A lot of attention is given to the dietary needs and restrictions of women who are pregnant to support a woman’s changing body and the needs of her unborn child. But a woman’s health is also very important to pay attention to after the birth of the baby, especially if she is breastfeeding.
Here are some practical tips for breastfeeding moms to boost natural health and wellness.
Get 500 Extra Calories Per Day
Breastfeeding burns some serious calories, which is good news for new moms who want to drop the baby weight but aren’t physically ready to exercise yet. For most moms, this means taking in at least 1,800 calories per day. Without getting more calories than your body needed pre-pregnancy, you run the risk of lower levels of beneficial vitamins, reduced milk supply, and overall weakness.
Eat Fish Each Week
Fish is a wonderful food to eat for breastfeeding moms because seafood contains a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Just make sure to stick to low-mercury fish so that you don’t pass too much mercury along to your baby through breastmilk. Salmon, cod, tilapia, crab, squid, and clams are all good options to eat two or three times per week.
More Healthy Foods for Breastfeeding
In addition to fish, there are many other foods that are recommended as part of a breastfeeding diet and to maintain a good milk supply. These foods include oatmeal, chickpeas, almonds, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Keep Taking Prenatal Vitamins
It can be hard for many women to get the vitamins and minerals their bodies need from just food while they are breastfeeding. For this reason, OB/GYN doctors often recommend continuing to take prenatal vitamins after pregnancy and throughout the time that a woman breastfeeds. Ask your doctor about any deficiencies that your body has and if all-natural supplements can help.
Drink More Water
Breastmilk has a high water content, which means that women who are breastfeeding need to drink lots of water and stay well-hydrated throughout the day. This is especially important as you begin exercising more and losing more water through sweat. Plan to drink a cup of eight to 12 ounces of water during each breastfeeding session as a general rule.
Don’t Try to Lose Weight Too Quickly
It is very normal for women to be ready to start dieting and losing weight after gaining a significant number of pounds during pregnancy. But if you are breastfeeding, this is not the time to try extreme dieting or try to lose weight too quickly. Rapid weight loss is linked to lower milk supply and more environmental toxins entering breastmilk. Since it took your body around nine months to get to childbirth, be patient with yourself and give your body at least that much time to get back to its pre-pregnancy state.
Breastfeed or Pump Before Exercising
Many women find it uncomfortable to exercise when their breasts are full, so make a point to either breastfeed or use a breast pump before heading out to the gym or trail. Also, wear a supportive bra that can help your breasts handle some impact during exercise. You may need to get a new sports bra or two to accommodate your larger breast size after pregnancy.