What to Eat and What to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Pregnancy is one of the most challenging and rewarding phases of a woman’s life. From cravings to hormones to feeling the first kick, it’s a season of new experiences. So of course, there is a lot of confusion and many questions.
For example, how can you maintain a healthy, balanced diet amidst the depletion of nutrients and to best prepare for lactation?
Here’s a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid during lactation.
Foods That Boost Lactation
Powerhouse of nutrition which are high in vital minerals like zinc, iron and calcium. Nuts are also rich in vitamins B and K and a natural source of essential fatty acids. Lactogenic food such as almonds are recommended worldwide as they help new mothers lactate.
Seeds are a concentrated source of all essential nutrients. Seeds are high in protein, minerals and healthy fats and like nuts, seeds also have lactogenic properties. Every type of seed has its unique nutritional value, so choose a variety of them such as fennel seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc.
Beans and Legumes
These are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, protein and phytoestrogens. Chickpeas (from legume family) have high amount of galactagogue, which helps in milk production, content found in it. Soybeans are also widely consumed because of their high phytoestrogen content.
Consuming more green leafy vegetables shows a positive effect on milk production and keeps the hormones balanced as they have phytoestrogens content.
Consume yogurt, cheese or even milk, as all dairy products are important for healthy breastfeeding. Milk is the best source of protein, vitamin B and calcium. It is also good for strengthening of bones. But always remember, moderation is the key.
Foods To Avoid During Lactation
Consuming too much caffeine can disturb your baby’s sleep, making him/her fussy. So, limit your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee per day. Also remember that even soda contains caffeine.
Consumption of alcohol should be restricted since it gets mixed with the breast milk.
Avoiding processed food is the wisest decision for nursing mothers. Processed foods deteriorate healthy nutrient consumption in both, mothers and babies, and lead to nutrient deficiency.
Follow a Healthy Post-Pregnancy Diet
Before you jump on to any other random diet post-pregnancy, here’s a suggestion for a meal plan for you.
- 4-5 soaked nuts/ almonds
- 1-2 walnuts
- 1 Black raisin
- Meethi/tulsi water
- 2-3 pieces of raagi idli with tomato and mint chutney or
- An omelette, 1 toast and elachi milk
- 1 til ladoo or makhana or orange/pomegranate yogurt or roasted chana chaat or fruits
- 1 glass of coconut water
- 1 quarter plate of mint veggie or chicken pulao and 1 cup of jeera raita or
- 2 oats rotis, daal, veggies and salad
- Carrot/beetroot/spinach/celery smoothie
- A bowl of fruits or 1 daal/besan cheela or baked sweet potato or 1 bowl of upma
Dinner & Post-Dinner
- Dinner: 1-2 methi rotis with 1 cup of vegetables and 1 bowl of cooked salad
- Post dinner: Milk and ghee or turmeric milk
Follow this diet plan to provide your body with the essential nutrients that it requires post-pregnancy.
(Nmami Agarwal is a celebrity nutritionist and a dietitian.)
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