This week I thought I'd share an excerpt from one of my favorite baby books, Naturally Healthy First Foods for Baby by Jacqueline Rubin, on nutrition while nursing:
You and your baby will thrive if you continue eating a whole-foods diet while nursing. As during pregnancy, nursing is not a time for crash dieting. It takes a lot of energy to produce milk, and new mothers need to consume an extra 500 calories per day. Nursing will cause you to lose some of those extra maternal fat stores and may tire you out.
Moms producing good-quality milk should be hungry. If Mom is not producing sufficient milk, this may be an indicator that her body has not recuperated from childbirth, that she needs rest, or that she is not eating enough.
This nutrition plan for nursing moms is low in saturated fats and includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and moderate amounts of good fats. A poor diet when producing milk can deplete you of your mineral stores and rob your bones of calcium. As nursing babies take what they need from you, you should continue taking your prenatal vitamins. In particular, vegan moms will almost certainly require a vitamin B12 supplement to prevent their babies from becoming deficient.
A good breakfast is the best way to fuel you up for the day. Scrumptious smoothies, fruit blenders, and power breakfasts (muesli, oatmeal, and flax porridge) can all be found in the recipe section of this book. Continue energizing yourself throughout the day with high-protein grains such as quinoa and legumes.
Nutrition Tips For Nursing Moms
- Do not eat on the run.
- Chew your food well to improve your digestion.
- For dairy products, remember that goat's milk is easier to digest than cow's milk.
- Include essential fatty acids daily.
- Keep healthy snacks close by and in your purse ready to go.
- Lactation consultants can be a great help if you are having trouble nursing. They can be found through your doctor, through breast-feeding clinics in your local hospital, or through La Leche League.
- Make sure that you rest when the baby does because tired and stressed moms produce lower-quality milk.
- Drink lots of fluids and have water close by each time you nurse.
- Eat a nutritionally balanced diet to keep up the quality of your milk.
- Some herbal supplements may increase milk supply, but because herbal remedies are not standardized and affect each persoln differently, you must consult with your physician before self-prescribing any of these.
- Nursing on demand when baby is hungry makes more milk, so the more you nurse, the more milk you produce.
- Eating the gruel on top of oatmeal and brown rice has also been shown to help.