New mothers often wonder how breastfeeding impacts their diet and nutrition. Though breastfeeding doesn’t cause any major changes in diet, there are some things to keep in mind if you are breastfeeding your infant.
The baby will receive the proper nutrition from breast milk regardless of the foods you are eating. However, breast feeding can be draining for new mothers, so it’s important to focus on getting enough protein and carbohydrates to stay as energized as possible.
Don’t count calories
A lot of mothers are eager to get their pre-baby body back as soon as possible. However, if you’re breastfeeding, mothers need to take in at least 500 calories more than moms who aren’t. The exact number depends on how much you exercise, how often you breastfeed and your metabolism. If you don’t consume enough calories, you won’t produce enough milk to feed your baby.
Focus on healthy fats
Mono- and polysaturated fats are key when breastfeeding your baby. Healthy fats come from sources such as olive oil, fatty fish(salmon), avocado, olives and nuts. It’s important to avoid foods high in saturated fat such as whole milk, tropical oils, butter and lard.
Take steps to avoid contaminants
Simple steps, such as drinking filtered water, knowing which fruits and vegetables are lowest in pesticides and choosing lean meats will limit your exposure to pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals.
Take it easy with alcohol
Drinking occasionally won’t harm your baby, but it’s best to take it easy because alcohol enters your breast milk and affects your milk letdown reflex.
Contact a pediatrician at The Pediatric Center of New Providence, NJ, if you’re considering breastfeeding your baby.