Breastfeeding offers many positive benefits for both mother and child. Studies have shown that breastfed babies have a decreased incidence of eczema and allergy and it offers mom an increased protection against the development of breast cancer and osteoporosis.
In order for a baby to receive proper nutrition during breastfeeding, mom needs to ensure she is eating a healthy, balanced diet. Adequate caloric intake is also important for milk supply. Aim for an additional 500 calories per day from nutritiously dense, plant based foods. You also need to ensure you are adequately hydrated. Aim for a minimum of 3L of water per day. An easy way to remind yourself to drink is to have a glass of water with every feeding.
Below is a list of foods to include and a list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
The foods listed below have traditionally been used as galactagogues, meaning that they increase breast milk production. They are also nutritiously dense and will provide you and your baby with an abundance of nutrients.
Foods to include:
- winter squash
- brown rice
- leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, bok choy, collard greens etc.) Leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium and iron, 2 nutrients we want to ensure are adequately replenish during breastfeeding.
Foods to avoid:
- Caffeine which can frequently cause colic and upset a baby’s tummy.
- Alcohol should be avoided as it will be transferred to your breast milk.
- Certain vegetables including broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts as they may cause gas and digestive upset.
- peanuts, strawberries and shellfish as these foods are common allergens
- Any processed or packaged foods with chemical ingredients you cannot pronounce. Anything you ingest will be transferred to your breast milk and then to your baby.
If you have any concerns or issues with breast feeding, please be sure to speak to your naturopathic doctor.