What can I eat to make my baby healthy while breastfeeding?

During the breastfeeding phase, a mother’s body prioritizes metabolizing nutrients to produce milk for the baby before using them for her own sustenance.

Why is Breast Milk Beneficial for a Child’s Development?

Breast milk serves not only as an essential daily source of nutrition for newborns but also contains numerous antibodies capable of adapting to the child’s developmental stages over time.

Fat Content: Plays a supportive role in development, providing energy and aiding the baby’s digestive system.

– Protein: Taurine, an important protein, plays a crucial role in supporting the baby’s brain development.

– Vitamins and Minerals: Enhance the immune system and facilitate the baby’s easy absorption of nutrients.

– Other Nutritional Components: Essential for supporting cognitive abilities in the comprehensive development of infants, these components are also found in breast milk.

The composition of breast milk is closely regulated. While a mother’s diet has limited impact on certain nutrients, deficiencies in crucial nutrients can affect the quality of breast milk and the mother’s health. Approximately 19-23 kcal, 3.6% protein, 28.8-32.4% fat, and 26.8-31.2% carbohydrates, primarily lactose, are contained in 28ml of breast milk. Therefore, understanding what to eat while breastfeeding to ensure the baby receives sufficient nutrition for optimal development is a significant concern for many.

Unlike formula milk, the calorie content and nutritional composition in breast milk vary. The initial milk the baby receives tends to have more water content, serving to quench thirst, while the subsequent milk has higher fat and nutrient content. In fact, the later milk contains 2-3 times more fat than the initial milk, and the calorie count in 30ml of this milk is also 7-11 calories higher. Hence, to ensure the baby gets the best milk, it is essential for the baby to empty one breast before switching to the other.

What can I eat to make my baby healthy while breastfeeding?
What can I eat to make my baby healthy while breastfeeding?

What Foods Are Beneficial for Breastfeeding, Enhancing Adequate Nutrition for Babies?

What to eat for breastfeeding? Experts suggest that mothers who are breastfeeding can consider incorporating the following foods into their diet to stimulate milk production and improve its quality.

– Gelatin: Considered a postpartum dietary staple, gelatin is rich in nutrients like protein and lipids, aiding in recovery and increasing milk supply. However, moderation is key due to its high-fat content.

– Spinach: This leafy green is a source of fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and various nutrients, supporting increased milk production. Other greens like kale and chard have similar effects.

– Papaya: When cooked, consumed raw, or included in soups, papaya provides protein, fats, and essential vitamins like A, B, C, D, and E, crucial for enhancing both the quality and quantity of breast milk.

– Lean Meats: Pork, beef, and poultry are protein and vitamin-rich foods that aid in milk production and postpartum recovery.

– Fennel: Apart from fiber and vitamins A, K, fennel stimulates milk-producing hormones, augmenting a mother’s milk supply.

– Sweet Potatoes: Studies suggest that daily consumption of sweet potatoes can help mothers maintain a steady milk supply without containing fats or cholesterol, suitable for weight-conscious mothers.

– Varieties of Legumes: Green beans, soybeans, and red beans contain compounds like estrogen that can stimulate breast tissue growth. They also provide protein, calcium, vitamin B, and fiber.

– Oats: Encouraging milk production and providing fiber, oats support digestion and prevent constipation.

– Dairy Products: Fresh cow’s milk or formula both contain high levels of calcium and essential fatty acids, encouraging mammary gland activity in mothers.

– Brown Rice: Known for stimulating hormone production to increase milk supply while providing energy for mothers.

– Salmon: Rich in EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) and omega-3, salmon is not only beneficial for a mother’s milk but also aids in the development of a baby’s brain.

To establish a scientific, balanced diet that ensures quality milk for the baby, seeking guidance and support from nutrition experts, especially for inexperienced mothers, is crucial.

Ensuring Nutritional Requirements while Breastfeeding

Beyond knowing what’s beneficial for breast milk, understanding a mother’s nutritional needs during the breastfeeding phase is a key concern for many families. There are several requirements to consider:

– Energy: During this phase, ensuring and enhancing energy intake is crucial to boost milk production. The average daily energy consumption for producing approximately 750 – 850 ml of milk is around 67kcal/100 ml, totaling about 502 – 570 kcal/day. With the body’s 90% efficiency in milk synthesis, additional energy intake of 550 – 625 kcal/day is necessary compared to an average adult.

– Protein: Protein needs in the first six months of breastfeeding increase by about 20 – 25 grams/day, and in the subsequent six months, an additional 17 grams/day compared to an average adult.

– Lipids: Maintaining lipid levels within 20 – 25% of total energy consumption is recommended, not exceeding 30%, especially for postpartum women.

– Vitamins: Additional requirements include vitamin B2 (an extra 0.5mg/day), vitamin C (95mg/day), folate (an additional 100mcg/day), and vitamin A (850mg/day).

– Minerals: Iron needs are 24mg/day, calcium is 1,300mg/day, and zinc is about 9.5mg/day for the first six months postpartum, decreasing to 7.2mg/day from the 7th month onwards.

How to Ensure Abundant Breast Milk Supply After Birth?

Breastfeeding success post-birth heavily relies on the quantity of milk a mother produces. To ensure an ample milk supply, postpartum mothers should pay attention to the following:

– Skin-to-Skin Contact: Regular skin-to-skin contact with the baby stimulates milk production and encourages the baby’s instinct to suckle.

– Correct Nursing Position: Ensuring the baby latches correctly from the start is vital. The baby should face the mother, chin touching the breast, mouth wide open, and latching onto most of the areola for effective nursing.

– Feeding on Demand: Allowing the baby to feed on demand without restricting time ensures the baby nurses until satisfied.

– Alternating Breastfeeding: Letting the baby finish one breast before switching to the other stimulates both breasts, ensuring a balanced milk supply.

– Breast Massage: Massaging breasts from top to bottom, gently rotating around the nipple, applying slight pressure to stimulate milk secretion. Gently pulling the nipple out a bit further can enhance stimulation.

Apart from these measures, self-care is crucial, including a balanced diet and proper sleep. Incorporating foods like oats, almonds, various seeds, and poultry in the diet supports increased milk production. A mother’s breastfeeding diet significantly impacts the milk supply and the baby’s health. Paying attention to what’s good for breast milk production will help build a nutritious daily menu beneficial for both the mother and the baby. Follow the sections of the Mom Baby Blog for more useful updates!


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