TIPS WHEN BREASTFEEDING
Stay Well Hydrated Breast milk is over 87 percent water. Breast milk volume increases from a few milliliters in the first days to as much as 700 ml or more weeks later to keep abreast of baby’s demand. Many women experience increased thirst during breastfeeding and this is a natural driver to drink. While water hydrates, use this opportunity to also consume beverages such as maternal milk supplements, milk, yoghurt, milkshakes, fruit juices and soups that deliver many vital nutrients.
Eat More Food You need to eat 500 kcal more each day if you are breastfeeding. This is quite a bit but not a lot! Use your extra energy allowance to get a variety of nutrients by including various food such as grains like rice, noodles and bread, especially wholegrain varieties: fruit; vegetables; protein such as chicken, fish and lean meat; beans, nuts and seeds; as well as non-fat milk and milk products.
Consume More Protein Focus on getting 25 g more of protein each day to support the production of breast milk. Two glasses of milk and 45 g of meat or fish would virtually make up for the extra need.
Choose the Right Fats Fifty percent of the calories of breast milk come from fat. Here is one time in life that you should aim to include the right fats in your diet each day. Select unsaturated fats, especially those that provide the essential fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) – as they play a critical role in the optimal development of baby’s brain and eye. Two servings of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel each week will provide the necessary DHA. AA is found in meat, poultry and eggs.
Ensure Adequate Intake of Minerals The need for many minerals, especially iron, iodine and zinc, increases during this time. Calcium needs remain high. Poor maternal diets will drain your body’s reserves.
Ensure Adequate Intake of Vitamins Water soluble vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin C levels in breast milk improve when your diet includes these vital nutrients. Fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, cheese, lean meat, fish, nuts and seeds are all good sources of many vital vitamins.
Food to Avoid As your nutrient needs are very high when breastfeeding, focus on eating clean and safe food to prevent an episode of diarrhoea and vomiting. Just as you did during pregnancy, avoid eating large fish in favour of smaller ones. Also, limit your caffeine intake to no more than 500 ml of coffee each day as this may help to prevent restlessness in your baby.