Breastfeeding Diet: What to Eat, Favourite Foods and a Balanced Weekly Menu

Breastfeeding diet: what to eat, favourite foods and a balanced weekly menu. In this article; What is a healthy diet menu for breastfeeding moms? What is the best breakfast for breastfeeding mom? What are the best fruits and vegetables for breastfeeding? along with the questions; breastfeeding grocery list pdf, how to eat sesame seeds for breast milk, foods that increase breast milk, nutrition during lactation, What are the best fruits and vegetables for breastfeeding? You can find information about it in the rest of our article.

Breastfeeding Diet

Slimming down immediately after pregnancy is a common desire for many women. But is it possible to start a diet during the breastfeeding phase without compromising the health of mother and baby? We asked nutritionist Stefania Giambartolomei (SISA), who helped us understand the best steps to take to get back into shape during this delicate phase.

During pregnancy, and subsequently during breastfeeding, the mother’s organism does everything it can to preserve the ‘fat reserves’ that are indispensable for the nourishment of mother and baby. Therefore, the diet to be followed during lactation should not be hypocaloric but neither should it be hypercaloric, so as to avoid gaining weight.

The fundamental rule during breast-feeding is to follow a varied, healthy and balanced diet, like the one proposed by Melarossa. However, it is essential to evaluate the menu received with your doctor and/or gynaecologist, to determine the right caloric intake to follow.

In fact, the mother’s diet during breastfeeding is fundamental in order to transfer milk rich in good nutrients to the baby. Find out the foods to include in your diet and the foods to avoid and an example of a weekly menu to eat healthy and balanced during this period.

Lactation diet: calorie requirements

Each breastfeeding mother loses an average of 500 calories a day to feed her baby, so a diet must help replenish at least the same amount of calories.

A low-calorie diet could deprive the baby of some nutrients or the amount of calories needed for its growth.
The only way not to deprive your baby of the nutrients necessary for his or her growth is to consult your doctor, who is the best person to identify the most correct diet, balanced on your needs and those of your child.

Lactation diet: example of a weekly menu

Live this period of your life well and enjoy your baby without letting yourself be stressed about weight.

If you eat healthily and in a balanced way, you will see that you will slowly lose the kilos accumulated during pregnancy. The advice is therefore not to start a low-calorie diet already during breastfeeding, but to provide your baby with all the nutrients it needs. To follow a well-balanced menu, you can take inspiration from our table containing an example of a weekly menu for stress-free breastfeeding.

Remember that exaggerated stress can affect breastfeeding, making your milk low in nutrients or even causing you to lose the ability to produce it. So, if during breastfeeding, you want to do something to get back into shape, you can do some physical activity, even a simple walk! When the baby is fully weaned, you can start a low-calorie diet, like the one proposed by Melarossa, to lose any excess kilos.

Breastfeeding: rules for healthy eating and keeping your baby happy

  • Drink plenty of low-mineral water (at least 2 litres every day).
  • Use a little salt (preferably iodized salt, to counteract the iodine deficiency frequent in pregnancy), against water retention and hypertension.
  • Prefer extra virgin olive oil as a condiment.
  • Cook meat well and, for fish, favour steamed or stewed. Yes to very well washed fruit and vegetables. No cold meats, raw meat and fish, shellfish (mussels, clams, oysters) to avoid the risk of toxoplasmosis and hepatitis.
  • Avoid spirits.
  • Moderate consumption of coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, chocolate.
  • Do not exaggerate with dried legumes, which can cause meteorism and abdominal colic.

Breastfeeding diet: what to eat and what to avoid

Make it a goal to alternate the foods you bring to the table each day to ensure that your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs. Never forget to include portions of fruit and vegetables in your daily menu and to add dried fruit. Just avoid daily calorie intake that is too high for your needs.

It is also important to follow some small tricks, such as:

  • Limit salt consumption from the outset.
  • Reduce snacks outside meals.
  • Do not overeat meat, foods rich in saturated fat, sugar and fizzy drinks.

You cannot deprive your baby of calcium, iron and protein, which must always be present in your diet.

Why it is important to drink during breastfeeding
Proper hydration during breastfeeding is essential to stimulate the mammary glands to produce milk. In fact, with birth, the baby will no longer use the placenta for hydration. Therefore, without proper hydration, the mother may risk dehydration problems.

Water is the main and fundamental component of all living things. In humans, it accounts for about 60 per cent of an adult’s body weight and 80 per cent of that of a child. Fluid loss of 10% of the total volume can lead to serious deficits in physical and mental activity, so it is essential for the breastfeeding mother to replenish lost fluids.

The daily amount of water to be taken during breastfeeding should not be less than 2 litres per day, to avoid dehydration, kidney fatigue, dry skin and torpor. The daily requirement of 2 litres of fluid must be met for the most part by drinking water (about one and a half litres); the rest can be taken in through food and other drinks, such as fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, herbal teas, etc.

Also, don’t forget that proper hydration helps fight cellulite and water retention: water (especially if it is low in mineral salts) is the most valuable ally for draining excess fluid in the body.

Foods to favour

Foods rich in calcium and potassium

It is essential to introduce sources of calcium into one’s diet, which we find in particular in milk and its derivatives. Among dairy products, cottage cheese in particular is rich in serum protein, i.e. protein with a high content of certain branched-chain amino acids such as leucine and valine.

Calcium can also be found in foods other than dairy products: whole grains and fish, especially blue fish, are also rich in it. In fact, the latter is a mine of Omega 3, which has an anti-inflammatory effect, and vitamin D, which helps to fix this mineral in the bones.

So yes to foods rich in calcium (such as Parmesan cheese, eggs, milk, spinach, etc.). Among minerals, potassium is also important. This counteracts symptoms such as tiredness. It can be found in foods such as:

  • Potatoes.
  • Bananas.
  • Beans.
  • Avocados.

Iron-rich foods
Iron is another essential mineral to take in during this phase. So yes to iron-rich foods such as dried fruit, oily fish, etc.

Discover the ranking of the foods richest in iron.

Protein is one of the key macronutrients for the health and functionality of the mother’s and baby’s body. Proteins can be of animal or vegetable origin. As the name suggests, animal proteins are contained in foods of animal origin, such as:

  • Meat.
  • Fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Milk, cheese and dairy products.

They are proteins considered to be of high biological value, as their chemical composition allows them to be utilised in the best possible way by the body, and they contain all the essential amino acids the body needs to function properly. In addition, foods that contain animal-type proteins usually also tend to have a good amount of other nutrients that are lacking in plant-type proteins, such as:

  • Vitamin B12, found mainly in fish, meat and poultry.
  • Vitamin D, found in oily fish, eggs and dairy products.
  • DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish.
  • Iron, found mainly in red meat.
  • Zinc and selenium, found in beef, pork and lamb.

Plant proteins, on the other hand, are found in cereals and their derivatives, legumes, nuts, algae and seeds. It is good to limit the amount of sweets, oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil) and complex carbohydrates. In addition, reducing salt and salty foods is very important to get rid of accumulated liquids. Do not forget that milk takes on the taste of what the mother eats, so it is important to follow a complete and balanced diet so as not to risk disgusting the baby.

Post-nursing diet

When your baby is weaned, you will certainly be able to cope with a slightly low-calorie diet (e.g. a daily calorie intake of 1500/1700 kcal, depending on your energy needs). Give yourself time and do not get discouraged. With a healthy, varied, balanced and slightly low-calorie diet, you can lose the excess kilos.

It is very important to combine an active lifestyle with a healthy and correct diet: only by shaking up your metabolism can you achieve good results. If, on the other hand, you are not breastfeeding and are trying to regain your post-pregnancy weight, discover our post-partum diet.

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