Breast milk is the healthiest and best food for your baby. All the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies that your baby needs to grow up healthy are passed through breast milk. As your baby’s primary source of food, it is important to stick to a good diet that is rich in fruits, veggies, carbohydrates, and proteins.
There are no specific foods that you must eat while breastfeeding. But, the general rule of thumb is to eat a wide range of foods that give both you and your baby enough healthy calories. With that in mind, here is a list of six nutritional foods you should include in your diet.
This may sound like an odd choice of food to include in the list, but salmon is as close to a perfect food for new moms as you can get. Salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby’s nervous system and although breast milk contains DHA, levels of it are higher in the milk of women who get more of it from their diets1.
2- Low-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products contain a wide variety of minerals and vitamins that all breastfeeding moms should have. Whether you prefer to get your dairy from yogurt, milk, or cheese, all of them are loaded with vitamin D and calcium. Both of these nutrients are essential for a baby’s bone development and doctors recommend including at least three cups of dairy each day in your diet1.
Apricots are an underrated super-food. They contain dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, all of which are essential nutrients. Fresh, whole apricots are preferred over canned ones but if that’s all you’re able to get your hands on, they’re still a good option.
Dried apricots are also convenient and fit easily into any diet. Throw them into a salad for extra flavor, use them as a topping for yogurt or ice-cream, or carry them as a tasty on-the-go snack.
4- Protein (lean meats)
You’re going to need a good source of protein. Lean meats like skinless chicken, turkey, and red meats are all great options. Protein helps build up and maintain muscle, and lean meats themselves are a rich source of iron. Iron is used to replenish your blood supply and its importance can be felt if you’ve ever been iron deficient. A lack of iron can quickly lead to tiredness, fatigue, and sluggishness–all of which can wreak havoc on your energy levels.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, get your iron from foods like spinach, beans, and other leafy green vegetables.
Nursing moms need more vitamin C than pregnant women and there’s no better source than oranges. Oranges are convenient, portable, nutritious, and an excellent food to boost energy. If oranges aren’t your favorite, then try other citrus fruits or substitute it for things like orange juice. Another option is taking a vitamin C supplement.
Oatmeal has been around for thousands of years. It may not be a fancy dish, but it’s healthy, nutritious, and it gets the job done. Oats are a completely natural whole grain, high-fiber food that are rich in iron, magnesium, and zinc. And to top it all off, it even has its own holiday—October 29 is National Oatmeal Day! You can never go wrong with a food that has its own holiday.
Don’t forget that quick oats—the kind that cooks up in about a minute—are just as healthy as steel-cut oats.
Variety and balance are the keys to healthy eating while breastfeeding. Whatever you end up eating, be sure to get a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, fruit, veggies, and healthy fats in all your meals.
1- WebMD. 12 Super-Foods for New Moms. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/breast-feeding-diet#1