Although many mamas experience a spike in their food demands recent research shows that despite what most women are told, a breastfeeding woman’s diet does not have to change much as long as her normal diet is relatively healthy.
In fact, even if your diet isn’t the healthiest your baby will still get what he/she needs. According to La Leche League International, “recent studies show that even if some nutrients are missing in a woman’s daily diet, she will still produce milk that will help her child grow. There is very little difference in the milk of healthy mothers and mothers who are severely malnourished. For example, if a mother’s diet is lacking in calories, her body makes up the deficit, drawing on the reserves laid down during pregnancy or before.”
With that being said, nutrition should always be something that we strive for whether we be pregnant, breastfeeding or simply eating to survive. Establishing healthy eating habits for yourself now will undoubtedly transfer to your child as they grow and set the stage for future nutrition and health choices.
So what does a healthy diet look like?
The following are the main groups of foods that should be included in the daily diet.
-Fresh vegetables and fruits (preferably those in season) of all types, eaten raw or cooked
-Different grains (wheat, rice, corn, barley, millet) preferably whole, in various forms, in the form of whole or broken kernels, as well as semolina and flour (and products made from them including bread and pasta)
-Protein foods from animal sources (dairy products, eggs, meat and fish) and/or plant sources (lentils, beans, soybeans)
-Small quantities of fats, preferably uncooked, cold-pressed vegetable oils.
Curious how many extra calories you’ll need while breastfeeding? Typically doctors recommend consuming an extra 500 calories but even this number is under criticism. If your diet is varied your body will automatically accompany an increase in calories and vital nutrients it pulls from the foods you eat.
* Fun Fact*
Did you know that what you eat can actually flavor your breastmilk and affects your child’s taste preferences later in life? Check out this article from ABC news to read more.
*The statements above are my own opinion and should never replace the advice of your doctor. Always consult with your doctor regarding what works best for you*