How To Eat And Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

There is no diet or any special diet for a breastfeeding mom. But this topic has many intimidating taboos: “Instead of rainbows on the plate – 50 shades of gray, no spices, more fresh fruits and vegetables, do not drink coffee, but drink tea with milk/condensed milk for lactation. The lactation diet is a relic of 80’s. Still, the diet of a breastfeeding woman is somewhat different.

Is a strict breastfeeding diet necessary for a healthy mom and baby? 

No. The food should be healthy and varied according to the Healthy Meal Plate principle. The main thing is variety. It is necessary to consume foods from all food groups: meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, berries, eggs, algae, dairy products, wholemeal products (cereals, bread, pasta), legumes, nuts, seeds and a sufficient water regime. This is the kind of diet that will keep mother and baby healthy.

What foods should be limited in a mother’s diet if the baby has colic? Potential allergens that increase gas: whole milk, coffee, chocolate, honey, white cabbage, broccoli, beans, lettuce. 

What to exclude from my mother’s diet if my baby is allergic to cow’s milk? Let me be clear, allergies, not lactose intolerance. Products with BMC (cow’s milk protein) and related: whole milk, cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour milk products, beef (cross reactions), goat’s milk (cross reactions).

If mom has food allergies. An elimination diet depending on the causative allergen. Don’t consume fish and meat – sources of essential amino acids plus omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t consume dairy – add seeds/greens or in calcium supplements 1200-1500mg. We need fish as a source of omega-Z (BHA and EPA), amino acid quality protein, vitamin B12 and D, iron and other minerals like zinc, iodine and selenium. All of these nutrients are essential, that is, necessary in the diet of adults and children, no matter what stage of life they are at. Essential fatty acids are necessary for the development of the child’s brain, and for women to prevent postpartum depression and reduce inflammation. The recommended amount of fish is 2-3 times a week. But can we guarantee that fish is free of heavy metals and other harmful compounds? ROA recommends completely limiting the consumption of shark meat, swordfish, mackerel, sea bass, king (large) mackerel, and tuna. Mercury accumulates in large saltwater fish.

There is little mercury in these foods: salmon, shrimp, sardines, herring, sea bass. Also be cautious about local freshwater fish. You must be sure it was grown under safe conditions.

Often women during the breastfeeding period really want “tasty junk food”. how to deal with it? Creating the conditions for enjoying food is the key to compliance with the recommendations. Avoid bans on certain foods, offer substitutions to improve the intake of useful nutrients and limit unhelpful ones. Prepare most meals in-house, limiting consumption of technically processed foods. 

What about exotic fruits? If a woman has not had food allergies to this product before. If a woman is trying a fruit for the first time, she should start with a small amount. I advise adhering to the seasonality and locality of vegetables, fruits and berries. The same applies to fresh berries in winter, the best choice will be in the direction of frozen berries.

Is it okay for a woman to drink alcohol during lactation? There is no safe dose of alcohol. If a woman has had a glass of wine, it is allowed, but it is possible to start feeding the child not earlier than 2 hours later. 

Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding? Caffeine is contained not only in coffee, but also in teas, dark chocolate, matcha and energy drinks. It passes from mother to baby in small amounts through breast milk, but usually does not have a negative effect if it is less than 300 mg per day, which is 2-3 cups of coffee. Irritability, poor sleep patterns, and agitation in the infant are possible – then it is recommended to reduce consumption. Premature and newborn babies are slower to break down caffeine, so mothers should limit the amount of coffee in their diet.

Does a woman need more calories while breastfeeding? Yes, plus 350-500 kcal more than before pregnancy and childbirth. It is possible to keep the daily caloric intake below 1,800 kcal, especially if you are overweight. Approximately 2,300 to 2,500 kcal per day for breastfeeding moms compared to 1,800 to 2,000 kcal per day for moderately active, non-pregnant women who are not breastfeeding. The number of extra calories is also affected by age, BMI, activity level, and degree of breastfeeding.

How can I lose weight quickly after giving birth? In the first months after childbirth, the average weight loss of a woman is 0.5-1 kg per month. But not everyone loses weight, it all depends on the eating habits and physical activity of the woman. It is undesirable to lose weight quickly (more than 2 kg per month). It is fraught with defects and violation of the hormonal background of a woman. DOES THE WOMAN’S NEED 

Do vitamins and minerals increase during pregnancy? Yes, on average by 1.5 times. The need for nutrients during lactation is higher than in pregnant and non-pregnant women. The recommended doses for some vitamins and minerals are higher in women during lactation than during pregnancy. For example, Vit. A – 44%, iodine – 93% more than the recommended daily allowance for non-pregnant women. Omega-3, folic acid, iron, vit. D, calcium, iodine in the form of a multivitamin and mineral complex during lactation as a nutritional support for women.

When should a woman start exercising after giving birth? It depends on whether she exercised before and during pregnancy, whether there is diastasis and other gynecological diseases. If there are no serious contraindications – 1.5 months after childbirth you can start with light exercises. It is better to feed the baby before the workout, because the amount of lactate that accumulates during the exercise can give a sour taste to the milk, and the baby does not like it.

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Author: Cheryl Gorman

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