Diet for breastfeeding mothers is a nightmare to a few couples who have recently earned a title of becoming parents. Not every mother is an experienced mother in the first place . It’s not necessary that she knows everything about self care and child care .
Starting from conceiving to postpartum stage ,her inner self knows what she is battling through. Lactation , Right diet , vaccination for baby , chances of hospitalization , baby cry , right diapering for baby , baby weight and immunity are some of the factors a mother has in her conscious or subconscious state of mind !
With the postpartum stage more the joys ,no lesser are the challenges . Nine Month of journey yields a fruit ,however the growth phase of the fruit is equally essential ! The initial phase of feeding for the first 6 month post delivery is a period where the mother feeds her breast milk to the baby meaning she is a lactating mother .This is a time where the baby’s system, without any stress or load, can comfortably digest only the mother’s milk and that is what is recommended .
What is Lactation ?
Lactation is secretion and yielding of milk by females after giving birth. The milk is produced by the mammary glands, which are contained within the breasts.
Tip: The most natural form ,water , is a secondary intake by baby ,while breastmilk remains primary
Nutrition during lactation
To baby : Nutrition , brain development , both water and food content , quenches thirst , bonding ,antibodies, readymade immunity , feels protected
To the mother : Immense depth of bonding and helps lose sufficient amount of fat .
Breastfeeding is particularly advantageous because of the nutritional, immunologic, and psychological benefits. Human breast milk is superior to modified cow’s milk formulas, which may lack essential and beneficial components and are not absorbed as easily or as quickly by the infant. Maternal breast milk provides vitamins, minerals, protein, and anti-infectious factors; antibodies that protect the infant’s gastrointestinal tract are supplied, resulting in a lower rate of enteric infection in breast-fed than in bottle-fed babies. The bonding that is established through breast-feeding is advantageous to building the parent-child relationship.
A mother may continue breastfeeding or nursing her child up-to 3 years of age . World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 2 Yr of breastfeeding.
How did the name lactation arise : The main carbohydrate in your breast milk is the milk sugar known as lactose. Compared to cow’s milk, there is much more lactose in human milk. Lactose not only provides your baby with a major source of energy for growth and development, but it’s also linked to greater brain development.
For the baby to experience such benefits ,the diet consumed by breastfeeding mothers need to be equally healthy. Healthy input for a healthy output ,if the raw material is a quality ,the churned and processed product will be equally a good quality if we analyze at a microgranular level.
It’s always about the mother first , without a mother ,the baby’s world is just incomplete!
Food for breastfeeding Mother
It’s a general thought both before and after delivery , what food shall be in intake ? Where will I get the list from ? How will I know what the alternatives are , if I don’t eat one of the listed food items ?
In India , generally a traditional setup of food items is followed and its still practiced as on date as per cultural preferences . Both mother and baby prove to be healthy. The practices being followed cooking healthy varieties and adapting hygienic methods .
Babies just love sweaty breasts to suck the sweet and perfectly textured milk !A breastfeeding mother generally has 4-6 meals depending on season and hunger !
Each meal comprises of the below category (raw or cooked in a homemade style) or a mix of categories depending on likes/dislikes of mother
- Fruits ,vegetable and leafy vegetable
- Milk and Milk/Dairy Products
- Chicken and Meat
- Rice and items made with root ingredient rice
- Legumes and Sprouts
- Dry Fruits
It is advisable to avoid processed food items (sold in packets and tins ) and junk /fast food items. Too much consumption of the same, even if the food is from the above mentioned category and not home made , has caused irreversible effects on the foetus development causing fatal effects .
Due to hormonal changes and hence mood ,once in a while cheat meals are allowed , however a mother should be aware of allergic reactions to herself and hence probable chances to baby. Moreover since the mother is breastfeeding the child ,a breastmilk in its purest form ,may still contain some traces of unwanted elements .
How to increase lactation ?
Increase in milk supply comes with increase in demand. No mother forcefully feeds a baby. With a baby expressing his /her desire to be fed , a mother then allows the lactation process to be completed .
How to increase lactation in mothers naturally?
If this thought bothers you then you need to trust that no recipe gives the same taste everytime you cook with the same ingredients of exact quantity .Similarly if eating papaya or drinking chicken/ crab soup fills my breast doesn’t mean it will do the same to you or it may rather work wonders to your system !
- A Sound sleep
- A balanced and nutritious food
- Simple exercises
- Enough Water
- A Positive state of mind
Is all you need to boost the milk supply and increase lactation !
However ,traditionally it is believed that heat generating food items tend to release more milk. This again depends from person to person , varies with region and season and individual immunity !
Tip: Relax and try to sleep when the baby sleeps.
Diet chart for breastfeeding mother
Now you may wonder , i already know all these categories as they are all vital and are usually consumed as per the Indian Food culture .Here is a table to refer as a Indian diet for breastfeeding mothers
Diet for Breastfeeding mothers to increase milk
- Milk /Dahi / Buttermilk /cheese/butter
- All types of seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Well cooked chicken and meat with salad
- Roti and daal
- Soup before dinner
- Dry fruits when you have time to pass
- Sleep for positive thoughts
Now that you have a glimpse of diet for breastfeeding mothers ,if consumed timely and in the right proportion ,it not only helps you produce a good quality and quantity of milk but also has notable effects on you . A planned and scheduled diet also helps mothers to lose weight of which water is an essential and uncompromised part . You may choose to calculate calories and likewise plan the intake .
During your journey of motherhood , you may face a number of challenges .You may decide a schedule ,however things may go wrong and you may have to revise your plans .
Staying alert and being patient is the key !
Keep reading this section for more useful and expert tips , personal experience and blog article to keep yourself aware on post delivery care .