Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with a healthy diet, some determination, and medical advice, you can become a pro

You’ve just recovered from a challenging 40 weeks of pregnancy, and can’t wait to meet your newborn. But with the new little addition to the family comes a new lifestyle, too – and we don’t just mean sleepless nights.

Breastfeeding is most probably your number one priority at the moment – but don’t worry, there are ways to get it right. For starters, make sure that you are following a healthy diet – and no, that doesn’t mean a fad diet to shed your pregnancy kilos in a month, it means a healthy eating plan which will benefit both you and the baby.

READ MORE: Breastfeeding myths you need to forget

Here are some quick tips:

  • Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables: Fruits provide vitamins like B1, B2, B6 and C which help keep you healthy and are necessary for milk production. According to com, apples and bananas, oranges and grapes contain antioxidants that rid your body of free radicals that can build up and cause long-term damage. Plus, they’re all high in fibre, which is exactly what you need to help that digestive system after giving birth. Veggies also provide nutrients that experts add are vital for a healthy breastfeeding diet.
  • Lean protein: Did you know that lean protein provides the nine essential amino acids that your body can’t manufacture on its own? Nutritionists suggest that you add a little lean protein to your diet for you and baby to enjoy.
  • Add some whole grains, too: Whole grains, explain experts, are a great supplement to a healthy breastfeeding diet. They suggest that you add a small amount of pasta or fresh-baked bread to some meals.
  • Eat healthy fats: Almonds, walnuts and avocados are the way to go. Plus, they’re so delicious, we don’t know why you wouldn’t be eating them anyway. They provide beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, omega-3, omega-6 and antioxidants.
  • Drink lots of water: Eight cups at least is suggested – if you don’t drink enough water every day it will lead to dehydration, which will then result in urinary tract infections, constipation and fatigue.
  • Get enough calcium: It’s vital to support your skeletal structure and help keep your strong and your bones functioning well. Plus, calcium plays a role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve function and cell communication.
  • Get enough iron: During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the iron content in your blood becomes diluted by an increase in red blood cell volume, explain Mustela. Be aware of your iron intake and take a supplement if needed.
  • Plan your alcohol and caffeine intake: You are allowed alcohol and caffeine in small quantities while breastfeeding, but you should plan when you enjoy them. Experts suggest that you enjoy a glass or cuppa right after your baby has finished feeding rather than right before.
  • Keep healthy snacks close by: You’ll be surprised how busy a newborn keeps you, so keep healthy snacks handy for when you’re feeling peckish but can’t get up to make a meal – anything from yoghurt to some fruit goes down well.

READ MORE: Breastfeeding for beginners (useful tips for new moms)

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Listen to your baby!

Is your baby feeling gassy? Has he/she become very fussy lately? It could be something you are eating! Look out for signs, such as the ones mentioned, or others such as a change in their stool. You could have digested something that tasted good to you but didn’t sit well with your baby.

Did you know that…?

  • Breastfeeding burns between 500 and 600 calories a day, which is why some moms lose weight with out any additional exercise.
  • Colostrum (your first milk) contains special proteins that coat your baby’s intestinal tract to protect from harmful bacteria right from the start.

Article by Angela Bekiaris, courtesy of www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org, www.medelabreastfeedingus.com and www.mustelausa.com