Food Science

Healthy and Nutritional Food Choices for Nursing Mothers

As we all know, nutritious diets contribute immensely to our general body functioning and overall healthy lifestyle. And for a nursing mother, it goes even further, as the entire childbearing process will take its toll on the body. Right from the earliest stage of pregnancy to the moment you bring your baby into this world, your body undergoes some radical changes. These changes, while mostly unavoidable, can be managed by following a healthy diet plan that includes the best nutritional food choices for nursing mothers.

This way, you can facilitate a smooth transitioning into the postpartum mode and enjoy nutritious foods that will aid the production of healthy breast milk for your baby.

This article highlights the recommended healthy foods and eating habits that will supply you with all that you need to take care of yourself and your little one.

Best Nutritional Food Choices for Nursing Mothers

Your eating habits affect your health, and every bite you take will either count in your favor or against you. That is why it is very important to eat healthy during your lactation period. Understanding and making the best food choices for nursing mothers can offer a lot of benefits to the mother and her newborn child. And if you have recently given birth, it is important that you adopt a healthy diet plan during breastfeeding. For every good or bad food choice a nursing mother makes, it will tell on the mother’s body and the health of the newborn baby. But if you adopt a good eating habit, you will be able to enjoy and maintain a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby.

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Listed below are some important food choices for nursing mothers that will help maintain a healthy body system while nurturing your child.

Seafood

When you eat varieties of fishes and shells per week, your body will retain the necessary nutrients that are required for healthy baby growth. However, you need to careful while making your choice, as some seafood products are high in mercury, which can affect your health and disrupt your child’s growth. Ideally, a nursing mother can consume between 8 to 12 ounces of lower-mercury fish per week. Top examples of lower-mercury seafood that are suitable for a breastfeeding mum include oysters, shrimp, cod, shad, catfish, tilapia, trout, herring, and canned light tuna.

Fruits

There is no way we are ever going to talk about healthy food diets for anybody without mentioning fruits. This is because they are a rich source of protective antioxidants, dietary fiber, important nutrients, and essential minerals. As a nursing mother, consuming fresh fruits will provide your body with adequate nutrients and energy needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, you will be able to produce rich breast milk that can help stimulate healthy growth and development in your little one.

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Here are some of the fruits that constitute the best food choices for nursing mothers:

Banana

Banana is rich in some vitamins and nutrients, including up to 17 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of energy-producing carbohydrates per day. Usually, a nursing mother will require up to 500 calories per day, which means a substantial part of these calories can be ingested when you take bananas.

Additionally, bananas are very rich in potassium, which can help regulate and control fluid balance and the electrolyte level in your body system. This is particularly good for a breastfeeding mum, as you can maintain your normal blood pressure level while taking care of your newborn.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a natural source of essential nutrients, including vitamins A and K, calcium, potassium, and some carbohydrates. As a nursing mother, you will benefit from their antioxidant properties, which can help prevent and combat infections. By eating a healthy amount of blueberries, your baby will also enjoy the protective power of the berries’ antioxidant properties through breastfeeding.

Mango

Mangoes are rich in nutrients and vitamins such as potassium and fiber, which will help to replenish lost nutrients in the body system of a nursing mother.  

Avocado

Avocados are rich in omega 3-fatty acids, omega 6-fatty acids, and omega 9-fatty acids, which help in the production of healthy and nutritious breastmilk for a newborn baby. Additionally, avocados contain important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, and potassium, which will help stimulate healthy baby growth, as well as regulate blood sugar and cholesterol level.

Fruits to Avoid While Breastfeeding

However, just because you are trying to regain your healthy lifestyle does not mean you should munch on any fruit that comes across your path. As a nursing mother, some fruits are not suitable for your body, as they cause more harm than good and affect the growth of your little one. These fruits include:

  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Cherries
  • Oranges
  • Lime
  • Prune
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit

Vegetables

Most vegetables contain high nutrients and vitamins, which help to replenish the body system of a nursing mother. Some of these vegetables will be good for your body system;

  • Red and Orange Root Vegetables: Red and orange root vegetable helps to enrich the quality of your breast milk. Notable among these types of vegetables are carrots, which have been in existence since the ancient Chinese kingdoms.
  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables will enhance a healthy production of breast milk and supply your body with a lot of nutrients that have significant health benefits.
  • Legumes: Legumes are a good source of protein. As a nursing mother, there is a need to eat legumes almost every day, as they come with numerous health benefits.

Nuts

Nuts are rich sources of essential vitamins (vitamin B and K) and minerals (calcium and iron), which are important for the growth of a newborn baby. Apart from this, nuts can also serve as a source of proteins and fatty acids. Nuts like almonds and walnuts can help nursing mothers replenish lost nutrients in the body.

Seeds

Seeds are a healthy source of protein and vitamins. Popular seeds like hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds will help every nursing mother to produce healthier breast milk for their infants.

Additional Tips to Enhance Healthy Eating Habits While Breastfeeding

There are some misconceptions about the right food choices for nursing mothers. But notwithstanding, it is important to give priority to some healthy foods for the sake of your health and that of your newborn baby.

As a nursing mother, you must maintain a specific diet while you breastfeed your child. Some of these tips will help you to eat a healthy meal during breastfeeding.

Regular Water Intake

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When you drink at least eight cups of water per day, your breastfeeding process will be smoother than you ever expected. 

Healthy Snacks

It is completely normal for a breastfeeding mom to feel the urge to eat and drink as frequently as possible. That is why you need to have some healthy snacks and drinks around you always. By doing this, you will be able to meet your daily calorie and nutrient needs, as well as suppress incessant hunger while taking care of your little one.

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Usually, the food you eat will determine the flavor and nutrient level of your breast milk. If you eat enough good food, your baby will enjoy healthy and nutritious breast milk. But if you have bad eating habits, it may affect the quality of your breast milk and impact the growth and development of your baby. 

Some of the foods that will affect your breastfeeding process directly or indirectly include:

  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and tea
  • Gassy food
  • High-mercury seafood like tilefish, marlin, bigeye tuna, swordfish, or king mackerel
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