By Dr. Shikha Sharma
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A Breastfeeding Mother Must Include These Nutrients In Her Diet

Breastfeeding is a stage in a mother’s life that not only hold physiological importance but also psychological importance. It is known to bring the mother and the baby closer to each other, as per science a baby should be exclusively breastfed for at least six months as the mother’s milk holds the perfect nutrition composition of the nutrients required by the baby. There are various advantages when it comes to breastfeeding, it not only enhances the bond between the mother and the baby but also is tailor-made for the baby, it is sterile, at the perfect temperature and can be given to the baby even in case of loose motions, the baby can fulfill all its nutritional needs through mother’s milk for the first 6 months, studies show that breastfed babies have better immunity and growth also many health risks such as obesity, breast cancer can be reduced by breastfeeding.

At this stage of the life, it is very important for mothers to take care of their diet as it should be nourishing enough for both the mother and the baby, otherwise, it can lead to various nutritional deficiencies in the mother.

Following are some nutrients that should be taken care of when lactating:

  • Energy: The increased energy needs are often confused with overfeeding the mother but in reality, the energy needs increases during lactation only by 500 Kcal. The best sources to include in the diet to increase the energy intake is whole grains, millets and nuts as they have higher nutritional value and helps in improving milk quality.

  • Protein: Good quality proteins such as eggs, chicken, paneer, quinoa helps in tissue repair and hormone balancing during lactation.

  • Calcium: The major component in breast milk composition is calcium, if the calcium needs are not fulfilled through the diet, it can lead to osteoporosis as in a situation of low calcium the body extracts the calcium from the bones. Some rich sources of calcium are milk, spinach, almonds, chia seeds, cheese and yoghurt.

  • Iron: Breastmilk is not very rich in iron also the baby does not have sufficient iron reserves to last six months, therefore it becomes essential to supplement iron through diet. Include fish, spinach, cauliflower greens, mustard greens and other green vegetables also don’t forget to squeeze a lemon over it as vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.

  • Vitamins and minerals: Such as Vitamin A, B1, b2, b3, b12, folic acid not only helps in the neural development of the baby but also in the postpartum recovery. At least 3 servings of fruits should be consumed every day followed by multivitamin supplements.

  • Essential fatty acids: Such as Omega 3 and 6 as they play a major role in the neural development of the baby as well as improving the hormonal balance post pregnancy.

  • Fibre: it is the most underrated nutrient, but a diet rich in soluble fibres such as oats, porridge, nuts helps in regulating the motions, it increases satiety and prevents gastric issues to the breastfed baby.

Eat well, feed well and stay healthy!!!

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