The critical thing about being a breastfeeding mom is that your overall health is directly tied to the well-being of your infant. Your breast milk will have the same nutrients of whatever food you eat, but it will also have harmful substances from the stuff you intake like cigarettes and junk food. That is why it is essential that you refrain from vices, cultivate an active lifestyle, and keep a healthy diet when breastfeeding. Also, here’s a post on How To Keep Baby Awake During Breastfeeding.
As much as possible, you have to maintain or gain weight so you can supplement nutrients that your little one needs. A lot of moms are scared of this idea, but this is actually not something to be afraid of. Here, we’ll give you tips in formulating a breastfeeding diet plan to help you maintain or gain weight while you are nourishing your infant.
Dieting when Breastfeeding
The best way to keep your weight optimum is through food. And while planning your meals may sound easy enough to be done alone, this should still involve the opinion of a health professional like your family doctor or a nutritionist. Have your weight checked by your doctor, and then ask him or her for a meal plan that will help you gain your target weight. Your doctor should also be aware that you are lactating so that they could prescribe food supplements to ensure that you and your baby are getting the right types of nutrients in the right amount.
Of course, when a health professional determines that you are heavier than what is necessary, you may need to trim your calorie intake to help you lose weight while breastfeeding. In case this happens, you should not feel offended or attacked because your doctor or nutritionist only wants the best for both your health and your infants’.
You should stick to the meal plan prescribed to you religiously. Most likely, your doctor will prescribe a lot of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meat. While some of these may not taste good, you have to eat them anyway. For instance, you might be accustomed to eating cake or pastry for dessert, but since you are lactating, you will be asked to eat fresh fruits instead. Or, instead of having a chocolate spread on top of your toast, you will be asked to replace it with peanut butter because there is less sugar, fewer calories, and more protein in peanut butter.
This is a bit of a sacrifice, yes, but you can also look at it as a lifestyle change to benefit you and your baby. Limiting your diet to fresh and healthy food will help you in gaining weight and increase your breast milk supply.
What food to avoid while breastfeeding
The diet plan that your nutritionist will formulate for you will also list food items to avoid while you are lactating. Avoiding these food items is important in both gaining and losing weight while breastfeeding. Also, remember that the diet breastfeeding moms have should be strictly controlled and monitored to keep your little one safe.
For instance, alcohol and coffee are generally discouraged for lactating moms. Why? The alcohol and caffeine that stimulates you can reach your baby through breast milk and the effects of these substances on him or her can be undesirable, even detrimental. The same is true for chocolate, which contains the stimulant theobromine, so you can only eat minimal amounts of chocolate. Or, instead of eating chocolate spread with high-calorie content, you may consume peanut butter instead as a substitute.
Other food items to be wary of are cow’s milk and soy milk. These beverages have proteins that your little one may not be able to digest. For all you know, your infant might be lactose intolerant, and this means that the cow’s milk that you drink can possibly be bad for his tummy.
In general, food items that have high calorie and low nutrient levels such as junk food are strongly discouraged. It is not just about weight gain or weight loss. Take note that restricting the diet in breastfeeding settings is to done to supply your infant with the nutrients he needs through your breast milk supply.
Physical activity for lactating moms
Another important aspect of gaining weight is physical activity. Yes, exercises are not just for weight loss or for burning extra calories. Regular exercise is just as important as monitoring the calories that you need to eat per day because they can also help in weight gain. Besides, sweating releases hormones that improve your mood, and this is a good thing for your infant.
Experts recommend light to moderate exercises such as brisk walking, yoga, and exercises involving bodyweight as activities suitable for lactating women. These exercises can be done without going to the gym, so they are actually convenient. You can lose weight and burn those calories without going out of your home. Just make sure that you don’t overdo yourself because your safety is also your infant’s safety.
A frequent warning for lactating mothers who exercise is to get plenty of water. Physical activity, especially the high calorie burn exercises, causes you to respire more rapidly and sweat a lot. You have to intake water every now and then in order to prevent dehydration.
You might have this notion that exercising might make you lose weight, and therefore lead to depleting your breastmilk. Worry not, because physical activity will actually help you gain weight when done properly. That is why you should also seek the opinion of your doctor or nutritionist in crafting a workout routine for you.
Health is wealth!
Gaining weight is actually an easy process, You just have to follow a meal plan, count your calories, and exercise. The hard part is maintaining this lifestyle. However, no matter how hard it is, you have to do it because it helps you in breastfeeding your baby. Besides, keeping yourself healthy will also enable you to keep your little one healthy as well.