Best Foods for Breastfeeding: Find out What to Eat While Breastfeeding
As a new mom, it’s extremely important to nourish your body, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Not only do you need the extra calories and energy to produce milk, but what you eat can also affect your milk supply and how your little one feels. After all, what you eat is part of what they eat as well!
Let’s explore which foods are good for breastfeeding mothers along with certain ingredients you may want to avoid.
Do Certain Foods Increase Breast Milk Supply?
There are a lot of factors that can affect breast milk production. From stress and certain medications to your diet, these can all impact your milk supply. However, La Leche League emphasizes that above all, breast milk production is driven by supply and demand.
In other words, the more your baby breastfeeds (or how often you pump), the more milk you will make.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to increase your milk supply with healthy habits. Getting enough sleep, reducing stress and eating a nutritious diet can all help support healthy milk production.
Best Foods for Breastfeeding
While no one superfood can help generate breast milk, many experts agree that adding certain foods to your diet may help promote and support a healthy supply. According to Verywell Health, galactagogues are something that can help a breastfeeding parent increase their breast milk supply. Certain foods and herbs are considered galactagogues and have been used by women for centuries to help increase milk production.
Here is a great list of food for breastfeeding mothers and the benefits of each for you and your growing baby.
Whole grains like oatmeal are an excellent source of nutrients for a nursing mother. They’re packed with carbohydrates that give you the energy you need, fiber and vitamins and are thought to help support milk supply.
Old-fashioned, slow-cooked oatmeal with no added sugar is a popular and easy choice, especially because you can add your favorite flavors to it. Other healthy whole grains are barley, whole-grain brown rice, farro and quinoa.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are always good sources of vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, not all greens are created equal. Dark leafy greens contain more nutrients than something like iceberg lettuce. They also have phytoestrogens that can help your milk production.
It can’t hurt to switch out your typical caesar salad for something with kale and spinach!
Nuts & Seeds
This dynamic duo make the perfect snack (or added ingredient) for breastfeeding moms. According to Parents Magazine, nuts like almonds are a great source of essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals. More than that, they are often considered to be lactogenic and can help produce breast milk.
Seeds have similar qualities and can be high in vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and calcium. Some great options include sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flaxseeds that you can add to your recipes.
As we said earlier, some goods are considered to be galactagogues, and chickpeas are one of them. In fact, most beans and legumes are great for your health and have a high phytoestrogen content that can support healthy milk production. Adding chickpeas or soybeans to your diet can be beneficial while you breastfeed.
Like chickpeas, garlic is also considered to be good for lactation. Many women have said that garlic, onion or spicy foods can help with their milk supply. Also, some believe that the flavor of these strong ingredients can affect breastmilk and make it more enticing for little ones. On the other hand, the strong garlic flavor could also turn your baby off from breastfeeding.
Ultimately, garlic may be good for helping produce milk supply but your baby may not prefer it.
Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding
When it comes to foods for breastfeeding moms, there’s nothing completely off-limits. Most experts agree that having anything in moderation is ideal and the emphasis should be on eating a nutritious, balanced diet.
That being said, there are some foods that you may want to avoid. Certain fruits, veggies and other ingredients may upset your baby’s tummy or cause gas.
What Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding for Gas
We all know that certain foods can cause us to feel more gassy and bloated. For instance, greens like broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts are all considered “gassy foods” because they contain complex sugars that take more work to digest.
If you eat a lot of these ingredients and then breastfeed your baby, you may notice that he or she is gassier. You can definitely enjoy these foods, but it’s best to do so in moderation.
The same goes for fruits. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, kiwi, pineapple and even strawberries and grapes can make your breast milk too acidic and upset your baby’s tummy. Similarly, cherries, prunes and berries may give your baby gas when breastfeeding.
Pay Attention to Your Baby’s Behavior
At the end of the day, the best foods for breastfeeding ultimately depend on your preferences and your baby! It’s important to know that every newborn is different, and some may even have food allergies or sensitivities that cause an adverse reaction to certain foods or flavors passed on through your breast milk.
By paying attention to your baby’s eating habits, behavior and overall health, you can find the best foods for you both. And, of course, always consult with your doctor if you have any questions about your diet or baby’s health while breastfeeding.
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