August is National Breastfeeding Month and what a perfect time to discuss healthy foods for breastfeeding moms. Postpartum is such a beautiful time in a woman’s life, but it is also a trying time too. Recovering bodies and breastfeeding increase nutrient needs significantly, but it’s important to understand what these increased nutrient needs are, and to consume calories from healthy and nutritional sources rather than processed and unhealthy foods. While most women are eager to get their bodies into pre-baby shape, it’s important to eat for energy to survive those early months of newborns and breastfeeding.
Healthy Protein - Whether you had a vaginal birth or C-section, your body is recovering from a major physical event. It is important to eat lots of healthy protein, so your body can heal appropriately.
Salmon - It is one of the best protein choices for breastfeeding. Salmon, like other fatty fish, is loaded with a type of fat called DHA. DHA is crucial to the development of your baby's nervous system. The DHA in salmon may also help ward off postpartum depression, a bonus!
Beans - Particularly dark-colored beans like black beans and kidney beans, are a great breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarian moms.
They’re a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein.
Lean Beef - New moms start off with a major iron deficit, so it’s important to replace iron in first few months with iron-rich foods like lean beef. A lack of iron can drain your energy levels, making it hard for you to keep up with the demands of a newborn baby.
Blueberries - Breastfeeding moms should be sure to get two or more servings of fruit each day. Blueberries are satisfying berries filled with vitamins and minerals that are good for brain development, plus they come with a healthy dose of carbohydrates to keep energy levels high.
Oranges - One of the best things about oranges, mandarins such as Halos, or Cuties is that they are super portable while being very nutritious. Plus, breastfeeding moms have increased vitamin C needs, so oranges fit the need perfectly!
Fluids are Key
Water - You'll need plenty of fluids to keep up milk production. Water is best, but milk is a great option as well. There is no set amount of water you should drink daily but as a rule of thumb, you should always drink when you are thirsty and until you have quenched your thirst. The best way to tell if you are drinking enough water is the color off your urine, it should be clear to light yellow.
Being a new mom often means eating on the go. Healthy snacking is key to getting in all the needed nutrients that breastfeeding requires.
Nuts - Not only do they require no preparation but they are also a good source of healthy fats and protein to balance blood sugar levels and keep energy levels up throughout the day. Cashews, almonds and hazelnuts are also high in magnesium, which plays a key role in converting sugar to energy. Nuts are also filled with fiber and protein to stave off hunger.
Eggs - Hard-boiled eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs conveniently. Have one as a quick snack, for breakfast, or toss a hard-boiled egg or two on your lunchtime salad. There are even DHA-fortified eggs to boost the level of this essential fatty acid in your milk.
Yogurt - Dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. Dairy provides protein and B vitamins and is a great source of calcium. The best options are less processed yogurt, such as plain Greek yogurt, which has more protein and the least amount of sugar.
Remember, breastfeeding burns about 500 calories or more a day, so be sure to get your extra calories from some of these great sources to meet all of yours and your baby needs!
It's important for new mothers to eat healthy, but making sure you get all the nutrients you need can be a challenge. Let Seattle Sutton make sure you and your family get all the nutrients they need for optimal health with our healthy and easy meal plans!