A healthy diet that meets nutritional requirements is important to stay healthy and fit. When it comes to breastfeeding moms, meeting daily nutritional needs is even more important. These requirements are similar to those recommended during the pregnancy. Generally speaking, compared to the pregnancy period, a breastfeeding woman needs an additional 200 calories per day.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, the following dietary tips can help you meet your special nutritional needs:
- To stay off unhealthy foods, keep off hunger by having small meals every two to three hours throughout the day.
- Make sure that your diet gives you the vitamins and nutrients that both you and your baby need. Include a vegetable or fruit or both with each meal or snack.
- Nursing moms are supposed to have heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. Avoid any type of fish that is high in mercury content.
- Breast milk is about 87 percent water. So lactating women need to drink plenty of fluids. Drink plain water and herbal teas, and avoid alcohol or alcohol containing drinks. Restrict caffeinated drinks to 2 to 3 cups a day.
- Have two to three servings of protein everyday. Good sources of protein include eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt, meat, poultry, seafood, cottage cheese, tofu, and dried beans.
- According to University of California San Francisco, a lactating woman needs 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. They also recommend 115 milligrams of vitamin C for those who are 18 years of age or younger, 120 milligrams of vitamin C for those who are 19 or older, 10 milligrams of iron for those who are 18 years of age or younger, and 9 milligrams for those over 19.
- Vitamin B-12 is necessary for your baby’s brain development and found in animal products. If you are a vegetarian, consider taking vitamin B-12 supplements.
Many women want to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible after birth. Experts advise waiting until the baby is at least two months old before making a specific effort to lose weight. You need to lose weight slowly as you need enough energy and nutrients to be healthy and active, and to take care of your baby.