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Healthy Diet for the Lactating Moms
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Healthy Diet for the Lactating Moms
The process is also called nursing or breastfeeding. During pregnancy female body releases hormones like estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and prolactin, these hormones contribute to the formation of milk for the baby. The first milk that breasts produce right after the birth is called COLOSTRUM, and should definitely be fed to the newly born. Colostrum is rich in antibodies and contains immunoglobulin which protects the baby against diseases, food allergies and boosts the immune system of the new born.

Generally it is advised to feed the baby every two hours but it all depends on the production of milk. To produce enough and good quality milk for the baby it is necessary for the nursing mother to eat proper healthy diet.
Some guidelines regarding healthy diet for the lactating moms are given below:-
  • A lactating mom needs additional 550 calories per day daily in first six months (0-6 months) and additional 400 calories per day from 7-12 months.
  • Protein requirements are also increased by additional 25 grams per day in first six months and additional 18 grams per day from 7-12 months. To fulfill the requirements include legumes, lentils e.g. green gram and lentils, soy, seeds, nuts, whole grains are considered good.
  • Calcium requirements are also increased by 600mg extra that makes it 1000mg per day. To meet the needs include milk and milk products, beans, soy milk, soy tofu, dark green leafy vegetables in your diet plan.
    milk products
  • Lactating mothers should consume a variety of food so as to change the flavor of the breast milk which exposes the baby to various tastes and helps developing the taste buds of the infant.
  • Include iron rich foods in your diet but remember additional iron doesn't pass on to the baby but still it is important to take enough iron for your own health. Choose iron rich foods like dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits (raisins, apricot, apple) beans, red meat, chicken, iron fortified foods etc. To improve your body's iron absorption it is recommended to have enough vitamin C as it helps in iron absorption, include citrus fruits, vegetables in your diet like calories, proteins and calcium there is an increased requirement of vitamins and minerals too, vitamin A is especially required for eyes and growth, so as vitamin D (for the complete absorption of calcium), vitamins B(group), potassium, magnesium, zinc etc. include fresh fruits and vegetables like bananas, papaya, apple, melons, peach, plum, pomegranate, berries, carrots, gourds, pumpkin, beans etc.
  • Lactating mothers should consume a variety of food so as to change the flavor of the breast milk which exposes the baby to various tastes and helps developing the taste buds of the infant.
  • Some moms feel extra hungry during lactation period, to meet that extra hunger it is good to follow small frequent meal pattern, eat at regular intervals of two to three hours.
  • It is beneficial to include more of healthy liquids in your diet but doesn't only mean that it helps in more milk production but it'll help you to maintain your own health. Options for healthy drinks like tender coconut water, fresh fruit juices, milk, homemade shakes, soups, broth, drink plenty of water etc.
  • Carrots are good source of vitamin A, and have lactation promoting qualities. You can drink fresh carrot juice or can eat it raw, steamed, inform of soup, and can also cook purried or grated carrots with milk, sugar and have it as a dessert.
  • Spinach leaves contains iron, calcium and folic acids, it boosts immune system but should be consumed in moderation because it may cause bloating and diarrhea in infants.
  • Fenugreek seeds helps in boosting milk production, enhances its quality as well. It also helps in relieving constipation in mothers (post delivery) bottle gourds are considered good for keeping moms hydrated because it contains high water content. It is easy to digest and promotes milk production.
  • Barley water also boosts the lactation and improves milk quality.
  • Cow's milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin A and essential fatty acids. It improves both quality and quantity of breast milk.
  • Basil leaves are considered good because of their relaxing and calming qualities and also boosts infants immunity.
  • Fennel seeds improve the quantity of breast Milk, help in digestion and helps in colic problems in infants.
  • Cumin seeds and black sesame seeds are considered good as they boosts milk production and its quality, cumin seeds helps in digestion, relieves acidity and bloating. Sesame seeds are very good source of calcium.
  • Nuts and dried fruits also improve quality and quantity of the breast milk and provide energy, minerals, and vitamins. Include almonds, apricots, walnuts, raisins, dries dates; dried apples in your diet. They also help in balancing the disturbed hormones post pregnancy.
  • Seeds like poppy seeds and flax seeds also have relaxing and calming effects. These seeds also help in relieving constipation.
  • Drumsticks are a good source of iron, calcium and vitamins and helps boosting baby's immunity and nervous system.
  • Certain foods may cause irritability, fussiness, lack of sleep, rashes or allergies, colic problems in infants, and these are:- cruciferous foods like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, peanuts, eggs, corn, garlic, citrus fruits, chilies and peppers, Brussels sprouts, strong spices and condiments, curd and buttermilk, strong flavors like peppermint etc.
  • If you find rash, wheezing, coughing and congestion, change in the color of stools (green mucousy) and find your baby uncomfortable then you should check on what you have eaten and what are the foods that doesn't suit your baby. It will be better to avoid or consume those in moderation.
  • Avoid excess intake of caffeinated drinks like coffee, cold drinks because they interfere with baby's sleep.
  • Avoid excess of intake of regular tea instead drink herbal teas or green tea.
  • Avoid unhealthy oils like hydrogenated oils and Trans fats and include oils rich in PUFA and MUFA e.g. sunflower oil, mustard oil, canola oil, olive oil etc.
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol because it is not considered safe during lactation period. If you drink alcohol then it is good to avoid breastfeeding at least for next 3-4 hours so that you blood alcohol levels drop down and remember pumping of the breast milk doesn't eliminate alcohol from your body. So be very careful.
  • Though fish and other sea foods are very good sources of protein and omega 3 fatty acids but they also contain mercury and other contaminants which can be harmful for your baby's immune and nervous system. So limit your intake to just once in a week or two.
  • Street food is not considered safe and is rich in spices and oils, so avoid eating out at regular basis but once in awhile you can give treat to yourself. It is good to eat freshly prepared home cooked food.
  • You can also take supplements of calcium, vitamins, and iron along with your diet but consult your physician or gynecologist first.
  • You can give a massage therapy to your breasts as it helps in relaxing the muscles; clears the milk ducts thus trigger the milk flow.
  • Do some exercise, yoga, dancing or any other workout, it helps increasing your stamina and shred those extra kilos that you had put on during your pregnancy period.
  • Remember if you eat healthy and stay fit so as your baby.

Dietician and Nutritionist Kaveri Tyagi, plays a vital role in well being advancement and informing the general public about nutrition, Diet Plans for Weight Loss & Weight Gain, Diet for Heart Care, Diet for High Cholesterol, Diet for High Blood Pressure, Diet for Diabetes, Diet for Post Menopausal women and online Diet packages for Pregnant and Lactating Women as well. She also provides online diet counselling for Child Nutritional issues . If you are looking for top Dietician, Look no more, Here is an eminent Dietician.
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