Nursing a baby is an important activity that can strengthen the bond between an infant and his or her mother. But aside from helping babies and their moms develop an emotional connection, breastfeeding also ensures that an infant is getting all the nutrient he or she needs every day.
Breastfeeding moms, therefore, have to be aware of the big responsibility they have to ensure the wellbeing of their babies. This is particularly important if their baby is not eating solid food or drinking formula milk yet. All the nutrients that a baby needs to grow and develop healthily will come from his or her mother’s breast milk.
To make sure that babies are getting the right kind and amount of nutrients they need from breast milk, nursing moms have to be a bit particular about everything that they eat or drink. Below are some recommended food, beverages, and supplements that breastfeeding moms should consume to ensure that their babies are getting the right kind of nutrients as well:
• Dairy food products. Nursing moms should consume more milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt since they are high in calcium and are great sources of protein.
• Foods rich in protein. Protein is an important nutrient both nursing moms and babies should have. Aside from dairy products, breastfeeding mothers need to consume lean meat and chicken, fish, soya foods, nuts, and seeds, and pulses. Health experts also recommend that nursing moms consume at least two portions of fish a week.
• Foods rich in iron and calcium. Lentils, cereals, whole-grain products, peas, dried fruits, and dark leafy green vegetables are good sources of iron. Eat foods rich in iron and vitamin C so that your body can absorb iron easily.
• Foods rich in fiber. After giving birth, some women may have bowel problems and constipation. Fiber can help them overcome these issues. Fruits and vegetables wholemeal bread and pasta, breakfast cereals, rice, pulses, beans and lentil are all rich in fiber so increase your intake of these types of foods.
• Fluids. Always have a drink beside you whenever you have to breastfeed. This helps you keep from being dehydrated. Aside from water, skimmed or semi-skimmed milk are also highly recommended.
• Supplements. Lastly, your doctor will likely recommend a daily vitamin B-12 supplement. Vitamin B-12 is crucial for your baby’s brain development. You and your baby also need vitamin D. Infants need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus and to avoid rickets – a condition that softens and weakens their bones.