As a nursing mother, your baby is still dependent on you for survival just as she was in the womb. So obviously you’re interested in eating well in order to produce plenty of milk for your little one. However, you also may be concerned about losing weight and getting back into your pre-pregnancy clothing. Here are a few tips.
- Don’t restrict calories. A nursing mother is still “eating for two”. Estimates vary, but most breastfeeding experts say that nursing burns around 300-700 calories a day. If you drastically cut calories, your supply can plummet, and your body will also take nutrients from your own stores, which can lead to health problems.
- Don’t eliminate any food group. There is absolutely no good reason for a breastfeeding woman to automatically restrict ANY food. The exception would be a food that baby is allergic to, but don’t be quick to jump to conclusions on that point. Babies fuss for many reasons, and it’s rare for a nursing infant to truly be sensitive to something you ate. So called “gassy” foods such as garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables don’t actually cause gas in the nursing baby. This is a popular myth, because these foods may cause gas in the mother. However, the undigested fibers that cause gas cannot pass into breastmilk.
- Drink to thirst. There is no reason to push fluids while breastfeeding. Moms usually find that they naturally feel more thirsty while nursing. Forcing fluids is uncomfortable and can even lead to edema, which lowers milk supply.
- Focus on whole foods. The best diet for nursing mothers would be one that emphasizes on real, whole foods. In order to lose pregnancy weight slowly (and keep it off!) and keep yourself healthy, eat the foods you enjoy. Women around the world eat a large variety of foods popular in their native culture and provide their babies with an abundant milk supply. Breastfeeding friendly recipes would include meals that are healthy yet easy and quick to prepare. A cookbook I have enjoyed using while my babies were little is called The One-Armed Cook: Quick and Easy Recipes, Smart Meal Plans, and Savvy Advice for New (and Not-So-New) Moms