Did you know August was National Breastfeeding Month? The holiday was started by the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) to drive awareness and policy efforts that would create breastfeeding support around the country. And this is really important because breastfeeding is incredibly healthy for your baby, providing them with the exact nutrients they need to develop a healthy immune system and body. That’s why breastmilk has often been referred to as “liquid gold.”
In order for you to give your baby the right nutrition, you must ensure you are eating a complete and nutritious diet. With this in mind, here are some rules for eating while breastfeeding:
1. Opt for Nutrient-Dense Foods
If you are currently breastfeeding, you’ve probably noticed that you yourself feel hungry all the time. This is because creating breastmilk for your baby requires many more calories. It also requires a higher level of nutrients. It’s important that mothers reach for nutrient-dense foods to give your body and your baby the calories and nutrients you both need.
Here are some foods you should make a habit of eating every day:
Fish and Seafood
Opt for salmon, shellfish, sardines, and seaweed. If you are a sushi fan, treat yourself often!
Meat & Poultry
Don’t skimp on animal protein at this time. Your body really needs a mixture of beef, chicken, and pork. If you like the taste, incorporate some organ meats in there as well, such as liver, which is nutrient-dense.
Your baby needs fat and so do you! Be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats like full-fat dairy, eggs, avocados, and olive oil.
Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and go organic if your budget allows.
2. Stay Away from Processed Foods
It’s okay to indulge in your favorite foods once in a while, but it really is best to reduce your consumption of processed foods for the duration you breastfeed. These foods tend to be high in refined sugars and trans fats and low in the nutrients you and your baby need.
3. Watch for Baby’s Reaction
The flavors of the food you eat come through in your breastmilk and your baby will most likely enjoy this introduction. But be aware that some babies may be sensitive to certain foods you eat. For instance, your baby may be sensitive to eggs or dairy products. Just keep an eye on them and see if they show any signs of food sensitivity, such as:
- Green stools with mucus or blood
- Rash, eczema, dermatitis, hives, dry skin,
- Fussing during or after feedings,
- Crying for long periods
- Wheezing or coughing
If your baby has any of these symptoms, talk to your pediatrician. He or she will most likely tell you to cut out the most likely culprit(s).
Breastmilk is the most important thing you can give your baby to ensure they grow up healthy and strong. Be sure to pay extra special attention to your diet at this time so you and your baby both get the nutrition you need.