Breastfeeding is a time of great change for your body. With these changes, the amount of energy and nutrition is greater and for this reason making sure you are eating a well-balanced diet is essential for meeting these targets. Everyone’s requirements are different, so visiting an Accredited Practicing Dietitian for an individualised plan can be helpful. To help you get started, here are our top 5 nutrition tips for healthy breastfeeding:
- Plan ahead and prioritise your mealtimes:
Time is one of the main barriers my clients face when juggling everything that comes with being a new Mum. Make life easy by planning ahead. Start by planning your meals for the week in advanced and using online shopping/delivery services to assist with the main bulk of your weekly groceries. Cook meals in bulk and freeze individual portions for a quick lunch or dinner at a later date and DON’T SKIP MEALS – set an alarm to remind to eat before you are starving!
- Keep a healthy snack handy:
One of the most common reasons for reaching for a sweet biscuit or quick muffin at the coffee shop is not having another option at hand. Make a habit of chopping up a large container full of vegetables on Sunday night and keeping them in the fridge for the week (storing these in water will help keep them fresh and crunchy!). Other quick snack options are grainy crackers such as Vita-weats, natural Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts.
- Choose nutrient dense whole foods:
Whilst you are breastfeeding, your requirements for certain nutrients such as Iodine, Iron and Calcium can be difficult to meet. Eating a wide variety of whole foods rich in nutrients such as green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seafood and dairy can help us make the most of our meals. Research also suggests that exposure to small amounts of allergens found in foods such as nuts can help to line an infant’s immune system and protect against allergies.
- Choose protein rich meals:
Protein is vital for growth, maintenance and repair of cells. Whilst you are breastfeeding, you need additional protein through your diet to help build the protein in your breast milk. Aim to include a source of protein with each meal. This can include a wide range of foods such as meat, including fish and poultry, eggs, dairy, legumes, soy based protein such as tofu and nuts.
- Stay hydrated:
Aim to finish at least 1.5 – 2L/day to replace fluid lost in breast milk. A quick tip is to have a drink of water or cup of tea every time you breastfeed. A good indicator of how hydrated you are is checking the colour of your wee. If it’s pale-coloured or clear, you’re getting plenty to drink. If it’s dark yellow, or smells strongly, or if you feel lethargic or faint, you may be dehydrated and need to increase your fluid intake.
Michelle Nearchou, APD
Remember, breastfeeding is an important time to build your nutrition and healthy eating practices for you and your growing family. Get in touch with one of our Body Fusion Dietitians on 0422 297 721 for individualised nutrition support.