Got Milk?  Breastfeeding and it's Nutritional Benefits

Got Milk? Breastfeeding and it's Nutritional Benefits

Breast milk is the perfect source of nutrition for your newborn baby, providing virtually all the proteins, fats and vitamins your little one needs to grow. With the exception of vitamin D, babies do not need any other nutrients aside from their mother’s milk for the first six months of their life.

Your body needs to be nourished well to make the most of your milk,  — as well as supplying nutrients to your baby it also needs to supply nutrients to you too, to stay healthy and strong.


Nutrition for New Moms

While breastfeeding, your body needs 300 additional calories a day to help your baby grow. The quantity of nutrients you need to eat is dependant upon your weight prior to pregnancy, alongside your activity level, and the number of babies you are breastfeeding.

During your breastfeeding phase, some of the key nutrients you and your baby will require include:

1. Protein

To build muscles, blood supply, and tissues. It is recommended to have approximately 71 grams daily. Good sources of protein include red meat, poultry and fish.

2. Folate

To build protein tissues. 500 micrograms daily. Good sources include broccoli, dark green vegetables, folate-fortified cereals, dried beans, and oranges.

3. Calcium

To build strong bones. If you don’t supply your baby with calcium through your diet, your body will take it from your bones. You need 1,000 milligrams daily (1,300 milligrams daily if you are younger than 19). Good sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, fish with soft bones like salmon and sardines, calcium-fortified cereal, juice, and soy beverages.

4. Zinc

To build your immune system and help cells divide. You need 12 milligrams daily (13 milligrams daily if you are younger than 19). Good sources include oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.

5. Iron

To build up the blood supply providing oxygen delivery to cells. You need 9 milligrams daily (10 milligrams daily if you are younger than 19). Good sources include red meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans, iron-fortified cereals, and oatmeal.

6. Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Although there is no replacement for a healthy diet, some women may need to additional support whilst breastfeeding, in the form of vitamins and minerals. Discuss with your doctor before taking any new supplements, and follow their advice, also disclose any supplements you are already consuming, to protect yourself against taking too many.


Breastfeeding Nutrition and Health Tips

  • Eat from a large variety of different food groups to maximize the nutrients you get from them.
  • Choose foods which are high in fibre such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables over less nutritious items such as white bread, white pasta, white rice or pastries (typically beige foods)
  • Drink lots of water (eight 8 ounce glasses daily).
  • Regularly eat three to five meals a day, making sure to included snacks also.
  • Refrain from alcohol. Alcohol will passed onto your baby via your breast milk.
  • Refrain from smoking. Smoking can affect your milk supply.
  • Keeping yourself healthy through exercise not only lifts your mood, but also reduces stress, and helps you sleep better. Exercise also provides added benefits by lowering your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.


Postpartum Weight Loss

Although it would not be uncommon to see celebrities back to their prior svelte size shortly after giving birth, it is not healthy. Remember it took nine months to get to you current size, it would therefore not be realistic to set or expect a speedy return to your pre-birth body instantly. In the first four to six weeks post-delivery, losing weight should not be a concern. Avoid losing drastic amounts of weight too quickly through dieting whilst breastfeeding. Losing more than an 4-5 pounds a month after the baby is born can have an effect on your milk supply.

Breastfeeding naturally helps with weight loss. Typically, the initial weight loss after giving birth is approximately 10 lbs, followed by another 10 lbs which is usually the fluid weight in the first two weeks postpartum. Any remaining weight is commonly lost steadily (about 0.5 lb per week) if calorie consumption is reasonable.

Breastfeeding women can usually see a return to their pre-pregnancy weight four to six months after birth. If weight loss is too slow or stops before your goal weight, switch empty calorie foods such as soft drinks and desserts for more fruits and vegetables, whilst trading high fat foods such as fried and fast foods for lower fat meats.

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