The Truth About the Breastfeeding Diet
Providing your baby with all-natural, antibody-rich breast milk is one of the most precious gifts you can give as a mother. While it may seem that breastfeeding should be one of the easiest and most natural of acts, it can often become a huge source of stress for moms. One of the greatest reasons for this anxiety has to do with the multitude of myths and misunderstandings that abound about the breastfeeding diet. Getting the true picture of how you can optimize your health and that of your baby during this vital time will go a long way toward helping you to relax and enjoy the bond of closeness that nursing your child can bring.
Are you feeling worried and pressured that your milk won't be 'good enough' or plentiful enough for your child? It's no wonder. Here are just some of the misconceptions that many new moms have, according to revolutionhealth.com:
Myth: you need to eat certain special foods to make rich, high-quality milk. Fact: it is not necessary to gorge yourself on dairy or deprive yourself of broccoli, tomatoes, or any number of other foods. Instead, a healthy, moderate diet is absolutely fine. You and your baby will learn what agrees with you and what does not.
Myth: you should eat twice as much as usual, since you're eating for two. Fact: you only need five hundred extra calories in a breastfeeding diet. Do your best to incorporate energy-promoting foods like fruits, grains, vegetables and proteins into your added snacks or meals. And don't forget about essential fatty acids such as those found in nuts, seeds, and small amounts of oily fish. These can not only make you healthier, but will also aid in your baby's brain development.
Myth: you don't need to drink much more than usual. Fact: staying hydrated is essential to a healthy breastfeeding diet. Always have fluids nearby, particularly while you're nursing, and drink whenever your body tells you it's thirsty. If you're worried that you're not drinking enough, look at your urine. If it is clear or pale, you are getting enough fluids.
Myth: now that you have had your baby, it's fine to have as much coffee or alcohol as you want. Fact: if you are breastfeeding, caffeinated products can have an adverse effect on your baby, as can excessive alcohol. If you choose to have a caffeinated drink, a beer or a glass of wine, wait three hours before you breastfeed, if possible.
Myth: you should start trying to lose weight immediately after your baby is born. Fact: it's better to wait at least six weeks. Even then, you may find that aggressive dieting is not necessary, as breastfeeding often helps mothers lose their so-called 'baby fat.' In addition, continuing to ingest healthy foods is the optimal breastfeeding diet. Attempting to starve yourself in an effort to shed pounds will sap your strength and that of your baby.
Myth: you don't need to take your prenatal vitamins now that the baby is born. Fact: you can still benefit from these supplements while breastfeeding. In addition, your doctor might recommend that you take extra iron and calcium.
Myth: new moms don't really need to sleep. Fact: arriving at a sleep schedule that gives you adequate rest is one of the best gifts you can give yourself as a new mother. Think about your moods, behaviors, and ability to concentrate when you are fully rested and compare that to how you feel and act when you are sleep-deprived. Motherhood and breastfeeding only amplify your need for sleep, so nap when your baby does, no matter what time of day that might be. The domestic chores will still be there when you wake up.
Taking in health-giving foods in moderation, drinking and sleeping according to the needs of your body, and watching what chemicals and additives you ingest are some of the best ways to relieve your new-mother exhaustion and anxiety. Before you know it, you will be a breastfeeding pro. There's a good chance that you might be even healthier and more conscientious than you have been in your entire life. So sit back, relax, take care of yourself, and enjoy those precious bonding moments with your new baby.