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Milk Matters: Simple Ways to be Healthy While Breastfeeding

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Breastmilk contains an abundant variety of nutrients that provides everything a baby needs during those first months. But what about mom?

In addition to taking care of the baby, a breastfeeding mom needs to keep up with her own health through smart eating habits to ensure both she and the baby are feeling great and getting everything they need!

There is no magic number of carrots to eat that will ensure milk flow, nor is there a secret smoothie that provides the perfect number of vitamins. Instead, a mom’s diet is about making healthy choices, eating in moderation and finding ways to pack nutrients into every meal. While there are no newly-discovered formulas to mastering foolproof breastfeeding nutrition, there are a few good tips to follow. 

Get Those Calories

A new mom’s body is working hard to produce milk, which increases the number of calories burned. Producing milk can burn an extra 300 to more than 500 calories per day! Since moms need to maintain good health and keep their energy up, they’ll need to account for this and adjust their diet accordingly.

While it may be tempting to ramp up the workouts and shed pregnancy pounds after giving birth, breastfeeding moms need a diet large enough to make sure they keep producing milk and have plenty of energy for themselves. There might even be some weight gain during the first months of breastfeeding. It took nine months to gain that weight, it will take some time to lose it too. Be kind and patient with yourself and know that you staying healthy will help give your baby the very best.

Pack in Nutrients

Just like during pregnancy, it’s important to eat nutrient-rich foods. A new mom’s grocery list should have a good variety of foods to help milk production and keep mom healthy. Foods that are loaded with protein, iron and calcium are known to help stimulate breast milk production. Here are some good foods and their benefits:

  • Fish, such as salmon, is a great source of protein and DHA, a fat that helps a baby develop.
  • Dairy makes sure the mom is replenishing her calcium and vitamin D supply.
  • Lean beef gives mom a much-needed boost of extra protein and vitamin B12.
  • Fruits, like blueberries and oranges, are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are good at kicking energy levels up.
  • Eggs supply good fats and needed protein.
  • Whole wheat bread and pasta supply folic acid, fiber and iron.

Refill the Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but even more so for a breastfeeding mom. Breastfeeding will not only make a mom thirstier, but her body will require lots of water to effectively produce milk. There is no set rule on how much water to drink, but checking the color of urine is a good indicator. If the urine is dark yellow, hydration levels are low. It’s a good idea to drink a glass of water while breastfeeding or pumping.

Avoid sugary drinks since they usually don’t have added nutritional value and can lead to weight gain. Caffeine also should be limited. Consume no more than 24 ounces, as it can affect the baby and disrupt his/her sleep.

Eating a healthy diet while breastfeeding doesn’t need to be hard or stressful. The key is moderation in everything and to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Mix up snack and meal plans to give mom and baby a wide-range of benefits and to keep meals interesting. Bon appetit!