Did you know breastfeeding helps your body return to its pre-pregnancy weight? Just another one of its many great benefits. However, although this is an important time to support and protect your baby’s growth, it is also an important time to look after yourself and keep your own health in check!
What food should I avoid..?
There are many old wives’ tales surrounding foods eaten when breastfeeding but actually, the simple answer is that you can eat anything in moderation.
During breastfeeding there are no specific foods that should be eaten or avoided. However, you may find that certain foods such as cow’s milk or strong smelling foods may unsettle your baby. If this is the case you could try cutting down on these foods and see if there is any improvement. However, before cutting out any foods completely it is best to get advice from your midwife or health visitor.
Breastfeeding mums are recommended to reduce consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks as these can pass through breast milk to your baby. Drink these fluids only in small amounts (no more than 1-2 units of alcohol 1 or 2 times a week) and opt for water, milk and unsweetened 100% fruit juices instead.
Do I need extra portions..?
Although increased appetite and thirst is common when breastfeeding, your body will become extremely efficient at utilising your energy and nutrient stores to ensure that breast milk comes first. So if your diet is less than perfect– the only person who will suffer will be an already exhausted new mum! The general advice is for mums to drink when thirsty and eat when hungry. Having regular meals can help control appetite and ensuring you have a glass of water when breastfeeding helps to maintain fluid levels and quench thirst.
In most cases 10micrograms of vitamin D is the only supplement needed when breastfeeding to ensure baby is getting enough in breastmilk. Make sure you check regularly with your health visitor to guarantee you are getting enough of other nutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin A.