Breastfeeding Diet

Breastfeeding DietEating a wholesome, well-balanced breastfeeding diet is important for two reasons: First, what you eat goes into your blood stream and anything in your bloodstream enters your breast milk. That means, for better or for worse, your baby eats what you eat, just like when she was in the womb. Secondly, as a new mom you need a lot of energy. We mean A LOT OF ENERGY! You’ll be breastfeeding around the clock, up at all hours and navigating an entirely new life with a baby. You need your strength and that, in large part, comes from nutritious food.

Breastfeeding itself takes a lot of energy and can burn up to 500 calories a day! That’s a pretty fantastic workout all from the comfort of your rocker while cuddling your precious baby. (Sorry, this type of workout won’t last long so enjoy it while you can!) In order to not deplete your body of all of its nutrients, you may need to eat a little extra while breastfeeding to sustain both milk production and your own energy.

So what exactly should you eat as part of your breastfeeding diet? It’s not all that different from a normal wholesome, well-balanced diet but it’s more critical than ever that you make sure you hit all of the essential food groups and nutrients:

Protein: 3 servings of lean protein daily – at least 15 grams.

Complex Carbohydrates: at least 3 servings daily – around 260 grams (60% more than pre-pregnancy!). Save low-carb dieting until after weaning.

Fruits and Vegetables: 3-5 servings daily – aim for at least 3 dark leafy green (with powerful folic acid) or yellow varieties.

Calcium: Breastfeeding depletes calcium from your bones temporarily so try for 5 servings daily from low-fat dairy products, legumes or vegetables.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 2-3 servings weekly to support your baby’s brain development. Limit fish to 2 servings weekly to avoid mercury overload.

Iron: at least 1 serving daily through red meat, legumes or vegetables

Water: hydration is crucial during breastfeeding since your breast milk is made mostly of water. Drink until you feel satisfied, which will probably be more than usual while nursing.

It’s also a great idea to continue taking your prenatal vitamins throughout breastfeeding. Those same great nutrients your baby needed in utero will benefit her in your breast milk as well.

Limit high-fat foods, alcohol, caffeine and some herbs like peppermint and sage that may decrease your milk supply. Also avoid any foods that may cause your baby distress. Sometimes certain foods can cause gassiness, acid reflux or other irritations in babies. If your baby is allergic to a certain food – the most common of which are nuts, eggs and shellfish – she may show extreme symptoms. Stay on top of your baby’s reaction as you may discover an early food allergy.

These are some of our favorite breastfeeding friendly foods:

Salmon: Just two servings a week can give your baby a dose of all-powerful omega-3 fatty acids for incredible brain development.

Oatmeal: A known galactogogue, this is a hearty whole-grain that will sustain you for hours.

Beans: Dark beans like black beans and kidney beans are excellent vegetarian sources of protein and iron.

Green Leafy Vegetables: Kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and more can provide you and your baby with tons of Vitamin A and C, as well as folic acid, calcium and other fabulous nutrients.

Berries: Many types of berries, especially blueberries, are chock full of vitamins and antioxidants to help boost your energy.

Whole Wheat Breads: The perfect carb, whole wheat bread contains satisfying fiber as well as many more vitamins and minerals than its plain white counterpart.

Avocado: With healthy fats and a good deal of fiber, this creamy fruit is perfect for salads, spreading on toast or eating straight up.

Sources: What to Expect, WebMD, BabyCenter and The Bump

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.

 

Find Bliss while Breastfeeding during the Holidays

Breastfeeding during the holidays may be the most challenging time of year.  You surely have extra responsibilities, whether it’s shopping for gifts, hosting festive gatherings or attending holiday festivities.  All of these things make your usual schedule a bit more difficult.  But when you are breastfeeding, feeding your baby consistently is important.  In addition to the scheduling conflicts, added food selections, being away from home more often and stress can take their toll on your once peaceful breastfeeding routine.  Today we’re helping you find bliss while breastfeeding during the holidays.

Breastfeeding Schedule

Holiday schedules can be relentless.  With all that you need to get done, look at breastfeeding as a welcome break from the commotion of the holidays.  If you bring baby along for your holiday shopping and party-planning, make it a priority to stop and nurse at your normal times.  Find a comfy spot in a department store lounge or recline your car seat and enjoy the peace and quite for a few minutes while you nourish your baby.  When you feel you need to leave your baby home to be more 1e69759d-8c48-40e0-8679-02ca22d7f990productive, leave a hearty breast milk bottle for your partner or caregiver to feed the baby.  Here’s the number one rule about your breastfeeding schedule:  do not skip feedings!  Beyond your baby being fussy and hungry, skipping feedings could cause a reduction in your milk supply, plug your ducts or lead to mastitis.  All of these problems would be much harder to overcome, especially during the holidays, than sitting down for 30 minutes to feed your baby at her usual times.

Breastfeeding Diet

It’s essential that nursing moms continue to eat plenty of food, and a healthy diet at that.  Don’t let the hectic holidays cause you to skip meals either and try to stay on track with healthy food selections.  It’s ok to indulge now and then; after all, you should get to enjoy the holidays too.  But avoid too much sugar and salt, stay away from alcohol and don’t eat more than the recommended amount of high mercury fish.  Additionally, keep in mind that some holiday spices are known to reduce milk supply when consumed in excess.  These include sage, thyme and mint.  Also, seasonal decongestants that are designed to help relieve clogged sinuses can cause low milk supply.  Take these sparingly and otherwise seek natural remedies to clear you cold.

Breastfeeding Wardrobe

While shopping, attending holiday events or hanging out with family, chances are you will need to breastfeed around others at some point this holiday season.  Wear comfortable, breastfeeding-friendly clothes that allow easy access for nursing wherever you are.  Nursing tank tops with layered sweaters are always a fabulous and discrete choice.  Of course, never leave home without your nursing bra.  The last thing you’ll want to do is fumble to pull off your clothes with a hungry baby and a room full of people around.  Select nursing bras that fit you properly and comfortably at every stage of your breastfeeding journey and pick styles that meet your individual needs.  We’re pleased to offer a variety of comfortable, chic and festive nursing bras for every mom’s every occasion this season.

Breastfeeding Criticisms

If you face criticism or unsolicited advice while breastfeeding during the holidays, you’re not alone.  When you are around extended family and friends who are not used to observing breastfeeding or who have their own opinions on caring for a baby, they may be more vocal about it than you wish.  First, don’t let anyone else’s criticisms deter you from doing what you know is best for your baby or stress you out.  Have a line or two on hand to combat their negative comments such as “breast milk is absolutely the best food for babies – I’d be happy to send you an article about it,” or “my baby and I are both enjoying so many benefits of breastfeeding, it’s actually quite amazing!”  If you and your baby will do better in a quiet space away from onlookers, excuse yourself and take refuge away from anyone’s sour attitude.  If your loved ones want to feed the baby a bottle and that is not part of your feeding routine, politely explain that you’re not introducing bottles yet and you’d welcome them to burp, change or rock the baby after you’re done feeding.

We hope you find bliss in breastfeeding during the holidays!  Have a happy, healthy, breastfeeding holiday!

Breastfeeding Diet: Thanksgiving Foods while Breastfeeding

If you are a breastfeeding mom this Thanksgiving, you may need to slightly alter your typical festive meal to avoid adverse reactions for your baby.  Most traditional Thanksgiving foods are fine for your breastfeeding diet, but beware of certain items and even hidden spices that can harm your baby, induce gas or reduce your milk supply.  We’re going over the typical Thanksgiving meal and examining the best and worst Thanksgiving foods while breastfeeding.

The good news is that most traditional Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, vegetables, sweet potatoes, corn and breads are completely fine to eat while breastfeeding.  These dishes can be enjoyed freely without concern for how they may affect your baby.  If these are not foods you typically eat, your baby will be able to delight in these festive flavors through the taste of your breast milk.

 

Breastfeeding Diet:  Thanksgiving Foods while BreastfeedingDo be aware of traditional casseroles, stuffing or any recipes that require multiple herbs and spices.  Certain spices can cause gas or an otherwise upset stomach for babies.  Anything that is spicy (such as strong pepper) or even garlic may irritate your baby.  Other herbs and spices including sage, parsley and peppermint can reduce your milk supply when consumed in large quantities.  The amount you would likely have in one Thanksgiving meal would probably not significantly reduce milk supply, however if you are eating days upon days of leftovers that include these ingredients, you may experience a reduction of milk.

The two most common foods to avoid during pregnancy are alcohol and fish high in mercury.  Some pediatricians may approve one occasional alcoholic beverage while breastfeeding, while other healthcare professionals recommend avoiding alcohol completely due to potential neurological affects on your baby.  High mercury fish should be limited to two servings per week.  While fish is not what we typically think of for our Thanksgiving meal, the first Thanksgiving did include many fish items.  If you are incorporating this original tradition, be sure you select low-mercury fish and don’t over-do it on leftovers after the holiday.  High mercury that passes through breast milk can also cause neurological problems for babies.

Caffeine is another food that often aggravates babies either by causing gas or stimulating wakefulness.  Caffeine is OK in moderation, but better left for earlier in the day.  If your Thanksgiving meal usually ends in a cup of joe, you might want to make it a decaf this year.  Also remember that chocolate has caffeine so limit chocolate candies and desserts during your festive meal too.

As with any foods you consume during pregnancy, be aware of how you and your baby react and change your diet accordingly.  If you or close family members have allergies – perhaps to nuts or milk – be careful how you introduce these items into your breastfeeding diet.  Also, if some traditional Thanksgiving foods cause you gastrointestinal issues, they may have the same negative effect on your baby as well.  For instance, pumpkin is often hard for some people to digest due to its high fiber content and cranberries and some seasonal citrus fruits can be particularly acidic.  Also, vegetables high in fiber like broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts can be rough on the digestive system.

We hope you and your baby enjoy a variety of delicious Thanksgiving foods while breastfeeding.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep Your Breastfeeding Diet Pesticide Free for You and Baby’s Health

Keep Your Breastfeeding Diet Pesticide Free for You and Baby’s Health

There’s no set breastfeeding diet you should follow while nursing, but watching how many pesticides you consume should be a priority for any breastfeeding mom. Following these easy recommendations will keep you and your baby free from unnecessary chemical harm. Even if you can’t find everything organic at your local grocery store, there are additional ways to limit your family’s pesticide intake.

First things first: make sure to wash, scrub, and dry any fruits or veggies you’re planning on eating. The best way to make sure your produce is pesticide-free is to rinse any fruits thoroughly. After rinsing, take a paper towel and wipe away any leftover dirt before making your meal. Even if you purchase lettuce that’s pre-rinsed, it won’t hurt to throw it in a colander and quickly wash it again. Not only will this help protect you and your family against pesticide consumption, but diseases like listeria are often picked up through unwashed produce. Play it safe when it comes to your breastfeeding diet!

Summer is the best time to shop your local farmer’s market, and take advantage of any local produce you can purchase. Even if it’s not organic, there’s a better chance that your local produce carries less pesticides than fruits and veggies trucked in from a large-scale farm. Not only are farmer’s markets fun for the whole family, but you’ll be able to score sweet deals on fruits, veggies, and meats that you might not find in a traditional grocery store.

Keep in mind that the following fruits and veggies were deemed the “dirty dozen” by the Environmental Working Group 2011 study that looked at which food items contained the most pesticides on average: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale and collard greens. When it comes to your healthy breastfeeding diet and these foods, take precautions for you and your baby. A little research goes a long way, so try to read labels and pick produce that is healthy for you and your baby.