FOODS THAT NOURISH BREASTFEEDING MOMS
As a breastfeeding mom, you need to eat well, to enrich your breast milk supply and to keep your body functioning at it best. You may need 400-500 extra daily calories, but that doesn't mean you should dive into the ice cream bucket! We advise moms to eat whole, nutrient-dense foods to nourish your body and baby. One of the wonders of breast milk is that it can meet your baby's nutritional needs even when you're not eating perfectly. (However, if your diet is too low in calories or relies on one food group at the exclusion of others, this could affect the quality and quantity of your milk.)
Many breastfeeding moms feel extra hungry, which makes sense: Your body is working around the clock to make breast milk for your baby. Eating small meals with healthy snacks in between, the way you may have done during pregnancy is a good way to keep your hunger in check and your energy level high.
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Water and Other Hydrating Fluids your body needs...for you and for a healthy baby - We recommend at least 64 ounces of water and fresh juice each day to hydrate your brain, help de-toxify your body though sweat and clean urine, and aid indigestion. "Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you THINK, FOCUS, CONCENTRATE, AND BE MORE ALERT, adding that fresh fruit and vegetable juices, soups and broths and homemade smoothies are also good sources of hydration. We cautions against artificially sweetened beverages or too much citrus juice, because the latter may cause rashes or upset tummies in nursing babies.
Lean Protein - Each meal should contain some source of lean protein, to feed your bones, muscles, skin, and blood. Meat-eaters can look for grass-fed beef, organic chicken, or wild-caught fish like salmon or cod (which are likely to be lower in heavy metals than canned tuna, which the FDA recommends breastfeeding moms consume no more than six ounces of each week). Cheese, yogurt, and other full-fat dairy also provide protein, as do eggs, organic dried beans, and legumes like lentils, soy milk sparingly because of possible hormonal effects, but dairy-free folks can get protein from coconut milk, hemp, almond milk, or other nut milks.
Dark, Leafy Greens - Vegetables like spinach kale, and watercress have high levels of calcium, iron, vitamins K and A, and foliate-a.k.a. super-foods for breastfeeding moms. A further benefit of dark greens including kale, beet, mustard or collard greens, Swiss chard, and arugula is that the body easily absorbs their calcium and mustard greens are "cruciferous" vegetables, which means they may cause gas and in both mom and baby, so go green but scale back if discomfort arises.
Fermented Foods - Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, homemade pickles, yogurt, and kim chee contain beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, and a number of strains of probiotic cultures. In other words, those foods feed you and "80 percent of our immune system lives in our digestive system.'' What breastfeeding mom couldn't benefit from an immune booster?
Complex carbs like whole grains, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables not only provide more nutrition than processed starches and sugars, they provide longer lasting energy, And choosing from all food groups is important so you can get the vitamins you and your baby need over time So mix it up try to eat something today that you didn't eat yesterday. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats, both of which are considered unhealthy, Saturated fats show up in high fat meats, whole milk, tropical oils (such as palm kernel and coconut), butter, and lard. Partially hydrogenated oils contain Trans fats, Saturated fats and Trans fats are both listed on a product's nutrition label.
In addition to being bad for your diet, getting too much of these unhealthy fats can alter the fat composition of your breast milk, which isn't good for your baby's health. While we don't know the long-term effects of unhealthy fats on infant cardiovascular heath, we do know that in adults these fats negatively affect heart health by raising LDL, (bad cholesterol), lowering HDL (good cholesterol) and increasing signs of inflammation, Unhealthy fats also boost the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease.
TAKE EXTRA STEPS TO AVOID CONTAMINANTS.
It's a good idea to try to minimize your exposure to contaminants in your food (and your environment) while you're nursing. Pesticides, insecticides, and other chemicals that you ingest can make their way into, your breast milk.
Although research is ongoing, we know that environmental chemicals could affect your baby's long-term health. Here are same tips for limiting your exposure:
- Eat a variety of foods. If you eat large quantities of one food that happens to be high in pesticides, your intake of pesticides will be higher than if that food is just one of many that you eat.
- Know which fruits and vegetables are highest in pesticides, and choose organic options if possible. Always Wash fruits and veggies well or better yet, peel them.
As of 2015 the “dirty dozen” that tested highest for pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group were apples, peaches, imported nectarines grapes and snap peas, strawberries, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes.... (Kale/collard greens, lettuce and hot peppers).
2015 DIRTY DOZEN Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce TM
The fruits and vegetables that had the lowest amount of pesticide residue were ONIONS, SWEET CORN, PINEAPPLES, AVOCADOS, ASPARAGUS, SWEET PEAS, MANGOES, EGGPLANT, CANTALOUPE, KIWI, CABBAGE, WATERMELON, SWEET POTATOES, GRAPEFRUIT AND MUSHROOMS.