Giving birth and being pregnant are major changes to your lifestyle. Be it eating certain foods, or some physical activity, you have to watch everything you do. And that makes sense!
From the moment you become a mom and from the moment you get pregnant, you’re sharing everything you eat with your baby, through an umbilical cord, or through breastmilk.
Best diet advice for breastfeeding moms and moms to be!
Let’s first understand why nutritional needs change when you’re pregnant.
Keeping ourselves healthy is always important, but never is it more than when you have another being that sustains on you and what you eat. So fussing about diets as a breastfeeding mom or a soon-to-be-mom is not only normal, but a bit necessary too. But don’t stress, we can help you figure it out.
- During pregnancy, your body goes through a number of physical and hormonal shifts. You’ll have to eat well from a wide variety of sources to keep yourself and your growing baby nourished.
- Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet will make you feel good and because the food you eat is your baby’s primary source of nutrition, it’s vital that you get all of the vitamins and minerals you require.
- Your body also requires extra vitamins and macronutrients you’re also eating a small baby’s share of food (which isn’t a significant quantity change).
Things soon-to-be-moms must include in their diets:
1. Protein: Protein is necessary for the healthy development of a baby’s tissues and organs, including that of the brain. It also aids in the development of the mother’s breast and uterine tissue during pregnancy, which can help with breastfeeding heath.
2. Calcium: To fulfill the needs of your developing baby, you should take more protein and calcium throughout pregnancy. Dairy is the best source of calcium in the diet, and it also contains a lot of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
3. Green Vegetables: Including green vegetables in your diet is a great way to get more vitamins and fibre while also avoiding constipation. Broccoli and dark green veggies like kale and spinach are high in nutrients that you’ll need.
4. Fiber: Fiber is the underdog of essential food groups that often gets ignored. People who are sure to get protein, carbs, and vitamins still forget to include fiber. The hormones slow down the digestion process during pregnancy, which can make pregnant women highly prone to constipation. Including fiber-rich foods in your diet ensures the digestive process runs smoothly, keeping the to-be-mom and the baby healthy.
Pregnancy diet requirements are different from breastfeeding diet requirements.
It is true that you can absolutely never go wrong with a balanced diet that consists of a good mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins & minerals, but those are fairly useful even when you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding.
The first thing to note is that your body’s energy needs will go up during the lactation period. Since your body has higher nutritional needs, to fulfill them you’ll have to up your daily calorie intake. Pregnancy and breastfeeding give women a new, specific range of dietary requirements, mostly consisting of macronutrients & micronutrients that are not usually needed in a balanced diet. Let’s have a look at these.
What to include in your diet as a breastfeeding mother?
1. Iron & Folic Acid: Although a woman’s iron & folic acid needs decrease after they’ve given birth, some women still may have to continue taking prenatal multivitamins. Although it’s not always required for mothers to continue taking them after pregnancy, it is always best to consult your doctor about it.
Studies show that women with vegan & vegetarian diets do not receive adequate amounts of iron & folic acid, hence it’s always good to get a consult.
2. Iodine & Choline: A lactating woman’s needs for choline & iodine are considerably higher due to their role in producing breast milk. Iodine can be obtained through dairy products, eggs, seafood, or in iodized table salt. Choline is available in dairy and protein food groups, such as eggs, meats, beans, and legumes.
The takeaway from this article?
Each body is different, and so each mother’s (or soon-to-be-mom’s) dietary requirements are different too. Starting at the very basic level, you can ensure that you take a healthy & balanced diet that consists of all the important nutrients that are essential for every human body. Try to cut down on processed foods that contain preservatives and include freshers, more organic foodstuffs in your diet.
But that’s not all. Even more important is to consult your doctor. Your doctor understands your body’s specific needs and can help you by making dietary recommendations that work the best for you and your baby. The purpose of this article is just to act as a quick guide to mothers who are questioning their diets. But don’t forget, your doctor knows best.