You’ve just begun a new chapter in your life – one that probably leaves you with very little time for sleep or rest. Having a new baby can be fun and challenging all at once, using up much of your energy reserves. Many new mothers fret about losing their pregnancy weight and getting back to a regular fitness routine – and while it’s important to stay fit, don’t try crash dieting or going on a berserk work out spree.
Breastfeeding burns almost 500 calories a day – which is why it’s essential that new mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet to fuel their bodies and power up their babies. Here’s a bunch of nutritious foods you should definitely try to incorporate in your diet:
The single most important resource to help you stay hydrated and keep your milk supply from depleting. Skip the multiple cups of tea and coffee and stick to water when thirst strikes. A good way to ensure you’re staying hydrated is by keeping a bottle of water by your side, when breastfeeding baby, and sipping it at regular intervals. Don’t go overboard and become a compulsive water drinker either, else you’ll be spending all your time in the bathroom!
2. Green, leafy veggies
Spinach, fenugreek and other leafy greens are a super source of Vitamin A, iron and antioxidants – a powerhouse trio that are great for you and your baby. If you’re lactose intolerant,a big serving of these is also a great way to incorporate calcium into your diet.
Another surefire way to boost your calcium intake, almonds help to replenish essential calcium lost while breastfeeding your baby. They are also a rich source of protein and great as a snack on-the-go.
If you’ve non vegetarian, this fish is one of your best options while breastfeeding. Salmon is a powerhouse of nutrients and loaded with a good fat known as DHA. DHA not only helps in the overall development of your baby but some studies show that it can also play a role in preventing post-partum depression.
Another great way to incorporate protein in your diet. Scramble, fry, boil or make a delicious Indian curry – either way, eggs increase the essential fatty acid content in your breast milk
6. Sesame seeds
A small helping of these can certainly go a long way. Sesame is rich in calcium and packed with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and manganese. All of which combine to make for a super food for nursing moms! Simply sprinkle a few in your roti dough or toss a few toasted seeds on salads or steamed veggies.
Folic acid helps in boosting an infant’s growth and development which is why avocado is such a great choice. Not only are avocados rich in folic acid, they’re also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and potassium. Plus, they’re full of good fat – stuff that helps balance your cholesterol levels and helps give your hair and skin luster.
Lentils, beans and peas should be a part of every breastfeeding mother’s diet. They’re versatile and can be incorporated in a plethora of dishes and if you’re vegetarian, they are a good source of protein, iron and zinc. Rich in fiber too, they should definitely be on your must-eat list!
Another super source of calcium, yogurt is also a super food in its own right. Try and pick a probiotic variant, that’s teeming with live cultures which help boost both mother and baby’s gastrointestinal health.
10. Whole grain cereal/bread
Skip the processed white bread and sugary cornflakes and opt for a healthy mix of whole grain cereal. Coupled with a bowl of milk or yogurt, this is a breakfast option that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals and energy boosters. Oatmeal is another good option to consider and while there isn’t any well documented scientific evidence, oatmeal is recommended by many lactation consultants to increase milk supply. It’s a good source of iron and can also help lower cholesterol levels.
Of course, these are just a few of the many healthy eating options, nursing mothers have, to choose from during their breastfeeding journey. If you’re looking for more extensive meal plans and snack ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to Urbanclap’s list of nutritionists who can help customize a diet for you. Bon Appetit!