The Healthy Breast Feeding Diet
During pregnancy and breast feeding your nutritional requirements increase, this is in order to help your body support your growing child and to keep you strong and healthy. Did you know for example, the daily recommendation for folic acid is more than doubled and the daily recommendation for calcium is 50% higher during pregnancy? A nursing mother produces around 25 ounces of milk per day; each quart contains 330 milligrams of calcium. This means that you are also going to need around an extra 500 calories a day to produce breast milk, as well as an increase in the following nutrients:
ProteinThe current daily recommendation for protein during pregnancy and breastfeeding is 60 grams per day. You can add extra protein to your diet by drinking soy milk, eating tofu or cooked beans.
CalciumYou will need 600 and 1200 mg per day of calcium if you are a pregnant women over the age of twenty five. Vegans and vegetarians may need less calcium than people who eat meat because a vegan diet usually helps you to retain more calcium because of your lower protein intake.
IronThe recommended daily amount for iron during pregnancy is 30mg per day. This may be difficult to obtain. If you think you are not getting this much from your diet you may want to consider a low dose supplement. High doses should be avoided as they affect the absorption of copper and zinc. Good dietary sources include grapefruits and cruciferous vegetables.
Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 is very important when you are breastfeeding and you need to have enough so that the concentration is high enough in your breast milk to sufficiently nourish your baby. The daily recommendation for pregnancy for vitamin B12 is 2.2 micrograms daily.
WaterIncrease your water consumption, so that you are drinking a total of 3 litres.
You will notice that you become thirstier while you are breast feeding. This is because some of the water you drink goes to produce your breast milk.
- Follow a healthy, low fat, high fibre diet
- Eat regularly and use a varied diet
- Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Caffeine containing beverages (i.e. coffee, soda) can cause baby to be wakeful and irritable