Many moms who are new to breastfeeding might be worried that their diet needs to change in order for them to produce quality and nutritious milk for their baby. It would seem obvious to think that the food we eat directly affects what is in our breast milk.
However, this really isn’t the case. While it is always a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet, research shows us that a mother’s diet actually has little influence on the quality of her breast milk. The production of a mother’s milk has been designed to protect and provide for a baby during times of hardship or even famine, and in this case, a varied diet.
There is absolutely no reason to try wean your baby off of breastfeeding because you miss a cup of coffee or a glass of wine every now and then. Everything in moderation is perfectly fine. You can eat and drink what you would like, in moderation, and still, provide breast milk that is nutritious and immunologically protective. This is in no way saying that you can splurge and eat a diet of chocolate only! A healthy diet is always best. Eating a nutritious diet has far-reaching benefits, making you feel better and living a healthier lifestyle, but it is not a necessity for providing the best milk for your baby. Some moms in other parts of the world provide nutritious breast milk on a diet based on rice or simple grains.
What Foods Do I Need To Maintain A Supply?
While you don’t need to follow an exclusive diet when it comes to providing nutritious breast milk for your baby, you do need to practice a few things to maintain a good supply of breast milk. The best way to do this is letting your baby nurse often and as frequently as your baby wants, the higher the demand for milk, the more milk you will supply. There are some other influences that can affect milk supply:
Rule of thumb is to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. This should be all it takes to ensure you are giving your body the calories it needs. You will probably find yourself hungrier when breastfeeding, as your body needs some extra calories to help with milk supply. Counting calories is okay when breastfeeding, and sensible dieting shouldn’t have an effect on your breast milk, but excessive dieting can reduce breast milk supply.
There is no need to force yourself to drink excessive amounts of liquids when breastfeeding, but once again you should listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. Just like being hungry, you will probably find yourself really thirsty while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding And Your Diet
To sum it all up, you really don’t need to be on a special diet when breastfeeding. Eat what you want, try fit in healthy foods for yourself when you can, and do everything in moderation. The most important thing is to listen to your body, eat when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a bar of chocolate or that extra cup of coffee – you deserve it!