Checkers - Better and Better | What To Eat When Breastfeeding

The best foods to eat when breastfeeding

We spoke to registered dietician Jordana Smith about what food to eat when breastfeeding, and what you should be avoiding. Here’s what we found out:

Breastfeeding food: separate fact from fiction
It’s a complete myth that you should avoid garlic, onions and various other intensely flavoured or aromatic foods. Although you should try and make healthier food choices, there really is no right or wrong guideline for what to avoid. Try and eat most of the foods you usually would. This will subtly flavour your milk and help baby become accustomed to tastes they can expect when solids are introduced.

Choose quality foods so your baby can benefit
Make healthier choices and focus on vegetables, fruits and wholegrains, or at least make them a larger part of your diet if they aren’t already. Because breast milk is the only sustenance your baby is getting, it’s important to pass on higher quality nutrients to them by considering your breastfeeding diet more carefully.

Eat more to keep energy levels up
Women that are breastfeeding need to eat more than women who are not. This is so that energy levels can be maintained and as a new mom, you’ve probably already realised how valuable high levels of energy are. Include an additional dairy, fruit, carb or portion of protein to your daily menu.

Keep hydrated: what are the optimal liquids to consume when breastfeeding?
What you eat during breastfeeding is just as relevant as what you drink, and keeping hydrated is crucial. Many women find that they get thirsty during a feed so always make sure there’s water on hand and try to drink a minimum of eight glasses a day.

Avoid cold drinks that are gassed, as they are high in sugar and likely to lead to weight gain and irritate your baby’s stomach. Stay away from caffeine as much as possible as it will make it difficult for your baby to sleep, just like it does in adults. And try to avoid fruit juice too, especially if it hasn’t been pasteurised.

What about the use of alcohol during breastfeeding?
When you drink, the amount of alcohol running through your bloodstream is the exact same amount that will be found in your breast milk. This is why it’s imperative to either abstain from drinking during breastfeeding or to keep it moderate. If you choose to have a drink, don’t have anything at least three to four hours before the next feed.

Keep an eye on your baby to learn what’s best
If you eat ice cream and your baby gets diarrhoea, for example, then limit the amount while breastfeeding. If there are food allergies in your family, keep a close eye on baby to make sure there is no reaction. If you eliminate a food from your diet and your baby still has a reaction, then introduce it back in and eliminate something else.

Ultimately, what to eat when breastfeeding is determined by your preferences, so as long as you are making the healthiest choices possible, your baby will benefit.

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