When you’re breastfeeding, what you eat is super important. Though you’re taking care of all the nutrition requirements of your new baby, good nutrition will help take care of YOU, too.
Let’s not forget that having a baby depletes your natural stores of important vitamins and minerals so you’ll want to top up your reserves plus you’ll need to keep yourself physically and mentally prepared for those sometimes totally exhausting days (and nights, too, if your baby’s still very titchy).
1 Good quality protein
RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Lean meat, poultry and veggie sources like lentils, chickpeas, tofu and beans will help keep your blood sugar balanced and your energy levels constant throughout the day. Try for 2 to 3 servings a day.
2 Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna (not canned), sardines and halibut are full of DHA
This helps develop your growing baby’s brain.
3 Leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, rocket, watercress, cabbage and lettuce are aces.
They’re chock full of iron, which is essential for brain and neurological development, for starters, but also helps deliver oxygen in the blood to all the body’s tissues. Go for 1 or 2 servings a day.
4 Vitamin C-rich foods are needed for proper absorption of iron, so eat them alongside your leafy greens.
You’ll find them in red peppers, kale, parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, strawberries, spinach, oranges, lemons, mangoes, asparagus. Aim for 2 servings a day.
5 Probiotic yoghurt wins on so many levels.
It’s a great source of calcium and contains happy-tummy goodness to help support your immunity. You’ll also want to bring in other calcium-containing foods to get your quota of 5 servings a day, including milk, cheese, leafy greens, seafood, broccoli, almonds and tinned fish like sardines.
6 Wholemeal bread (and other wholegrains like brown rice or pasta)
They will help fill you up, give you a steady stream of energy and provide a host of vitamins and minerals. Perhaps better still, recent research shows eating a couple of servings of wholegrains a day can help stave off life-limiting diseases like cancer, heart disease and type 2 DIABETES.
Avocado is a brilliant source of healthy fats, vitamins C and E and folic acid for proper growth and development. The ‘good fat’ will also help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
They are one of nature’s top foodstuffs; a real powerhouse of all kind of nutrients like vitamins A and B, iron and zinc. Whether you like them boiled, poached or scrambled, they’re really easy to knock up, making them the perfect choice for a new mum.
9 Fibre from all kinds of other fruit and veg
It helps mop up excess hormones flying around your body and is just the job for making it easier to do your ‘business’ in the toilet (handy if you’re troubled by haemorrhoids).
10 Water and herbal teas will keep you hydrated
You’re bound to be a little thirstier when you’re breastfeeding. Go for at least 8 cups a day.