Saturday, 25 January 2014
Your Guide to Breastfeeding- 12 Superfoods for New Mom
Losing those pregnancy pounds might be at the front of your mind. But there’s something that's even more important for your body after your baby arrives -- eating foods that boost energy and give you stamina for being the best mom you can be.
Routinely eating nutrient-rich foods throughout the day will maximize the little energy you probably have as a new mom. If you’re nursing, the quality of your breast milk stays pretty much the same no matter what you choose to eat. But that's because when you aren't getting the needed nutrients from your diet, your body will provide them from your own stores. So making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you and your baby needs will benefit both of you.
Try to make these smart, nutrient-rich foods a regular part of your diet: Your body and your baby will thank you.
There's no such thing as a perfect food. But salmon is pretty close when it comes to a nutritional powerhouse for new moms. Salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby's nervous system. All breast milk contains DHA, but levels of this essential nutrient are higher in the milk of women who get more DHA from their diets.
The DHA in salmon may also help your mood. Studies suggest it may play a role in preventing postpartum depression.
One caution: The FDA recommends that breastfeeding women, women who are pregnant, and women who might get pregnant limit to how much salmon they eat. The guidelines recommend an average of 12 oz, or the equivalent of two main servings, per week. The reason is to limit the amount mercury your new child is exposed to.
The mercury level in salmon is considered low. Some other fish, such as swordfish or mackerel, have a high content of mercury and should be avoided altogether. The 12 ounces are an average. Eating more in one week – such as having three servings instead of two -- won't hurt as long as you eat less the following week.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Whether you prefer yogurt, milk, or cheese, dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. In addition to providing protein, B vitamins, and vitamin D, dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium. If you're breastfeeding, your milk is loaded with calcium to help your baby's bones develop, so it's important for you to eat enough calcium to meet your own needs. Try including at least three cups of dairy each day in your diet.
Boost your energy as a new mom with iron-rich foods like lean beef. A deficiency of iron can drain your energy levels, making it hard for you to keep up with the demands of a newborn baby.
Nursing moms need to eat extra protein and vitamin B-12. Lean beef is an excellent source for both of these nutrients.
Iron-rich beans, particularly dark-colored ones like black beans and kidney beans, are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians. They’re a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein.
Breastfeeding moms should be sure to get two or more servings of fruit or juice each day. Antioxidant-rich blueberries are an excellent choice to help you meet your needs. These satisfying and yummy berries are filled with good-for-you vitamins and minerals and will give you a healthy dose of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high.
You might be tempted to drastically cut back on carbohydrates to help lose the baby weight. Don’t. Losing weight too quickly may cause you to produce less milk and leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish. Incorporate healthy, whole-grain carbs like brown rice in your diet to keep your energy levels up. Foods like brown rice provide your body the calories it needs to produce the best quality milk for your baby.
Portable and nutritious, oranges are a great food to boost energy for new moms. Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent breastfeeding foods since nursing moms need more vitamin C than pregnant women. Can't find time to sit down to a snack? Sip on some orange juice as you go about your day -- you'll get the vitamin C benefit and can even opt for calcium-fortified varieties to get even more benefit from your beverage.
Eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs. Scramble a couple of eggs for breakfast, toss a hard-boiled egg or two on your lunchtime salad, or have an omelet and salad for dinner. Opt for DHA-fortified eggs to increase the level of this essential fatty acid in your milk.
Folic acid is crucial to your baby's development in the early stages of pregnancy. But its importance doesn't end there. Folic acid is an important nutrient in your breast milk that your baby needs for good health, and it's crucial you eat enough for your own well-being too. Enriched whole-grain breads and pastas are fortified with this vital nutrient and also give you a healthy dose of fiber and iron.
Leafy green veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli are filled with vitamin A, good for both you and your baby. The benefits don’t stop there. They're a good non-dairy source of dietary calcium and contain vitamin C and iron. Green veggies are also filled with heart-healthy antioxidants, are low in calories, and are tasty to boot.
After yet another sleepless night, one of the best foods to boost energy for new moms in the morning is a healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereal. Many cold cereals are available that are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you meet your daily needs. Whip up a healthy hot breakfast by stirring blueberries and skim milk into a delicious serving of oatmeal.
Breastfeeding moms are especially at risk for energy-draining dehydration. To keep your energy levels and milk production up, make sure you stay well hydrated. You can vary your options and meet some of your fluid requirements by drinking juice and milk, but be careful when it comes to caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea. Keep your intake to no more than 2-3 cups a day or switch to decaffeinated varieties. Caffeine enters your breast milk and can cause your baby to become irritable and sleep poorly.