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Are you a new mum who is breastfeeding and wondering why you are constantly hungry even though pregnancy is long over? Are you confused about what to eat when you are breastfeeding your little one? Are you looking for a healthy diet plan for breastfeeding mom? If yes, you should definitely read this article.
Well, one does get plenty of advice on what to eat and what not to during pregnancy. However, once the baby comes along, the focus often shifts completely to the baby. Nevertheless, if you are breastfeeding your baby, it is important to understand that your body is consuming more calories than it normally would have. That is why breastfeeding mums tend to feel hungry often.
It’s not only calories, rather the lactating mother is passing on many important nutrients like calcium and iron to the child through the breastfeed. If the mother will not have healthy and nutritious food at this time, then her own body reserves would get depleted. So, it is very important for the mother to have the right nutrients in the right amount during the breastfeeding phase. It is also true that the more nutritious your food intake, the better will be the milk quality, as well as, quantity. Therefore, while you take care of the baby, here are some simple tips to ensure you are eating healthy and have a positive breastfeeding experience.
Important food as part of the diet plan for breastfeeding moms
There are certain foods that are known as galactagogues. These foods aid lactation and help you produce more milk for your child. For Indians, there are a variety of these foods available in the regular diet. Some galactagogues that you can include in your diet are:
- Fenugreek seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Bottle gourd
- Sesame seeds
In addition, there are certain foods that enrich the breast milk with nutrients essential for your baby’s development. They also keep your body healthy while you breastfeed. These are:
- Dill leaves
- Desi Ghee
- Coconut water
- Gondh or edible gum
- Sprouted beans
- Moringa leaves
Healthy Diet Plan For Breastfeeding Moms
Keeping the above foods in mind, here is a diet chart prepared for you for the three different stages of breast feeding:
Stage 1: Birth to 40 Days
This is the period when your body is also healing. So, your diet should consist of foods that you can digest easily. Adding traditional galactagogues, fermented foods, and more liquids to your diet will help you during this stage of breast-feeding.
- Avoid eating oily and spicy foods
- Avoid gassy foods such as cauliflower, potato, and heavy daals like maa ki daal or chana daal. Moong dal works well during this time.
- Avoid non vegetarian dishes during this stage as it gets difficult to digest.
- However, you can get your proteins from egg whites or from soups made from meat or chicken as non-vegetarian soups are not difficult to digest.
Diet plan for the first 40 days:
Stage 2: 40 Days To Six Months
This is the phase when you can include more variety of foods to the existing diet plan. The baby is ready for any new taste in the milk. However, don’t overdo it. Make sure that you only have one new food in your diet each day, so that the taste of milk does not alter drastically.
If your child has any colic pain or difficulty in bowel movement, it is likely that a new food that you added to your diet did not suit him or her.
You can introduce non-vegetarian dishes and more fruits and vegetables in your diet now. Stay clear of oily and spicy foods.
When the baby is five months old, start reducing the snacks and additional meals from your diet. It is advised to wait until the baby is five months of age before introducing the following foods:
- Chicken or mutton
- Citric fruits
- Dosa or idli
- Black pepper or moderate amount of spices and chili.
Introducing new foods through breast milk also prepares the baby for the weaning process when she turns six months old.
Stage 3: Six Months To 2 years
This is the period when your baby moves from only breast-feeding to solid foods being introduced.
However, you might need to provide your child with the same amount of breast milk even after introducing solid foods. The baby will adapt to new tastes within a month and by the time she is seven to eight months old, the number of feeds will start to reduce.The baby’s digestive system begins to strengthen by now. Therefore, by the eighth month even you can start normal diet.
The excessive ghee and fat rich foods such as panjiri and gondh laddos can be reduced in your diet.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Eating When Breastfeeding
- Drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated helps maintain your milk supply.
- Do not worry about weight gain for the first three to five months of breastfeeding. You can start your fitness and diet routine after this.
- Eat 5-6 mini-meals rather than 3 big meals. This approach aids your weak digestive system to recover post delivery.
- If you notice that any food is upsetting the baby’s stomach, try to avoid it.
- Nursing mothers need an early and late night snack, especially during the first 40 days. This keeps the body nourished and ready to feed whenever the baby wants.
- When eating any nuts, soak them in water overnight to make it easier for your body to digest them.
- Avoid foods that have empty calories. These include - preserved, ready-to-each, and processed foods.
- Include as many traditional and local foods as possible as your body will readily digest them.
We recommended that you follow this diet plan for breastfeeding moms unless your doctor advises to do otherwise.