is a good food for women during the breast-feeding process, especially if they are also following the vegetarian diet. That is because bean is not only rich in iron, but it also contains more protein, and this protein is even much better than the protein derived from animals.
Experts advise women who are breastfeeding not to forget to eat 2 servings of blueberries or more every day.
This is one kind of fruit that contains high levels of anti-oxidants, good for health and can help to reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, blueberry also contains a high level of vitamins and minerals which can help to brighten your skin and enhance the vitality of the body.
6. Purple Rice:
Instead of eating white rice as usual, after giving birth, you should replace white rice or add purple rice to your daily diet. Purple rice can help breastfeeding mothers quickly restore and improve health. It contains many types of essential nutrients which can help to supply your breast milk with precious nutrients which your baby needs. This is also one of the foods which should be added to the healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers.
Orange is not only an attractive fruit because of its delicious taste and impressive scent, but also because of the wonderful health benefits it brings about. Many studies have demonstrated that women after childbirth should add vitamin C to their body than when they were pregnant.
Orange and other fruits which are citrus fruits contain extremely abundant vitamin C contents. Therefore, do not forget to eat some oranges or drinking orange juice every day to provide your body and your baby with proper amount of vitamin C. Therefore, this is what people should add to the food diet for breastfeeding mothers.
Egg yolks contain high levels of vitamin D – an essential nutrient for the development of the infant's bones. Moreover, egg contains ideal protein content so that breastfeeding moms should consume eggs in a regular basis.
Women after giving birth should consume 1 to 2 eggs for every breakfast. It should be noted that you should not eat undercooked eggs because you are very susceptible to be attacked by the bacteria available in the eggs.
9. Dark Leafy Greens:
When consuming vegetables, preferably you should choose the dark leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, or cauliflower. That is because they are the vegetables which contain high levels of vitamin A – a very good and necessary nutrient for your baby's eyes.
Besides, it also contains high amounts of vitamin C, iron, and antioxidants that other vegetables have little to no.
During the breastfeeding process, you need to pay attention to provide your body with high levels of water, because without water, your body will have to “face” the state of being dehydrated – it is very dangerous for a breastfeeding mother and also the baby. This can also lead to negative impacts on your breast milk.
According to experts, the daily average amount of water a breastfeeding mom needs to add is from 8 to 10 cups a day, which can be water, juice, or milk.
However, breastfeeding mothers should note that they need to limit and it is best to avoid drinks containing caffeine and stimulants because they are the main “culprits” which cause the dehydration in the body.
III. Diet For Breastfeeding Mothers – Foods Not To Eat:
Many women still feel extremely nervous and anxious due to the fear that bad foods will affect their digestive system. To ensure the safety and avoid negative reactions to your baby, there are some following foods which should be restricted in the food diet for breastfeeding mothers.
1. Alcoholic Drinks:
You should limit the use of alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine … because alcohol can be absorbed into breast milk and affects the baby negatively. If the mother has drunk alcohol excessively, they should let the baby suck the breast milk through the bottle feeding method. If the breast milk stays in the air in about 2 hours outside, it can help to evaporate the alcohol in breast milk. Therefore, this is what people should avoid adding to the food diet for breastfeeding mothers.
Many mothers have the habit of drinking coffee every day and feel extremely “tormented” when they have to quit. In fact, breastfeeding mothers can absolutely drink one or two cups of coffee per day. However, if they drink too much, it will cause the baby to get irritability and sleeplessness.
This is also a food that should lie out of the diet for breastfeeding mothers for good.
The attractive chocolate balls seem to be harmless, but in fact, they include up to 2 components which are not good for your baby as caffeine and sugar. Both of these substances can be absorbed into the breast milk, causing the baby’s digestive disorders, so mothers should avoid consuming chocolate for good.
4. Sugary And Sweet Stuff:
This is also one of the unhealthy foods for breastfeeding mothers. The food which is too sweet will cause blood sugar levels to rise and even affect the baby‘s future health. Therefore, for good, breastfeeding mothers should avoid eating sweet foods in a regular basis.
5. Lactose Sugar:
Most cases of allergies in children are caused by the lactose component in cow milk. If the mother drinks a lot of cow milk, her body will absorb lactose and transform to the baby’s body through breast-feeding. Excepting the cases that the doctors warn mothers about their babies’ allergies to lactose intolerance, breastfeeding mothers should still consume milk and dairy products to enhance the calcium level in their own baby’s body.
In addition to lactose, peanuts are also a group of food which can cause allergy. If the mother ate peanuts and found that the baby had an unusual reaction after feeding, she should stop using these foods. Many women choose to completely avoid eating peanuts and products containing peanuts to ensure the safety of their children.
7. Spicy Food:
Spicy foods are popular for causing stomach bloating and increased inner heat in babies and children. You really should avoid foods such as chili, pepper, onion and ginger because they will lead your baby to suffer from constipation or abdominal pain.
Soda drinks containing sodium which will cause damage to the digestive system in infants and children. Instead of drinking soda, mothers should drink plenty of clean and pure water to get abundant milk supply for their own baby.
9. Cigarette – Tobacco:
In addition to the eight foods listed above, there is one thing that everyone would agree that breastfeeding mothers should completely avoid using that is tobacco. Since pregnancy, pregnant mothers had to quit smoking if they do not want their own baby lack oxygen, and more severely, it can lead to low blood oxygen. After giving birth, mothers should stay away from cigarette and tobacco. Nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco will easily penetrate into breast milk, reducing the milk secretion and affecting the health of the baby, making the baby irritable. This is the last but not least thing that breastfeeding moms should avoid to maintain the health of their own body and of their baby for good!
This is the list of best and worst foods to eat for breastfeeding mothers that are scientifically proven. Readers of VKool.com who are breastfeeding mothers or even pregnant women should read and make use of this list for good.
If you think that the diet for breastfeeding mothers I introduced in this article is exactly what you are looking for, and if you think that this article is very useful for even other people you know who are breastfeeding mothers, you should not hesitate to share it with them and remember to show me your feedbacks and comments below!
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