You may have heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” The same saying goes for baby. The best breastfeeding diet is one rich in whole foods and healthy vitamins. Nursing mothers need to consume good fats, whole grains, lean protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. However, it is important to remember that breastmilk taste varies based on the meals you consume. Foods with a bland or sweet taste will produce like breastmilk. Foods that are sour or salty will also affect breastmilk taste.
Foods to Include in Your Breastfeeding Diet
Foods best included in your breastfeeding diet are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Try to consume a rainbow of foods. A rainbow pregnancy diet ensures proper vitamins and nutrients are consumed during meals and snacks. Restricting your diet to one small group of foods can inhibit breastmilk production.
Food to Avoid in Your Breastfeeding Diet
Try not to consume foods that are extremely spicy or difficult to digest. If a food causes you gas and bloating, chances are it will cause gas and bloating for your baby. Processed foods should also be reduced while breastfeeding. Ongoing studies claim some food preservatives may be linked to mental and physical developmental problems.
In addition to eliminating offending foods, it is important to eliminate or significantly reduce some beverages in your diet. Alcohol and caffeine are two beverages that should be consumed in strict moderation. Nursing mothers should drink lots of water to maintain breastmilk production and keep the body hydrated. Dehydration will reduce breastmilk production and could affect feeding patterns.
Eat Small Meals and Snacks
While many new mothers want to immediately start losing weight, it is important to eat five to six small meals a day with a snack in between. Your body needs more calories to produce breastmilk, so now is not the time to start a restrictive diet that reduces caloric intake. Some mothers require 300 to 500 extra calories per day and other mothers require more. Listen to your body and monitor breastmilk production. Too little breastmilk could mean you are consuming too few calories or too little water.
You can continue taking your prenatal vitamin while breastfeeding. The vitamin will support healthy vitamin levels in the body. If your diet slips from time to time, your body will pull vitamins from reserves to produce breastmilk. Vitamins help keep reserves replenished.