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Beneficial Nutritional Choices for Breastfeeding Moms

July 30, 2012

You’re probably getting a little tired of hearing about all of the foods you’re not supposed to eat and beverages you should avoid during pregnancy. And if you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ve likely heard some warnings from other moms about foods they learned to stay away from (here’s a hint: they might include some of your spiciest favorites). But there are a lot of foods and beverages that are beneficial while you’re breastfeeding your baby, and are fairly easy to incorporate into your diet.

As important as omega-3 fatty acids are during pregnancy, they’re still important to your baby’s development in her first year of life. These acids, when incorporated into your breast milk, will provide your baby with the nutrition needed for infant brain and eye development. Cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 and include favorites like salmon and arctic char, rainbow trout, and canned light tuna. Stay away from albacore tuna when buying canned, as it can contain high levels of mercury.

Staying hydrated is paramount while you’re breastfeeding. Your body’s need for fluids increases during this time, and boosting your water intake is advisable. Many women find that their energy flags while breastfeeding, and much of that is due to imbalanced electrolytes. Hydration can help with this, and beverages like coconut water are excellent for maintaining an electrolyte balance. Coconut water is packed with potassium and sodium, and lacks the refined sugars and corn syrup of performance beverages.

And your body’s need for calcium increases while you’re nursing. You can certainly get the calcium you need by drinking milk, but consider adding Greek yogurt to your breakfast as a way of boosting both calcium and protein. Cheese is also high in calcium, and tofu is a great way of getting calcium into your diet without the lactose found in dairy products.

And of course, while you’re breastfeeding, continue taking your prenatal vitamins! The same daily vitamins and minerals that were so beneficial to you and your baby during pregnancy are still vital during that first year of your baby’s life, and will help fill in any gaps in your diet.

Does your baby have food allergies? Stay tuned for our upcoming post on managing your baby’s food allergies by monitoring your own nutritional choices!

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