During breastfeeding, it’s important to take care of our diet and eat a variety of nutritious foods. However, is following a special diet necessary?
According to nutrition experts, a perfect diet is not required. You just need to find a nutritional balance that helps you and your baby get the necessary nutrients. Likewise, don’t try a low-calorie diet; you will need lots of energy to produce milk. In fact, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help women lose the weight gained during pregnancy! Furthermore, following a good diet will help you produce more milk and feel good when nursing.
You are probably wondering if there are any food restrictions – and luckily, there are no forbidden foods! However, each baby is different and what affects your little one may not affect other babies. It is widely known that the foods that cause more discomfort are gas producers, such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and others, including food that affects the flavor of milk, like garlic, onions, and some spices. You don’t have to avoid the consumption of these foods, just pay attention to what you eat and if you notice a pattern of cramping, gas or some discomfort in your baby that doesn’t stop, consult your pediatrician. He will most likely recommend avoiding the consumption of certain foods to see if any changes occur. With this in mind, you will be able to verify your baby’s reactions when you eat specific foods.
You may also have heard that you cannot eat fish during lactation. Do not worry about it. The benefits of fish consumption on health outweigh the risks. Just try not to eat fish on a daily basis. The only exception to take into account is fish rich in mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. If you consume them habitually, you should eliminate them from your diet during and even after breastfeeding. However, any other fish low on mercury can be included in your diet.
After nine months of not having consumed any alcohol, you probably want to know if you are allowed to drink while breastfeeding. The answer is yes! You can have a glass of wine, a beer or a drink without a problem, even up to two servings. However, it is better to wait some time before breastfeeding, in order to have your body free of alcohol. Generally, two hours is a convenient time for a serving to be cleared from your body, four hours in the case of two alcoholic beverages. After that, you are ready to breastfeed. Meanwhile, you can always use previously stored milk.
What about caffeine consumption? There is no problem at all! As long as you consume it in moderation, it’s fine. You can enjoy your daily coffee, tea or soft drink occasionally. Just as long as you limit your caffeine intake to no more than two or three servings, you and your baby will be fine!