Do you find yourself feeling hungry around the clock? Feel like you are not eating enough to provide the nutrients that your growing baby needs? For breastfeeding moms, it is hard to keep up with the body’s constant demand for food. Of course, the hunger is justified
keeping in mind that the body is constantly at work trying to produce milk when your baby needs it.
The food that you eat when you are breastfeeding should be aimed at not only helping you produce milk but also at making sure that you remain fit and healthy.

The complete checklist to eating healthy while breastfeeding

In order to keep your body functioning at its best, here are some foods that should be a part of your diet when you are breastfeeding:

  • Fruits: You can eat whole fruits or consume them as juices and smoothies. At least three servings are recommended each day.
  • Vegetables: A salad or even a curry made with lots of greens and veggies is a must. At least four servings are recommended each day.
  • Dairy: Increase your calcium intake with at least three servings of dairy products.
  • Whole grains: Get the fiber and carbs that your body needs with about three servings of whole grains each day.
  • Lean proteins: Help your body recover and repair itself with about three servings of lean proteins each day.

Diet plan for breastfeeding moms

The requirements of your body will change as your baby grows. This is because the amount of breast milk that you need also changes. Here is a recommended diet for the three stages of breastfeeding to make sure that you are getting optimal nutrition for yourself and the baby.

0-40 days of birth
This is the time when your body is still regaining its strength and is coping with all the hormonal changes. Here are some tips to plan a diet for this period:

  • Eat foods that help produce milk, also called galactagogue foods. Some good examples are dates, garlic, methi, nuts, etc.
  • Do not be selective in your food choices. Instead, eat a large variety of foods.
  • Make sure your diet contains many liquid food items also. These are easier to digest.
  • Eating as soon as you wake up and just before you go to bed is necessary, as you will be feeding the baby even late at night and early in the mornings. Keep a snack or two by your bedside. Something that fills up your tummy immediately will work.
  • Avoid oil and spicy foods. They can cause acidity and heartburn.
  • You can also have soaked nuts, dried fruits, roasted grains, and millet rotis for added variety in your meals. These also lend the required amount of dietary fiber.
  • Just before you go to bed, have a glass of warm milk. Having warm milk also helps to relieve constipation and regulates your bowel movements keeping your tummy light throughout the next day.

40 days to 6 months
This is when you can slowly resume your regular diet and include more variety in your diet. Here are some tips to plan your diet in this stage:

  • When the baby is about 5 months old, you can make your food slightly spicy.
  • The extra meals can be reduced gradually once the baby is 5 months old.
  • When you are introducing a new food, wait for at least three days until you introduce another one. This will help you decide if a new variety of food is causing any digestive issues with the baby.

7 months to 2 years
Your baby will be less reliant on breast milk at this stage as you will be switching to solid foods. This means that you can skip the extra meals early in the morning and late at night. You can also reduce your ghee intake as the baby will be able to obtain this directly from
the solid food. When you are breastfeeding, eat at regular intervals and also ensure that you feed the baby frequently to use the nutrients you obtain from the food. Remember to stay hydrated in order to help the body produce milk

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A specialist in Clinical Nutrition, Weight Management, and Child Nutrition, Ms. Agarwal has been working actively with patients seeking guidance related to lifestyle-specific disorders such as Diabetes, PCOD, and Thyroid.

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