Breastfeeding Questions - Breastfeeding Diet
I would like to know if there is a diet that would help produce good breast milk and is there such a thing as poor breast milk due to the mothers diet?
I am a mother of 5 boys, aged 14, 13, 6, 2 and 9 days. I have breast feed all boys but only for a few weeks after finding it hard to keep my weight up and not fall to 7 stone. I am currently 10st so this time I have the advantage of not being under-weight.
I don't want to give up this time but I am already finding it hard as I'm not sure how much and what food I should be eating and drinking.
Your help would be appreciated. Many thanks!
Firstly many congratulations on your new arrival! You are brave, going for a fifth one!
Regarding your diet, the best advice is to eat when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty. I was permanently starving and dying of thirst in the first few weeks. You will lose weight when you are breastfeeding as you are burning off the extra weight you put on during pregnancy in preparation for breastfeeding! So don't worry too much about weight loss. Regardless of your weight loss you should still be able to breastfeed successfully. Do not diet as you will lose the baby weight simply by breastfeeding.
If you are feeding on demand your baby will always be getting enough milk. As long as he has plenty of wet nappies, he will be getting a sufficient supply of milk.
Breastfeeding is difficult for the first few weeks but it gets easier over time. Especially once baby is on solid food at around six months. If he is feeding constantly he may be going through a growth spurt. He will feed endlessly for a couple of days and then things will settle down again. Breastmilk is made on a supply and demand basis. The more he feeds, the more milk your body will produce.
Try to eat a balanced diet, plenty of fruit and vegetables. Iron is essential for production of milk and vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron. Both iron and vitamin C are found in leafy green vegetables. Citrus fruits such as oranges, or pure orange juice, also contain vitamin C. And blueberries are a great source too. Iron in red meat is easier for your body to absorb than that in vegetables so try to include some red meat in your diet. .
I always find it useful to have plenty of fresh fruit for snacking on instead of biscuits and crisps. And I always have a glass of water close to hand!
Avoid snacking on sweets and biscuits as they will satisfy your hunger quickly but your sugar levels will plummet afterwards. This can leave you lacking energy and feeling exhausted. Also, avoid drinks like cola, tea and coffee straight after a meal or during a meal as tanins, which give the drink its brown colour, interfere with iron absorbtion. Instead drink plenty of water. Also, the caffeine may agitate you and your baby so it is best avoided when breastfeeding, particularly in the evenings. But the odd cup of tea or coffee shouldn't really cause problems!
Although a healthy diet is important it is not essential for breastfeeding. Women in third world countries breastfeed. There is no such thing as bad breastmilk! But if you eat a healthy diet you will stay healthy yourself and your energy levels will remain more or less even.
Try to get plenty of rest. Not easy with 5 boys, I'm sure. But ask them to help out with chores or making you a sandwich. Also try to get out either by yourself or with the baby for a breath of fresh air every day. A brisk walk can be great!
Join a breastfeeding support group for advice and companionship of women in the same position as you. Your health-visitor should be able to tell you about local groups.
I hope this helps. However long you continue to breastfeed, try not to put to much pressure on yourself. Take it one feed at a time and one day at a time! By even giving just one breastfeed you are giving your new little boy a great start in life. Pat yourself on the back!
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