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For the first few months of life, babies depend on their mothers for nutrition. Most of those essential nutrients are derived from breast milk. What you eat as a new mother will trickle down on your baby and affect his or her health. This is why it is crucial to know the right foods to eat while breastfeeding. Maintaining a healthy diet can help boost development in your baby and give you the energy you need to keep up with your new responsibilities as a mom.
Transmission of nutrients from mother to child
Research has discovered that some foods affect the content of breast milk more than others. Breast milk naturally contains a combination of whey protein, casein, vitamins, fats and lactose. These substances are vital for baby’s nerve, brain and eye development. Eating certain foods can change the composition of milk and have harmful effects on growth. Good foods to eat while breastfeeding should increase nutrients in milk and not diminish them.
What are the best foods to eat while breastfeeding?
Keep your meal plan as varied as possible. Try to include as many types of fresh, healthy food as possible. Make sure your plate is always balanced with enough protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Eggs, beans and lean meat are good sources of protein. You should also fill up on cold water fish like salmon, lake trout, shrimp, Pollack and scallops because they provide omega 3 fatty acids as well necessary for eye development. Carbohydrates should be as complex as possible and great sources are whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Fat should be the healthy kind, like that you get from olive oil, avocados and nuts.
The best foods to eat while breastfeeding are also contain choline. Choline is a chemical that is present in breast milk and assists in memory development. Turkey, chicken, sardines, potatoes, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, soybeans and flax seeds have high choline content.
What are the worst foods to eat while breastfeeding?
Foods with unhealthy fats should be limited. These are goods that are processed or store-baked which contain large amounts of saturated and trans fats. Examples are fast food, deep fried food, sausages, bologna, bacon, some cheeses, cake, doughnuts, cookies and other fatty treats. Some cooking oils also have these fats. Read food labels to check for fat content. These foods are unhealthy for both you and baby because the fat can change the level and composition of fat in breast milk. They are also known to cause high blood pressure, intestinal malfunction and other conditions in adults.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can also affect your baby. Babies might become restless or irritable as the result of consumption. After every cup of coffee or glass of wine, wait at least 2-3 hours for your body to eliminate them before breastfeeding.
Knowing which foods to eat while breastfeeding is important, however, you should also know how much you should eat. It takes energy to produce milk and if you don’t eat enough calories, you might experience feelings of tiredness.