You don’t need to go on some magic diet and buy loads of cabbage or sushi whilst breastfeeding. You just need to follow a well balanced diet, which is a combination of healthy organic foods.
What is a balanced diet?
- Starchy foods, such as sweet potato, wheat free pasta and rice. Choose organic varieties of cereal-based starchy foods for added nutrients and fibre.
- Some dairy produce, such as a yoghurt or butter. Again, organic is best as it doesn’t contain any pesticides or hormones.
- Some good quality protein like fish, eggs, steak and beans and pulses.
- Lots of seasonal fruit and vegetables
As a trainer to many new mums, I’m constantly reminding them to look after themselves and keep their energy levels up after those sleepless nights. Many new mums forget to eat as they are too preoccupied with their little one. But you need to eat to keep up with your baby and provide them with good quality breastmilk.
So follow these handy tips from Jamie Lloyd, an award winning health and fitness coach.
Eat on the go and have some nutritious meals and snacks in your handbags
- Protein balls – you can make your own or even get them from the supermarket
- Rice cakes with hummus
- Apricots, cashew nuts or almonds and grapes
- Soup – put a flask of soup in your bag if you know you are going to be out and about.
- Flapjacks – again full of energy and you can batch cook some at home.
- Yogurt and strawberries – add some honey for an extra kick.
If you don’t have time to batch cook do an online shop and this will prevent you from stopping off at the BOGOF isles.
Eat simple foods and over complicate things
You don’t need to go on celebrity diet to get good quality breastmilk. Your body will tell you what it wants and as long as you are eating at regular intervals and eating healthily, your body will produce good quality breastmilk and it will be just right each time they feed.. Remember if you tend to eat a lots of fish, there are some guidelines to be aware of:
- Limit yourself to two portions of fresh oily fish a week. Oily fish includes salmon, mackerel, and fresh tuna.
- Canned tuna is not classed as an oily fish, so you can have as much as you like.
How much water do I need to drink when breastfeeding?
As your body is 80% water I tell all my clients who are exercising to aim for 1 litre per 50lbs of bodyweight which equates to 3-4 litres a day. When breastfeeding you will be more thirsty, so drink before you get thirsty and always carry a water bottle with you. Your body is very good at keeping your milk supply going, however much or little you drink. So don’t worry that your baby will miss out if you suddenly get thirsty. It’s about keeping yourself comfortably hydrated.
Remember your body knows how much water it needs, so always check the colour of your wee if you are unsure about staying hydrated. If you’re worried about whether you’re getting enough to drink, check the colour of your wee. If it’s pale-coloured, you’re getting plenty to drink. If it’s dark yellow, or smells strongly, or if you feel lethargic or faint, you should be concerned as you may be dehydrated in which case you should up the water.
How many calories do I need when I am breastfeeding?
Unless you are exercising and need to refuel after your workouts, you don’t need to have extra calories as a new mum, because your body is so used to producing milk. So don’t go out and buy an extra packet of biscuits or go nuts on the protein shakes. Listen to your body, eat at regular intervals and be guided by your feeds. Eat breakfast like a king and supper like a pauper. Your body will want to lay down fat stores called lypogenic enzymes during pregnancy to help you get through breastfeeding. Don’t worry when breastfeeding your baby, it can help to convert these fat stores into energy for making quality milk for your baby. There’s so much conflicting advice out there about extra calories when you’re breastfeeding. You just need to listen to your body as it depends on:
- How heavy you were pre-pregnancy
- How heavy you are now
- How active or inactive you are now
But nevertheless, when you breastfeed, it usually gives you a big appetite anyway as you pump in the day and night.
How much weight can I lose whilst I’m breastfeeding?
Don’t beat yourself up, you’ll soon drop the weight. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the time with your baby and with the right timing, nutrition and training and guidance by a decent trainer, you should be fine to lose weight in no time. If you drop 1-2lbs a week, Losing about 500g (1lb) to 1kg (2lb) a week shouldn’t affect the amount or the quality of milk you make. Don’t forget to wait until you are ready to embark on a new exercise plan and always get the nod from your GP which is normally around 6 weeks post birth. Then you can discuss the best approach to start exercising, but don’t overdo it. Bare in mind you will have to keep up your strength and energy as a new MOMMA. Trying to do too much too soon after childbirth may slow your recovery and do more damage.
What about tea and coffee?
Try not to reach for the Red Bull when you are breastfeeding! Keep your caffeine levels to a minimum and aim for no more than 300mg a day. Opt for decaf and go for herbal teas too when you are running around getting the chores done.
Look after your liver
You only have one crack at breastfeeding so my advice is to give your baby its best chance and limit alcohol during the first 3 months. Limit to 2 units of booze a week otherwise it could harm your baby. Remember your baby’s tummy is tiny and will need regular feeds, so a few glasses of wine before a night feed isn’t a good idea. The amount of alcohol in your blood peaks between 30 minutes and 90 minutes after you have a drink. If your baby is feeding often, there won’t be enough time between feeds for the alcohol to clear from your system. So look after you and your baby’s liver and stay off the pop!
Which supplements should I take if I’m breastfeeding?
Take a daily dose of vitamin D with calcium to help strengthen your bones and help keep your teeth healthy. In winter go for 4000-6000IU a day and in summer go for 2-4000IU a day. Take a fish oil along with a greens drink to keep up your energy levels and give your immune system a boost! Alfalfa, barley grass and wheatgrass is so good for you!
Jamie Lloyd is an award winning Fit Pro, Health and Fitness Writer and Massage Therapist. Jamie is based in SW London and specialises in helping mums get their bodies back after childbirth. He is available for Personal Coaching, Nutrition Coaching and Massage Therapy.