Breastfeeding Diet Tips

Breastfeeding Diet Tips

A Healthy Diet Is Very Important

It is important that your diet replaces the nutrients that are used up during breastfeeding, such as protein, calcium, iron and vitamins. There is no evidence that certain foods upset the baby or give them diarrhea or colic. Limit your intake of alcohol to one to two glasses per day.

Preventing rapid weight loss
Breastfeeding burns up a lot of energy (kilojoules). Some of the energy will come from the fat you laid down in pregnancy. However, some women will need to eat extra snacks to prevent rapid weight loss. Use your weight and appetite to work out your energy needs.

What snacks to choose
Ideal snacks for helping to prevent rapid weight loss include:
Milk drinks
Cereal with milk

If you are having trouble getting back in shape
Although breastfeeding uses up a lot of energy, some women have a problem with extra weight. Tips for losing weight include:

Grill, steam, bake or casserole Lean meat, fish and poultry use butter and margarine sparingly avoid high fat foods such as chips, rich desserts or greasy take away limit your in take of sugary foods such as soft drinks, cakes and lollies Exercise – for example, push the pram around the block. Build up to between 30 and 40 minutes three to four times per week.

Don’t go on a strict diet
Strict diets and skipping meals are not recommended because you could miss out on vital nutrients.

Meeting your daily nutrient requirements
Protein Breast milk contains a lot of protein. So, you will need to include extra protein in your diet, from foods such as:
Meat, fish and chicken

Cheese and yogurt
Nuts and legumes, for example, lentils, baked beans and split peas.

Calcium Calcium is another major ingredient in breast milk. You will need extra calcium from:Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. These are the best source of calcium.
Soy-milk fortified with calcium – look for a brand which includes around 120mg calcium per 100mls soy-milk.

If your diet does not contain plenty of calcium, your body will use calcium from your bones to meet your increased needs. This weakens your bones and increases the risk that you will develop osteoporosis later in life.

Iron Pregnancy uses up your iron stores. During breastfeeding, you need to rebuild your iron stores with iron rich foods:
Liver, red meat, chicken and fish are the richest sources of iron
Legumes – for example, baked beans
Nuts and dried fruit
Wholegrain bread and cereals
Green leafy vegetables.

Folate and vitamins Breastfeeding also increases your need for:
Folate – for example, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin C – for example, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruit, tomatoes, capsicum and potatoes.
Vitamin A – for example, dark green and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and pumpkin.

Vegetarian mothers
A vegetarian diet can meet the nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mother as long as it includes a variety of foods, including:
Eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt
Wholegrain breads and cereals
Fresh fruit and vegetables.

Check with your dietitian to make sure your diet contains the right amount of kilojoules and nutrients.

Where to get help
Your doctor
Maternal and Child Health center
Lactation consultant

Things to remember
It’s important to eat a diet rich in protein, iron, calcium and vitamins while you are breastfeeding.
If you want to lose weight, do it gradually. Don’t go on a ‘crash’ diet.