What to eat & avoid during breastfeeding!(Vegetarian options included)…
Breastmilk has been widely known as the best food for new-borns and older babies. Breastmilk contains valuable antibodies, vitamins and minerals that are essential to their growth and development. After childbirth, a lactating woman’s nutritional stores may be depleted because of carrying a baby and blood loss during the birthing process. Lactation increases the demands on the nutritional stores of a mother, which is why conscious nutrition is so vital. The nutrients present in the milk of mothers come from their diet and her own nutrient reserves. To have a good nutritional status and adequate nutrients in their milk, mothers must increase their nutrient intake. It is not recommended that lactating mothers consume less than an 1800 calories per day. If your baby gains weight satisfactorily, it is a sign that your baby is receiving enough nutrients form your breastmilk.
Your next question will probably be “What should I eat while breastfeeding then?” Not to worry because we have done extensive research to help make the best nutrition decisions! Your main focus should shift to the healthier alternatives to help fuel your milk production, especially high protein foods. It is always important to take a multivitamin when pregnant and breastfeeding since food quality varies and is not always reliable. Below, are a few of the most important nutrients for breastfeeding:
Protein is known as the building blocks of the body. This nutrient is responsible for muscle reparation, energy as well as adequate milk production. Protein also helps control cravings for sugary foods and makes you fuller for longer periods of time. As a rule of thumb, ensure that you have protein included with every meal, also making it the majority of every meal. Great sources for healthy protein include chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, and lean meats. If you are a vegetarian, you might be concerned over whether you are consuming enough protein or not. Contrary to popular belief, vegetarian mums have so many plant-based options to choose from! Lentils have a high concentration of iron and protein as well as chickpeas, tofu, and nuts. Hempseed comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is notorious for belonging to the same family as the marijuana plant.
But hempseed contains only trace amounts of THC, the compound that produces the marijuana-like drug effects.
Although not as well-known as other seeds, hempseed contains 10 grams of complete, easily digestible protein per ounce (28 grams). That is 50% more than chia seeds and flaxseeds. Hempseed also contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. What’s more, it is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid
Interestingly, some studies indicate that the type of fats found in hempseed may help reduce inflammation, as well as diminish symptoms of PMS. Seitan has become a popular way of getting enough plant-based protein. Simply Google an easy Seitan recipe for mock chicken that has 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. An easy way for any mum to consume a burst of protein, is a protein shake. Our shake has 25.6 grams of protein in just one serving! IF shakes are not your thing, use the protein powder in healthy baked goods to up their nutritional profiles.
Calcium is essential in assisting your baby’s bone and teeth development. Many mums do not have enough calcium and when they breastfeed, their calcium stores become depleted which can lead to bone loss. Dark, leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium and iron. Broccoli and baby spinach are easy and delicious to work into your diet. Baby spinach has a very mild flavour and can be used in salads or blended into smoothies. Foods fortified with calcium include certain juices, cereals, and breads, for Mums who cannot ingest dairy based calcium because of vegetarian/veganism or lactose sensitivities in their babies. Chia seeds and lentils are also popular ways for Mums to ensure that they get enough calcium with every meal.
Healthy carbohydrates provide fuel to your body and increases your stamina. It energizes your body as well as aids the development of your growing baby. Carbohydrates that contain a lot of fiber are good for your digestive system and -tract. High fiber carb sources include legumes, oats, wholewheat bread, fruits and particularly, vegetable skins and barley. Research has shown that healthy carbs can increase a mum’s milk supply, that is also why YML included oats and flaxseeds in our Protein shake. These high fiber carbs contain Bet-glucan that acts as a prebiotic to prevent the growth of pathogens in the digestive system and helps boost energy levels. As a bonus, many of these foods especially fruits are high in Vitamin C, which is important for iron absorption as well as prevention of infections.
Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D:
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that assists in keeping the body’s nerve – and blood cells healthy. This vitamin prevents anaemia that can leave the body week and tired. Unfortunately, Vitamin B12 are commonly found in animal products such as meats and cow’s milk. If you are a vegan or vegetarian Mum, it is important to add Vitamin B12 supplements to your diet as well as Nutritional Yeast (a yellow powder that taste like cheese!). Even if you do consume Vitamin B12 through your diet, it is generally recommended to still supplement when you are breastfeeding.
Vitamin D, on the other hand, is famously known as the Sunshine Vitamin. Your baby needs Vitamin D so that they can optimally absorb calcium and phosphorous. If your breastmilk does not contain enough vitamin D, it can cause Rickets in your baby, leading to softened and weak bones. Vitamin D sources include sunlight, fortified cereals, oily fish egg yolks and some bread spreads.
What to avoid during breastfeeding?
Too much caffeine can be troublesome, since it can agitate your baby or disrupt their sleeping patterns, when consumed in excess. As a rule of thumb, limit yourself to no more than 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) of caffeinated drinks a day. Be sure to monitor your baby for signs of irritation after consuming caffeine. If they show signs such as rashes, upset stomach or struggling to sleep, discontinue caffeine consumption.
Spicy foods and breastfeeding can go hand-in-hand without a hitch, Hawkins says. But this is where cultural traditions and personal habits come into play. “If you ate spicy foods throughout your pregnancy, baby is primed for those flavors,” she says. For some babies, spicy food doesn’t bother them at all. For others who are less accustomed to the taste, they might not enjoy it. “Just don’t have an out-of-the ordinary spicy meal. If you ate something spicy and baby is responding in a not-so-pleasant way, then maybe spicy foods could be the cause.” If that’s the case, just cut back on the spice.
Garlic does flavour a mother’s breast milk, and some say the taste of it can turn baby off. But when it comes to garlic and breastfeeding, how baby reacts can depend on how accustomed they are to the taste. In fact, one study found that babies who haven’t been exposed to garlic actually nurse for longer periods of time, apparently finding the new flavor extra-delicious.
The acid present in citrus fruits can cause babies to spit up, feel fussy or experience more frequent diaper rashes. Minimize citrus in your diet to see if it helps any of these issues, and get your Vitamin C dose from fruits such as mango or pineapple (or leafy greens, if baby isn’t sensitive to them).