Breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural way to provide your baby with the sustenance and the perfectly balanced nutrition needed. However, it can really take its toll on Mama, as it uses a lot of energy and can drain your body of nutrients leaving you feeling exhausted and with low immunity.
Eating the right foods can make a big difference to breast milk production while also boosting your energy levels and providing babies with the very best milk to grow and thrive.
Here are some amazing (and delicious!) foods that can help restore nutrition and replace the energy you expend during lactation while also giving your baby all the essential nutrients they need.
Spinach is truly a superfood for breastfeeding. Per gram spinach is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables around containing high levels of iron, calcium, vitamins A, B, K, magnesium and more! But it is the phytoestrogens that are the real breastmilk boosters here, they can mimic estrogen and help to keep your milk supply topped up and flowing.
Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked and is the perfect addition to salads or smoothies.
Some kinds of fish are generally not recommended while breastfeeding due to potentially high mercury levels. Salmon, however, is relatively low in mercury and once or twice a week is a great addition to the breastfeeding diet.
It offers a substantial amount of Omega 3’s which can be depleted during nursing. It is also high in protein, Vitamin D, B12 and DHA which is essential for the development of babies’ nervous systems.
Be careful with raw salmon choosing only from trusted suppliers but to be extra safe cooked is best.
Bananas are a power packed snack perfect to help keep you going when your energy levels are low. Bananas are loaded with potassium, which keeps electrolyte and fluid levels balanced helping to boost milk supply.
They also offer high levels of vitamin B and fiber along with a little natural sugar making bananas a perfect snack to keep your milk flowing and baby vibing.
All nuts are a great addition to a breastfeeding Mum’s diet, but raw almonds in particular offer a real all round nutrient boost. Full of protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and zinc, almonds help to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide essential good fats that can easily decline in the body when feeding.
They are also packed with healthy fats and antioxidants. Almonds are easily stored and included in your daily diet, whether you add them to smoothies, salads, cookies or just snack on them throughout the day.
Oats have recently gained a reputation as a breastfeeding superfood and are included in many lactation cookie recipes. They are high in vitamin B which can help elevate mood and fight anxiety and depression.
They also provide high levels of zinc, iron, calcium and manganese, all of which can be depleted when breastfeeding. But the real magic ingredient in oats is the soluble fiber, beta glucan.
Beta glucan is believed to have a positive effect on milk supply due to its ability to raise the level of the breastfeeding hormone prolactin. So, whether it is porridge, muesli, oats bars or lactation cookies, adding oats to your daily food plan is a sure winner.
Often taken for granted, the humble egg is a veritable nutritional powerhouse.
They provide good amounts of protein and a long list of other nutrients good for you and baby, including folate, omega 3 and vitamin D, a vitamin which can often lack in mothers’ diets and can deprive babies of the essential vitamin. Boiled, poached, in an omelet or quiche, eggs are super versatile, so adding an egg or 2 into your daily diet is an easy way to keep you and baby healthy.
Breastfeeding can use up to 500 plus calories a day. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and are a quick, easy way to replace the extra energy that breastfeeding uses.
These good fats are passed easily into breast milk and are great for babies’ brain health. They are also a great source of potassium, vitamins and folate. Perfect in salads, smoothies or on toast, including avocado is a great addition to your daily meal plan.
So, it’s clear that simple foods can really be the best when it comes to breastfeeding. Adding these foods into your diet regularly will help keep your nutrition and energy levels up, while supplying the baby with a ton of vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids it needs for the very best start.