Breastfeeding: Understanding Your Dietary Needs

If you’re a new mom, congratulations! You’re about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. 

One of the first things you will do as a new mom is feed your baby. If you have chosen to breastfeed, these pointers will help you better understand what to eat while breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding: Understanding Your Dietary Needs

Nutrition for your baby

Having healthy breast milk is very important because it will provide most, if not all, your baby’s nutrients for the first six months of their life. In addition, you need to make sure that you’re taken care of so you can have adequate energy to take care of your baby.

Your body helps ensure that the milk you’re providing has all the proper nutrients for the baby. However, if you’re not careful, it can take away from your personal nutrient needs. Your diet isn’t the same from day to day and neither will the milk and calories you provide to your baby, unlike the nutritional content of the formula. The calorie and nutrient amounts may vary. 

To make sure that your baby gets all the nutrients they need, make sure they drink all the milk from one breast before switching to the other. At the beginning of a feeding, the milk will be waterier to make sure they get hydrated and as they continue to drink the rest, the milk becomes more dense with nutrients. If you stop midway and switch, they won’t be getting the bulk of the nutrients they need. 

Your dietary needs.

Not only is the breast milk you’re producing taking away from the nutrients you’re consuming, so is the production of the breast milk. Your body has to work hard to produce it and that means fewer calories are left to carry out the work of your body’s functions. 

Not only do you have to increase your nutritional and caloric needs to meet theirs, but your body has also now acquired a new job and needs to get ‘paid’ for that job. Even though in your mind you may be thinking ‘great, I’ll be benefiting by losing the baby weight’, your body will suffer and won’t have enough energy to keep up with the demands effectively. 

Don’t fret about the weight. With a proper, nutrient-dense diet, between 3 and 6 months after giving birth, your body will begin to lose weight steadily and your milk will not be affected. 

Some nutrient-dense food suggestions.

Here are some of the nutrients that should be added to your diet unless otherwise directed by a physician: 
●    Vit B1: Fish, seeds, nuts 
●    Vit B2: Cheese, nuts, oily fish, eggs
●    Vit B6: Nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, bananas
●    Vit B12: Shellfish, liver, oily fish
●    Choline: Eggs, fish, peanuts.
●    Vit A: Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens
●    Vit D: Oily fish, mushrooms 
●    Selenium: Brazil nuts, seafood, seeds
●    Iodine: Seaweed, milk and iodized salt.
●    Zinc: Poultry, beans, nuts, dairy
●    Folate: Beans, lentils, leafy greens, avocados.
●    Iron: Poultry, seafood, beans, green vegetables
●    Calcium: Dairy, leafy greens, legumes.
●    Copper: Whole grains, nuts, beans, potatoes
Additionally, make sure to stay hydrated, keep your caffeine intake low and cut out alcohol consumption to avoid affecting your baby. 
We wish you both a happy and healthy journey not only through this phase of bonding but all throughout life as well.
If you have any questions regarding pregnancy or what to consume, schedule an appointment with us today by calling South Bay Ob/Gyn at 631-203-8893.

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