power foods for lactating mothers

Motherhood is a truly divine experience. It is when you always think about the baby and the baby’s health. Breast milk is the best source of food for a baby’s growth. How you give quality milk to your baby is in your hands and these power foods for lactating mothers can help you!

Benefits of breast milk for your baby

  • Creates bonding between you and baby. Very important!!
  • Breast milk has the right balance of right nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fat and vitamins
  • Easy for your baby to digest
  • Protects your baby from allergies and increases food tolerance
  • Reduces risk of diarrhea and respiratory diseases

Benefits of breastfeeding for you

  • Helps you get back to pre-pregnancy shape and weight, as it burns all extra calories in your body
  • Stimulates the production of oxytocin, which regulates the size of your uterus
  • Less chance of developing osteoporosis and breast or ovarian cancer later in life

So let’s see about power foods that can help you and your baby stay healthy during the initial months of motherhood.

Power foods for lactating mothers

Oats

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a low fat and high fiber food. It not only gives a lot of energy and helps blood regulation, it helps you secrete more breast milk.

How to include in your diet

  • You can chew on an oatmeal bar – preferably sugarless
  • Cooked oats with milk (or almond milk) for breakfast or as a snack
  • Oats with yogurt or buttermilk

Low fat milk/ dairy products

While you breastfeed, you will need good amount of calcium in your diet. You will need 1000mg of calcium intake during pregnancy and after delivery.

  • Canned fish
  • 2 or 3 glasses of cow milk
  • Egg
  • Yogurts
  • Cereals

Make sure you don’t consume too much calcium, as if will affect your body in absorbing iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous. It might also cause kidney stones, hypercalcemia, and renal insufficiency syndrome.

Salmon

Salmon is type of fish which has a lot of good fat and DHA. DHA is essential for your child’s brain development. It is also said that it helps the mothers to reduce the post-partum, depression. It also supports in increasing the amount of breast milk.

You can cook the fish however you like and include in your diet once in every week.

6 power foods for lactating mothers infg

Nuts

Cashew, pistachios, almonds and walnuts are considered to be very good for breastfeeding mothers, as it supplies all required goods fat for the baby, which can be passed through breast milk. The more good fat you consume, more breast milk quality and quantity increases.

You can have raw nuts instead of roasted nuts.

Brown rice

Brown rice not only helps you digest easily and give more energy, it also helps you lose weight in a good way. The more the energy you have, the more breast milk you can secrete.

  • You can cook brown rice and have a bowl full on a daily basis. You can mix it with your favorite gravies.
  • You can make khichdi along with vegetables as per your taste preferences

Green leafs

Leafy green veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli are filled with vitamin A, which is good for you and your baby. They’re a good non-dairy source of calcium and contain vitamin C and iron. Green veggies are also filled with heart-healthy antioxidants and are low in calories.

  • You can cook the leaves and mash it. Add whatever seasoning you like and have along with Rice or roti.
  • You can cook it along with your favorite dhal.
  • Make a salad with broccoli along with your favorite veggies

Egg

As we all know, eggs are protein rich and gives a lot of good fat. It can help you gain lot of energy.

You can have a scrambled egg, hardboiled egg or omelet along with your regular diet, Make sure you always have a fully cooked egg and not half boiled/ half cooked egg. It might become difficult for you to digest.

Apart from the above mentioned foods, you can include a lot of fruits as a mid-meal snack. There is no limitation in the amount of fruits you eat!! Try to bite and eat fruits, rather than juices.

Keep in mind to drink 8 glasses of water every day to keep you hydrated.

Cumin seeds (Jeera)

Jeera or cumin seeds are extremely useful for improving lactation and are the easiest to include in your diet. These can be boiled with water and the water can be consumed – this also cools the body.

If you have a sweet tooth, you can follow the below recipe which might take little time to prepare but is very effective.

Steps:

  • Fry white cumin seeds in ghee.
  • Add some sugar to this and mix well.
  • Store this in a container in a cool place and consume it with milk.

(For best results, eat this twice or thrice daily)

Foods and drinks to avoid while breast-feeding

Alcohol

Better to stop consuming alcohol until you stop breastfeeding. The traces of alcohol in your breast milk, directly affects your baby. If in case you consume alcohol and you want to breast feed, you need to wait for the alcohol to clear out from your body. It might take minimum of 6 to 12 hours for your body to excrete alcohol (if you are hydrated properly).

Caffeine

Avoid drinking more than 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) of caffeinated drinks a day. Caffeine in your breastmilk might affect your baby’s sleep routine/duration.  If you feel tired, you can have lemon juice to boost your energy.

Seafood

Seafood can be a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, most seafood contain mercury. Exposure to excessive amounts of mercury through breast milk can pose a risk to a baby’s developing nervous system. If you eat fish from local waters, pay attention to local fish advisories or limit fish from local waters to 170 grams a week and don’t eat other fish that week.

Eat healthy and stay healthy… Happy Motherhood !!

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.