It is true that a pregnant woman needs to eat well throughout her pregnancy period but a nursing mother too needs a healthy diet.In fact, a nursing mother needs much more nutrition than a pregnant woman.
300 additional calories are required by a woman while pregnant whereas while nursing she needs an additional 550 calories.
So it is very important to consume a well balanced and healthy diet while nursing so that you can provide all the essential nutrients to your newborn. Some useful guidelines on diet for nursing mother have been given below.
Your baby depends entirely on your breast milk for nutrition. So postpone dieting for a few months and eat nutritious foods whenever you feel hungry. Nursing mothers feel very hungry so listen to your body and eat small meals frequently to fill your stomach.
If you make your body to starve, your baby will not get enough nutrition and may become the victim of malnutrition. Hence, avoid overeating but eat sufficient foods.
You must keep in your mind that whatever you eat goes to your baby through the breast milk. So if you consume spicy foods your baby will not like your breast milk and may become irritated after breast feeding. Hence, consume a non-spicy diet and consume plenty of green leafy vegetables, milk, and pulses.
Most part of water consumed by nursing mothers goes into the production of milk. Hence, drink sufficient water to fulfill your requirement. Daily intake of 2.5 to 3 quarts of water is considered sufficient for a breastfeeding mother. You can also make up this loss of fluid by consuming buttermilk, soups, milk, etc.
As a nursing mother you will need 1200mg of calcium each day. So consume foods that are high in calcium like milk, almonds, tofu, cheese, whole grains and leafy vegetables. If you are unable to obtain sufficient amount of calcium from your daily diet, then a supplement can be taken.
Your diet should include a variety of healthy foods so that you and your baby get all the vital nutrients. It is better to avoid tobacco and smoking as both of these unhealthy habits can significantly reduce milk production and also cause many problems in the baby like fussiness, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, etc. Also, restrict alcohol intake. Never consume alcohol prior to the breastfeeding session.