What You Need To Know About Nutrition And Breastfeeding
Have you recently started breastfeeding?
Or are you planning for the future?
Are you feeling intimidated and overwhelmed by all the nutrition information out there?
There’s no need to worry!
As a prospective student at Edison’s school of holistic nutrition, sooner or later you’ll deal with a client who’s breastfeeding.
And it’s important to know how to provide them with the best care possible.
Let’s take a closer look.
How Does Diet Affect Your Breast Milk?
One of the first questions asked about breastfeeding is how your diet will affect your breast milk.
Your body uses the nutrients it has available in order to create breast milk.
That means the nutrients your body has available will have a direct impact on the quality of your breast milk.
What’s more, though, if you don’t make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, your body may sacrifice your own needs for that of your baby’s.
Holistic Nutrition Tips For Breastfeeding
A healthy breastfeeding diet is not much different from your diet during pregnancy, but you will want to pay attention to getting certain micro nutrients.
Eating a variety of whole foods with the right energy needs is essential for making sure you get these vital nutrients.
The key for a holistic breastfeeding diet is keeping diverse eating habits while avoiding foods that may be harmful in large quantities.
Here are some important tips you can use to help your clients make the healthiest breast milk for baby.
1. Make Sure To Get Enough Calories
Did you know you have different caloric needs when you’re breastfeeding?
While you’re breastfeeding your body may need up to 500 calories more in energy per day.
You may also experience more hunger than usual while breastfeeding.
Needs can vary depending on your maternal stores and how much weight you gained during pregnancy.
That’s why it is important to tailor your breastfeeding diet to your specific needs.
2. Staying Hydrated Is More Important Than Ever
Your breast milk is made up of 87 percent water, which means it’s important for you to keep hydrated while you’re breastfeeding.
Make sure you’re always drinking when you feel thirsty.
A good rule is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.
It’s also a good idea to drink water while your baby is breastfeeding, as your body may activate its thirst response at this time anyway.
Consider drinking lemon water while pregnant too, as it has a number of benefits beyond what plain water provides.
3. Eat A High Protein Diet
Proteins, especially lean proteins, are vital for your diet as you breastfeed.
Your body uses protein to repair itself and grow, and your baby will need that as well.
Foods like chicken, fish, eggs, dairy like cheese and yogurt, nuts and seeds, beans, and soy are all great sources of protein to include in your diet.
4. Include More Calcium In Your Diet
Keeping calcium in your diet can help your body replenish energy stores as it is producing breast milk.
This is vital for maintaining your own health as you breastfeed.
Leafy greens, legumes, and dairy products like cheese and yogurt are all great natural sources of calcium.
5. Include More Iron In Your Diet
Iron is another important nutrient for your own health while you’re breastfeeding.
Seafood, red meat, poultry, green vegetables, beans, and dried fruit are all excellent natural sources of iron.
Iron is one of the naturally released nutrients in your breast milk, but it means you need enough of it to thrive while you are breastfeeding your baby.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the developed world – but that risk becomes even greater when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
So much so, in fact, that we wrote a full article on the topic: How To Avoid An Iron Deficiency During Pregnancy.
6. Include More Vitamin B12 In Your Diet
Vitamin B12, on the other hand, is a nutrient that gets passed to your baby through your breast milk.
If you are not getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet your breast milk may not contain the amount that would be ideal for your baby.
And because vitamin B12 deficiency is a nutrient deficiency linked with depression, making sure you get enough B12 can help stave off postpartum depression.
Seafood like crabs, shellfish, and shrimp are all great sources of B12.
Liver, nutritional yeast, and eggs are additional sources of B12 that you can incorporate into your diet.
You may have noticed most of the above sources are animal based, so vegetarians and vegans may have to supplement.
7. Include More Omega 3 Fatty Acids In Your Diet
While breastfeeding, you’ll want to make sure you are getting enough omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.
Some research suggests that the omega 3 fat DHA is vital for the development of your baby’s eyes, skin, and nervous system.
Like vitamin B12, omega 3 deficiency is also linked with depression.
Fatty fish, algae, walnuts, almonds, and avocadoes are all natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Include More Vitamin D In Your Diet
Vitamin D is another nutrient like B12 that your baby benefits from as it develops.
Cod liver oil, some mushrooms, and foods fortified with Vitamin D are great ways to get more of the vitamin in your diet.
You can also get vitamin D from exposing your skin to sunshine, but this becomes difficult for people in parts of the world that experience winter, so it’s a good idea to supplement.
9. Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol
While the above tips will help you understand what to increase in your diet while breastfeeding, there are also a few things to avoid.
About 1% of the caffeine you consume can be found in your baby’s bloodstream, which can cause restlessness and sleep issues for your baby – it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine as much as possible while breastfeeding.
Alcohol will also pass through breast milk, so it is recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
10. In General, Eat More Nutrient Dense Foods
It’s the best idea for you and your baby’s health to avoid processed foods while you are breastfeeding.
Tackling you and your baby’s health by focusing on nutrient dense foods is the easiest and most effective way to make sure your breast milk is satisfying your baby while maintaining your own health.
Eating a varied diet is the best way to make sure that you and your baby are healthy as you breastfeed.
Get In Touch With The Edison Institute Of Nutrition Today
Need some guidance on how to help your breastfeeding clients adjust their approach?
Maybe you’re wondering what holistic nutritionist career paths are available.
Edison can help.
Contact us at the Edison Institute of Nutrition today to speak with one of our career counselors – we’ll help you make the right decision.
Contact us at the Edison Institute of Nutrition today.