Diet During Lactation or Breastfeeding
Can you follow a diet during lactation or breastfeeding? During pregnancy it is very easy and very common to gain more weight than is recommended – it is estimated that the ideal weight of a pregnant woman at the end of her pregnancy should be between 9 and 13 kilos above her usual weight – and, when the baby arrives At home we realize that losing weight is very complicated, or at least not as easy as we had thought or as they had told us with the typical phrases of “you’ll see, as soon as you give birth, you run out of belly and as you were”. Fake.
No matter how little weight a woman gains during pregnancy, after giving birth it will take a few weeks (in the best of cases) or a few months to regain her size and figure. Therefore, after the birth of the baby, it is time to consider what to do to recover our physique as soon as possible. Obviously, the solution is not magical: it is about playing sports and following a healthy and balanced diet. If you are wondering, yes, you can follow a diet during lactation or breastfeeding. you can lose weight when you breastfeed, but not in any way.
Keep in mind that some sports are not recommended after childbirth, especially if it has been by cesarean section, and that you will have to wait a few months to be able to do all kinds of physical exercises. It is also very important to consider food. Diet, yes, but without neglecting the nutrients that both mother and baby need to recover from physical exertion, the former, and to develop and grow correctly, the latter.
Diet During Pregnancy
Pregnancy and lactation are two stages in a woman’s life in which nutrition occupies a prominent place, both for her health and for that her baby. And, therefore, we must take care of her as she deserves.
When the happy news of pregnancy breaks, it’s the perfect time to get going and come up with a meal plan. The objective: to have a healthy pregnancy without nutritional deficiencies, and to eliminate foods that are not recommended during pregnancy from our diet.
Ideally, ask the doctor who is taking you pregnant for advice, or go to a nutritionist so that the meal plan is personalized according to your lifestyle and needs.
Breastfeeding is the ideal form of nutrition for the baby. And it is normal that it is. Nature is wise, we are made to breastfeed and be breastfed: nutrients, defenses… breast milk contains everything the baby needs to grow and develop in a healthy way during its first months of life.
But how does the food the mother eats affect the food the infant will eat later? Can you eat everything or are there prohibited foods, such as during pregnancy? Do I need to take more of some nutrients?
These are common doubts among nursing mothers and it is likely that you have them too. In this article, we are going to answer them all.
Diet During Lactation or Breastfeeding
After childbirth, you will experience a whirlwind of emotions and you will need to recover from the changes, both physical and hormonal, that your body will experience. It will take a few weeks to recover postpartum, and diet will play an essential role in feeling better and with more energy.
The diet that you should follow the first days after childbirth is a soft diet, with foods that you tolerate well and that are easy to eliminate. Soft foods, rich in vegetables and fruits, in addition to meat, fish, and cereals, would be ideal. We must not forget about proper hydration, either with water, broths, or natural juices.
Little by little, the diet will become a balanced and healthy diet, in which you can eat everything, even those foods that are not advisable during pregnancy that you will surely want to try again (sushi, Serrano ham, or even a glass of wine).
However, if you are going to breastfeed, you will need an extra energy intake, as well as reinforcement of some vitamins and minerals.
At the beginning of lactation, the body manages to cover this increase in nutritional and energy needs by resorting to the fat reserves that every mother has accumulated, so, if you have followed a correct diet during pregnancy, you will begin this stage of lactation in Excellent Condition.
Now, what specific foods are you going to need the most once you start breastfeeding? Later you will find an example of a downloadable weekly menu that will be very useful. But, to create yourself the variations that you will want to do week after week, you need to know the food groups that cannot be missing in the diet of the nursing mother:
The main food groups that cannot be missing in the diet of the nursing mother are the following:
- Energy: Nursing mothers need a supplement of 500-525 kcal/day compared to the diet of non-lactating mothers. This extra contribution is provided by foods rich in carbohydrates, so the diet should be abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains (bread), potatoes, and pasta.
- Proteins: You will need a supplement of 15-25 g/day for the first 6 months. Protein, preferably lean protein, include it on the weekly menu in the form of chicken, eggs, fish, lean beef, and legumes.
- Fats: It is recommended that you consume healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, avocado, and oily fish (salmon or mackerel, for example).
- Calcium: Nursing mothers should increase the portions of foods rich in calcium in their daily diet, to avoid possible problems of decalcification in them, and lack of bone mineralization in the baby.
Calcium is present in dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, and in non-dairy products, such as nuts, tofu, sardines, and green leafy vegetables.
- Other vitamins and minerals: During lactation, your diet should include the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals, provided through food or specific multivitamin supplements for the period of lactation, and thus have a perfect nutritional status. These vitamins and minerals are Vitamin D, C, E, Folic Acid, Iron, Iodine, Zinc, DHA.
- Water: It is essential that you are well hydrated in order to produce milk. It is recommended to drink about 3 liters of liquid a day.
How often should I take the different foods if I am breastfeeding?
Starting from a balanced basic diet, the extra contributions you need can slightly modify the frequency with which you should eat certain foods. This pattern will serve as a guide to create new combinations from the downloadable weekly menu that you will find below:
- ALWAYS: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- EVERY DAY: olive oil for cooking and dressing
- EVERY DAY: dairy (3-4 servings)
- 4 TIMES A WEEK: legumes and nuts
- 3 TIMES A WEEK: fish, shellfish, eggs, and white meat
- 2 TIMES A WEEK: red meat
- 1 TIME A WEEK: ham or loin in sausage
- OCCASIONALLY: sweets, pastries, and soft drinks
Can you do a weight loss diet while breastfeeding?
The truth is that it is not recommended to lose a lot of weight while breastfeeding, so we do not recommend a weight loss diet at this time.
The reason is that, when the child is breastfed, the body needs the fat reserves that the mother has for the production of milk. And this produces a natural weight loss, in a gradual and controlled way. Just by eating a balanced diet, like the one indicated above, you will see how you gradually recover your weight from the beginning of pregnancy.
You must be patient and eat normally and not do miracle diets or take weight loss products. When you stop breastfeeding your baby, if you need to, it will be time to consider starting a hypocaloric diet, always under the supervision of a specialist.
What should not be eaten while breastfeeding?
It is likely that you will have some doubts about the contraindications of some foods or medications during lactation. To help you solve them, we recommend you access the website https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov where there is a very useful search engine that indicates whether that food or medicine has a risk for the baby.
Although there is something that we can already rule out from the beginning: alcohol. During lactation, it is not recommended to consume it, not even an occasional and moderate consumption. An alternative that you can drink while breastfeeding if you feel like it, is 0.0% non-alcoholic beer (<1%).
As for foods, there are some that should not be abused during lactation because they are not very digestive since they can cause heavy digestion, heartburn or flatulence, or even a certain change in milk taste. They are the following:
- Cruciferous vegetables and legumes, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage.
- Spicy foods.
- Coffee: Doses greater than 300-500 mg per day can cause nervousness, irritability, and insomnia in infants, as well as decreased levels of iron in breast milk.
- Some infusions: many can be taken without risks, such as chamomile or linden, and they bring many benefits to the mother. But other infusions such as boldo, pennyroyal, or fennel are totally inadvisable.
What can I eat when I feel very hungry during lactation?
When you breastfeed your baby, it is normal to feel very hungry at times. This sensation is a wake-up call from your body, which needs you to eat something to replenish your energy reserves and thus continue to produce milk for your baby.
It is best to choose healthy foods, always in small quantities and frequently throughout the day. In this way, you will maintain energy levels, calm hunger pangs, and avoid binge eating.
With these dietary guidelines clear, your baby should breastfeed normally, and the recovery of your body (and your weight!) after the experience of pregnancy and childbirth will come naturally.
You can contact Team SF, we have the most experienced dietitian and nutritionist who will design your diet plan. by which you and your baby become healthy and nourished.