It is important for nursing moms to know the kinds of food to eat. This is not only for the safety of the baby but also for their personal well-being. Some of categories of foods that are beneficial for nursing moms are discussed below, read;
FOODS RICH IN CALCIUM
According to a registered dietitian, Bridget Swinney,
a source of calcium is critical, either from dairy, fortified soy or veggies.
The dietitian however warns that when a nursing mother’s calcium needs are not met, the needed calcium is leeched from her bones. And while this is certainly not healthy for the mom, it could also be detrimental to the baby.
Any lead that mom has come into contact with during her lifetime is stored in her bones, Swinney explained, and “we definitely don’t want to have that resurfacing in breast milk.” Research has shown, though, that increased calcium intake can be helpful in reducing lead in breast milk.
Registered dietitian Bridget Swinney recommends that breastfeeding moms have a good mix of healthy fats in their diets, and avocados are packed with them.
“Avocados provide a great source of healthy fats, as well as vitamin C, potassium and fiber,” Swinney said. Registered dietitian Karlene Karst also recommends avocados, whose healthy fats, in her opinion, “help keep the skin hydrated, lubricate the cells in the body and create healthy energy production.”
NUTS AND SEEDS
“The brain is in its most rapid state of growth during the first two years of life,” says registered dietitian Alicia Simpson. Therefore, the essential fatty acid DHA, which supports brain development, is an important component in breast milk.
“By eating rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids like ground flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts, moms not only ensure their milk is full of this healthy essential fat, but also that their own reserves remain high,” Simpson said.
For those moms who are trying to avoid nuts, registered dietitian Bridget Swinney suggested sunflower seeds “because they’re not considered tree or ground nuts — and they’re great on salads, as a snack or pureed into a spread.” Sunflower seeds also contain the most vitamin E of any nut, she adds.
SALMON OR BARRAMUNDI
While registered dietitian Bridget Swinney likes sunflower seeds and walnuts for their short-chain omega-3 fatty acids, she noted that moms also need a source of preformed, or long-chain omega-3, fatty acids.
Cold-water fish like salmon or barramundi are excellent sources of these EFAs. “DHA has also shown promise in preventing postpartum depression,” Swinney added. Karlene Karst, registered dietitian and author, feels so strongly about the benefits of long-chain omega-3s that she developed her own brand of omega-3 fish oil called Sea-licious. “Lactation is the most important time for extra omega-3s because the baby’s brain is still forming,” she says.
Eating calcium-rich foods will hardly benefit a nursing mom and her child if she doesn’t also ensure an adequate intake of vitamin D, a prerequisite for the body to absorb the calcium it receives. “Vitamin D is an essential component for healthy bones and teeth,” says registered dietitian Bridget Swinney. “And mushrooms exposed to UV light are an excellent source of the vitamin.” Registered dietitian Alicia Simpson also recommends mushrooms “for their natural vitamin D content, protein and favorable vitamin and mineral profile.” There is some thought, however, that nursing babies can never reach their vitamin D requirements from breast milk alone and should be given supplements. Speak with your doctor about your baby’s vitamin D needs.
Eggs are the perfect protein, says registered dietitian Karlene Karst. “If you’ve been up all night with a crying baby or nursing in the night, you need a proper breakfast, and eggs are one of the best ways to start the day,” she says. But don’t throw out the yolk. “Moms who throw away the yolk are missing key nutrients,” says registered dietitian Bridget Swinney, “like choline, a B vitamin important for the development of the memory center of the infant brain.”