This week we enter August, and also World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 1st to 7th every year. In honour of World Breastfeeding Week 2018, this post is dedicated to the breastfeeding mamas out there, to give you the low down on nutrition for breastfeeding.
After making it through a pregnancy full of food restrictions you may be wondering, "is there a special 'Breastfeeding Diet' I need to follow?" - You'll be happy to hear the answer is NO! Feel free to enjoy the soft cheeses and sushi you had to avoid during pregnancy! Eat a variety of healthy foods including lean proteins, wholegrain breads and cereals, dairy foods (or alternatives), and lots of fruit and vegetables - the more variety in your diet the better! You'll also need to up your fluid intake to 10 cups per day to provide the extra fluid needed to make breast milk. A good way to get this extra fluid is to have a drink each time you breastfeed.
Extra Energy Needs
Your body also needs extra energy during breastfeeding- an extra 500 calories per day in fact! To meet this, add snacks between your 3 meals per day. Try adding one of the following 500 calorie snack suggestions to your daily diet:
- snack 1: a smoothie made with berry, banana, milk and yoghurt, snack 2: 2 slices of fruit toast with margarine/butter
- snack 1: a large handful of nuts and 1/2 large banana, snack 2: 1/2 large banana and 2 slices of cheese on a few crackers
Supplements During Breastfeeding
If you eat a healthy diet full of variety you shouldn't need a multivitamin. There are however, two key micronutrients that are especially important for breastfeeding women:
- Iodine: important for baby's growth and brain development, the Ministry of Health (NZ) recommends that all breastfeeding women take an iodine supplement of 150 micrograms each day until finished breastfeeding. Iodine is found in seafood, sushi, eggs, and commercially made bread in NZ (except organic), but it's hard to get enough iodine from diet alone to meet increased needs during breastfeeding.
- Vitamin D: important for strong bones and healthy joints, muscles and nerves, the main source of vitamin D in NZ is sunlight. The body makes vitamin D after being exposed to sunlight - September - April: 5 minutes of sun before 11am and after 4pm, May - August: 30 minutes of midday sun. (*n.b. If you are worried about not getting enough vitamin D speak to your GP, dietitian or LMC).
Some women may need special dietary advice from a dietitian during breastfeeding. You may need to see a dietitian if you:
- find that certain foods you eat affect your baby
- are vegetarian/vegan
- are 18 years or younger
- have a medical condition that affects your diet, e.g. diabetes
- eat very little or have a history of eating problems
If you would like personalised advice for nutrition during breastfeeding email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment, or book online via my website.
Until next time,
P.s. Keep an eye out for Thursday's recipe post for Lactation Cookies! A delicious way to get extra energy and boost breast milk production!