Breast milk is the most important and only meal for infants. Hence, when a woman is nursing or lactating, she has to be very particular and make a healthy choice while choosing her diet. The diet which the nursing mother follows should be healthy, as breastfeeding continues up to 2 years max as per her wish, however, it is very crucial in the first 6 months of the baby’s life. In addition to it, eating healthy foods may help you shed the pregnancy weight faster.
New mothers may feel hungry easily while during the breastfeeding phase, as most of her calories are used up. Therefore, a lactating mother should always have regular 3 meals and 2-3 small light snacks.
What Should be Included in the Diet of New Mothers?
Here are some nutritious foods that you should include in the diet of new moms.
- Water: None of your diets can be good enough if your water intake is not adequate. You need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Have at least 10-11 glasses of fluid in any form of your choice, such as milk, fruit juices, etc., and maintain your body hydrated.
- Iron: Iron is very important for both mother and baby. You should include at least 2 servings of foods rich in iron in your daily diet. Iron-rich foods include pulses and legumes, garden cress seeds, green leafy vegetables, watermelon, egg, and red meat.
- Proteins: Protein is an important component when it comes to the overall development of the mother’s body. Also, it helps in the rapid growth of the baby. Strictly, include at least 3 servings of protein daily in your diet. Include foods like eggs, milk & milk products – cheese, paneer, chicken, fish, pulses, and legumes in your diet.
- Calcium: During breastfeeding, the maximum nutrient that is diminished in your body is calcium. Also, calcium is required for the normal development of bones for growing infants. So, include foods that are abundant in calcium. Include compulsory 5 servings of the same in your daily diet. The best source of calcium is milk & milk products, such as yogurt, cheese, paneer and green leafy vegetables, and Ragi.
- Galactagogue Rich Foods: Include herbs, such as methi seeds, Jeera, and Suva, in special preparations, such as methi laddu, almond halwa, dried ginger (saunth) burfi, as these galactagogue foods help in increasing the milk production and improving lactation. Herbs and spices, such as ajwain, fennel (saunf), and garlic, promote smooth digestion and avoid colic pain in a baby.
- Foods Abundant in Omega 3s: Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in promoting brain development. So, it is important to ensure that breastfeeding mothers consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Include at least its 2-3 servings in a week. Sources of omega-3 rich foods include wild salmon and sardines.
- Include at least 2 servings of fruits daily in your diet.
- Increase the intake of leafy green vegetables like spinach etc. Make it a point to have at least once in two days.
- Increase the intake of nuts in your diet. Have soaked almonds, at least 8, in the morning. Include walnuts and dates. at least 2-3, daily in your diet.
Dos for New Moms:
- Exposure to the morning sunlight will help both mother and the baby receive Vitamin D3.
- Do not skip breakfast or any other meal in a day. Have proper 3 healthy meals.
- Limit foods high in sugar and fat, such as potato crisps, chocolates, cakes, and soft drinks.
- Have prenatal vitamins or supplements as suggested by your gynecologist.
- Try to indulge in some moderate exercises, such as brisk walking or swimming 3 times a week, after consulting your doctor.
Don’ts for New Moms:
- Avoid alcohol & smoking.
- Avoid dieting during breastfeeding. Instead, include moderate exercises in your routine to reduce the extra pregnancy weight.
Always aim to consume and meet your needs of nutrients every day, as a healthy diet will help you enhance the health and growth of your baby.