Nursing mamas need to make special consideration for their own diet to make sure that they are eating enough vitamin-rich foods and calories so that their body has plenty of nutrients for themselves.
But as a mama, it can be tough to take care of your own body when you are so busy taking care of someone else; all the while trying to manage your home and a million other things. Here are practical ways you can strive to nourish yourself as a breastfeeding mama, so you can feel better and be more equipped to handle the day.
This one seems obvious, but it can be really tough to do. You are tired. And busy. Every day. Plus breastfeeding burns calories and can make you extra hungry, making fast food all the more appealing. Despite this, try to reach for whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbs instead of processed foods whenever possible. This will help to give you energy and promote a balanced mood throughout the day. If you know you are prone to getting hungry while doing errands, stock your car with healthy snacks.
Your goal with a balanced diet is to eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, 2-3 servings of protein, and 3 servings of dairy products per day. This can seem daunting, but stocking your kitchen with nutritious snacks, like frozen fruit smoothie packs, and planning healthy dinners can also help. Eating a balanced diet is important because it will nourish your body by maintaining your nutritional needs and provide your body with much needed energy. Happy tummy, happy mama!
According to the Mayo Clinic, breastfeeding mamas burn between 300-500 calories every day just by nursing. In fact, some mothers find that they lose weight just by nursing, changing nothing at all in their activity level or diet. To ensure your baby is getting the proper fat content in his milk, make up those calories by eating an extra snack during the day. Veggies and hummus, banana and peanut butter or some other healthy snack.
Harvard University recommends eating small, frequent meal to combat fatigue (and what mama isn’t exhausted 24-7?). Doing so helps to give you small boosts of energy all throughout the day.
Calcium, folic acid and iron are particularly important for nursing mothers. The best way to get vitamins and minerals is by eating a variety of vitamin-rich foods, but talk to your doctor about taking supplements if you are concerned you are not getting enough vitamins.
Try to postpone restrictive diets, where you are trying to lose more than 4 pounds a month, until after you are finished nursing. If you are counting calories, nursing mothers should aim for taking in about 1800-2200 calories per day. Any less can affect your milk supply and the fat content of your milk.
Any nursing mama knows that breastfeeding can really make you thirsty. Drink enough throughout the day so that you feel satiated and your urine is clear. If you are thirsty, drink! Choose water or water with fruit for flavoring as opposed to juices, sugary drinks or caffeine for the best hydration.
For healthy eating ideas, check out my cook book, Happy Tummies. It features over 100 mama recipes using over 40 nutritious fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains (including the recipes to the scrumptious photo in this post). Plus, there is nutritional information for every ingredient, as well as directions as to how to prepare them for you and your baby.