The right diet is important during breastfeeding, to ensure the mother’s general well-being: tips and advice from the experts at Chicco’s Baby Research Center.
During breastfeeding, a mother’s diet is essential for ensuring their overall well-being.
Now that you’re breastfeeding, you need to pay more attention to your diet, which should be varied and incorporate all nutrients: a healthy amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. When breastfeeding you need to take in around 500 extra calories per day, which can be done with a small additional portion of food.
Regular consumption of meat, fish, dairy products, cereals, legumes, fruit and vegetables makes sure that new mothers have all the nutrients they need to maintain an optimal energy level. Meat, fish and dairy products are rich in minerals and vitamins as well as being an excellent source of proteins and fats. Fruit, vegetables, legumes and cereals provide carbohydrates and meet fibre, vitamin and trace element requirements. Uncooked vegetable oils, like extra virgin olive oil, complete the nutritional picture, representing a great source of beneficial fatty acids and vitamin E. A vegetarian diet doesn’t present problems with breastfeeding, whereas a vegan diet may cause the breast milk to lack vitamin B12, which the mother must instead take.
Drinking liquids throughout the day is essential when breastfeeding, in response to a natural feeling of thirst: mothers need to drink when they’re thirsty or notice that their urine is concentrated or limited. Water is the best drink for hydration: it makes up 80% of milk, regulates fluid-electrolyte balance and helps eliminate waste. Vegetable juices or freshly blended vegetables are also a good alternative. Fruit juices should be consumed in moderation however, even those without added sugar.
No foods are out of bounds during breastfeeding (garlic, onion, broccoli). This is also because babies become accustomed to flavours and spices even in the womb. The more varied the mother’s diet, the greater the change in the taste and the flavour that the baby experiences. Food is also part of culture, so observing food habits translates into respect for a person’s culture. Alcoholic drinks must be avoided, and those that contain stimulants such as caffeine must be consumed in moderation.