The breastfeeding stage is often neglected as a priority because we already have the newborn in our care. While during pregnancy we spend much of our time and energy eating a balanced diet, taking our vitamins, and drinking enough water, it seems that by the time our baby is born we forget that we are still the main source of nutrients through breastfeeding.
It’s easy to forget to take care of our bodies, get enough sleep, and hydrate, when there is so much to do to keep our little one healthy. But we must remember that breastfeeding care will result in a healthy, well-nourished baby.
During lactation the demand for fluids will increase, so it is important to drink enough water to satisfy thirst. 2 liters of water a day is recommended, also consume foods with high water content, such as watermelon, soups, milk, or tea. Avoiding sugary drinks will help in recovery and maintaining a healthy weight.
The main way to ensure that our baby receives all the necessary nutrients is through the mother’s balanced diet. It should be noted that during breastfeeding we should eat a varied and nutrient-rich diet, similar to that of pregnancy. It is not necessary to increase portions, since milk production will not require more calories than necessary during pregnancy.
It is important to mention that no food increases milk production, as many myths would have us believe, so the consumption of cow’s milk, beer, or atoles should not be encouraged. Milk production is directly linked to demand.
The mother should include plenty of vegetables, a variety of fruits, proteins, carbohydrates and good fats. Eat three meals a day and snacks that include nuts and seeds. In addition to plenty of fluids.
The only foods that should be limited are those that contain large amounts of caffeine, such as energy drinks. Moderate consumption of coffee and tea should not be a problem, one to two cups per day. Also oily fish with a high content of heavy metals such as swordfish, bluefin tuna, shark, mussels and pike. These fish can be consumed in quantities of 120 grams per month according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption
Avoiding alcohol consumption is necessary during this stage, since alcohol is considered incompatible with breastfeeding and can negatively affect the baby’s health. If consumed, it is recommended that it be in small quantities (60 milliliters) and avoid breastfeeding for the next 3 hours. Co-sleeping should not be practiced after drinking alcohol. It is also recommended to avoid smoking due to the harmful effects of smoke on the newborn’s health.
As complicated as it may seem, the breastfeeding mother should have adequate rest so that her body can satisfy its needs and also produce enough food for the baby. The practice of co-sleeping is an excellent option for breastfeeding mothers, since it allows the mother to rest while feeding the baby.
Breastfeeding brings innumerable benefits for our little ones, but it should always be the mother’s decision to carry it out, since it implies a great effort on her part. We must also have good support around us to carry out a successful breastfeeding, as it is a team effort. The breastfeeding mother should receive support from her partner, close family, and lactation specialists if necessary. The main care we should take during breastfeeding is that of our person and always respecting our wishes regarding the duration.