Breastfeeding isn’t only about your baby, you have to focus on you too! During this time of rapid growth for your baby, you need to provide yourself with the right amount and type of food, to be able to provide to your baby.
Focusing on a well-rounded diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, and avocado), and lean protein (like beans, fish, and eggs) will help to ensure that both you and your baby are happy campers.
Moms who are breastfeeding need an extra 500 calories a day to help with the added demand of producing breastmilk.1 But, this doesn’t mean you need to start counting calories, it’s more important to decide based on how you feel. Hungry for that extra slice of toast? Go for it!
But make sure you’re consuming nutrient dense calories that have a lot of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and water. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re staying hydrated! Producing breastmilk requires extra fluids, so try to increase your water intake during the day. It may also be wise to minimize artificially sweetened drinks. Moderate caffeine consumption might be wise.
You might want to watch what you’re eating if you have a colicky baby. It’s possible that what you eat and drink is in your breastmilk which will end up as food for your baby. Since each baby has different sensitivities you should watch to see what causes the problems. It takes about four hours after you eat or drink a food to end up in your breastmilk.
Common culprits of colic include cauliflower, caffeine, chocolate, garlic, onion, shellfish, and eggs. Even though these are common, not all babies experience colic after you eat these foods, so make sure you track what you eat to help determine what’s upsetting your baby.2
Research has also shown that the protein found in cow’s milk can make its way into breastmilk and cause colic symptoms. Try to monitor your baby’s tummy comfort after you have eaten foods such as cheese, milk, ice cream, and yogurt – these might not always agree with your baby.3
If you’re thinking of winding down at the end of the day with a glass of wine be sure to drink any alcohol at least two hours before any breastfeeding, or take the safer option and don’t drink any at all.
It’s also important to make sure you’re healthy while breastfeeding so continuing to supplement can be helpful. Taking a vitamin D and calcium supplement are recommended because of the loss of bone density during breastfeeding. A very small amount of calcium from your bones will go into your breastmilk to feed your baby. Taking both a vitamin D and calcium supplement have been shown to slightly enhance bone density after breastfeeding.4
Breastfeeding is a great way for you and baby to bond, just make sure you take time to nourish your own needs.
Diana Beirnes is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a nutritionist, cyclist, and Raw Food Chef who loves to experiment in the kitchen. She is passionate about sharing a healthy lifestyle with others and is drawn to coaching friends and family about the importance of food and supplements. Diana believes in a holistic life and practices this by eating vegan, using all natural products, and using recycled products whenever she can.
1 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 2016. Infant and toddler health. Breast-feeding nutrition: Tips for moms. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breastfeeding-nutrition/art-20046912
2 Kalwarf, H.J., Specker, B.L., Bianchi, M., Ranz, & J., Ho, M. 1997. The Effect of Calcium Supplementation on Bone Density during Lactation and after Weaning. The New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199708213370803
3 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding. 2009. http://www.breastfeeding-problems.com/foods-to-avoid-while-breastfeeding.html
4 Newman. J., & Kernerman, E. 2005. Colic in the Breastfed Baby. http://www.nbci.ca/?option=com_content&id=13:colic-in-the-breastfed-baby&Itemid=17