Breastfeeding Diet

The crucial connection between breastfeeding and diet

After nine months of scrupulous eating, you're either completely committed to your new food choices or ready to return to sweets and fast food. Well, don't go changing your eating habits yet -- you need to keep up your nutritious prenatal lifestyle for at least a while longer.

If you breastfeed, you need to take in a lot of nutritious calories to make sure your baby develops a healthy mind and body. On the other hand, most women will lose weight despite this calorie increase if they make wise food choices and get a bit of exercise while they continue to breastfeed. Instead of focusing on dropping pounds with a restricted diet, you'll want to keep your energy up and meet the needs of your growing baby with some sound nutrition principles and a good understanding of how your body uses energy in this important phase of life.

Good Breastfeeding Diet Plans

Any decent breastfeeding diet will stick to the same guidelines you followed for nutrition during pregnancy. A variety of foods, frequent meals and plenty of water are vital for your body to support another human being as well as yourself, so keep up your calorie intake to satisfy those energy needs. Although the amount or type of food that you eat won't affect the quality of your milk (your body naturally adjusts the composition of your breast milk according to the needs of your baby), the quantity of milk your body can produce will certainly depend on what foods you choose and how much you eat.

Experts recommend that you eat a variety of foods not only to cover your nutritional needs, but also to encourage your little one to develop a taste for different flavors. You may find that certain foods you eat will stimulate your baby's appetite, while other vegetables (broccoli, for instance) make her fussy or gassy. Feel free to tailor your diet to your baby's tastes as well as your own, but keep taking your prenatal vitamins (or another supplement recommended by your doctor) to make sure you're getting enough of every important nutrient and mineral while your body works hard to produce enough breast milk for your baby.

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Again, the basic guidelines about foods to avoid while breastfeeding are the same as what you've already been following during your pregnancy. Just as caffeine and alcohol can cross the placenta, they can also cross into breast milk, so it's best to limit your intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. An occasional drink is all right, and to be safe you can wait two hours after having that drink before you breastfeed your baby. You should also continue to limit the amount of fish you eat, to avoid the risks of mercury consumption.

Many woman find that certain foods seem to upset their babies. In some cases, your baby may have allergies or sensitivities to the foods you're eating; common culprits include milk, wheat, soy, eggs and nuts. Eliminating these foods from your diet may bring your baby relief, but be sure to discuss it with your baby's doctor before cutting anything out. You'll need to be sure that all of your baby's nutritional needs continue to be met even on the restricted diet.

Dieting While Breastfeeding

Are you concerned about shedding those extra pounds of baby weight? Well, whatever you do, don't diet! A sudden decrease in calories will pose a danger to your health and could spark the release of toxins from fat stores in your body. In turn, these toxins can be passed to your baby through your breast milk. You also need a surprising amount of calories to simply keep your energy up and your milk flowing, so reduce your waistline with good nutrition and moderate exercise instead of wacky diets.

Although many new moms see it as a quick way to the finish line, breast feeding and diet pills don't mix. Instead of boosting your supplement intake (unless it's calcium or vitamin D), try altering your perspective. Fat is one misunderstood element of food: while saturated and trans fats are counter-productive in any diet, healthy fats, especially omega 3 fatty acids, will help you stay energized and ward off postpartum depression. These healthy fats also help your baby's development considerably, leading to a higher IQ and a happier demeanor through childhood and beyond. Do yourself a favor and include foods rich in healthy fats like avocados, walnuts, salmon, flax seeds and olive or canola oil in your daily menu.