What Should I Be Eating?: How to Create a Breastfeeding Meal Plan
These days, motherhood can feel like it's more complicated than it should be. There are dozens of choices for new mothers to make for their children every single day. Plus, such decisions begin the moment you find out you're having a baby.
For example, you've likely heard how important it is to watch your diet when you're breastfeeding. The things you eat or drink while producing milk can have dramatic effects on the substance.
It's understandable to find limitations on your diet to be intimidating. Before you throw in the towel on breastfeeding altogether, though, consider this. Experts suggest that breastfed babies survive at a rate of 6x more than babies who are never breastfed.
That's why it's crucial to take breastfeeding seriously. The good news is that you've come to the right place by reading this article. Detailed below is the ultimate breastfeeding meal plan for you to consider.
Don't Focus on Losing Baby Weight While Breastfeeding
This is, perhaps, one of the most important things to remember when it comes to your ideal breastfeeding meal plan. It's true that the first thing you might want to focus on is losing all of that baby weight you gained. Consider, though, that it might be too taxing on your milk production.
Women who are nursing need a few hundred more daily calories than women who aren't. They are feeding two people, after all. If you start restricting your meals to get that weight back down, your milk production might not be giving your baby the ideal amount of vitamins and nutrients.
That's why it's essential to do your research about maintaining a proper diet for milk production. Studies show that these days, eight out of ten women throughout the United States breastfeed their newborns. Breastfeeding has obvious popularity, so don't underestimate these factors you need to consider to participate.
Your Overall Physical Health and Wellness Can Affect Your Milk Production
Instead of focusing on losing weight, you should focus on maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Both your physical and your mental health play essential roles in your recovery from birth. Be patient, and give yourself the time to recover at your body's own pace.
As soon as you can, though, it's a good idea to get active again. Boosting your healthy eating habits with exercise is a great way to ensure your higher caloric intake doesn't go to waste.
You should also do your best, as tough as it is with an infant in the house, to get plenty of sleep every night. You should also make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and focused. A healthy mom will produce a healthy amount of milk for her baby, after all.
Find Your Favorite Foods That Naturally Boost Milk Production
You might consider yourself a picky eater, but that's okay. There are plenty of dietary lifestyles that nursing mothers can take advantage of. In fact, some of the best foods for milk production can simply be used as flavors for other staple meals.
It's up to you, though, to do your research and get creative. Some of the easiest foods to work with that are great for your milk production are spinach, carrots, and garlic (believe it or not). These are popular items, but there are many more you can make use of.
To start, check out our list of twelve foods that are perfect for enhancing your milk production when nursing. Then, start thinking about what kind of meals you would love to enjoy that would use those ingredients.
Manage Eating Healthy By Planning Ahead
Of course, as the mother of a newborn, it won't feel like you have a ton of time to prepare all these super healthy meals for yourself. Well, don't get overwhelmed too soon. If you plan ahead, you can make eating healthy a lot easier to manage.
Many mothers of newborns are successful with healthy eating habits when they plan by the week. Over the weekend, for example, take the time to plan each meal throughout the upcoming week.
What meals with the ideal foods for milk production are you interested in trying? What foods have you been craving, in particular? If you have had these cravings, don't be afraid to listen to them.
Planning, though, is more than about counting calories and having everything in perfect order. Consider whether you have upcoming traveling plans for you and your baby. It's common knowledge that breastfeeding while traveling can be rather difficult, which is why planning a proper meal plan can be so crucial.
Your Breastfeeding Plan Doesn't Have to Be Too Strict
As important as it is to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle when breastfeeding, don't be too hard on yourself. It's okay to "cheat" on your diet now and then. Everything, of course, should be considered within a reasonable moderation.
For example, it's not advisable to drink alcohol on a regular basis while breastfeeding. Instead, restrict yourself to a glass of wine here and there that won't affect your milk production.
The same self-control should be applied to caffeine, too. Don't go back to drinking your daily three cups of coffee. It's okay to have a sweet tea on a Saturday afternoon every once in a while, though.
Plus, as sensible as it is to plan each meal ahead of time, don't be afraid to snack here and there. In fact, we put together a list of healthy and simple breastfeeding snacks that a mom like you should definitely know about, and of course there's always Milkful bars that we pack with nutrients you and your baby need during breastfeeding.
The idea for your breastfeeding meal plan is not to be too controlling about your diet or counting calories, for instance. Sure, avoid living solely off of pastries and sweets. Instead, focus on certain foods, vitamins, and minerals that you want in your breastfeeding diet.
Vitamin D and the Sun
One important vitamin to consider is Vitamin D, which we usually get from the sun. During the winter, though, neither you nor your baby will be spending a lot of time in the sunshine. That's when you need to make sure you're both supplementing your diet with this crucial vitamin.
You can find Vitamin D in many fatty foods such as margarine or eggs. Some fatty fish are also great sources of Vitamin D, too.
Calcium for Strong Bones - for You and Your Baby
You should also think about making sure your baby's bones grow up to be healthy and strong. In other words, don't forget about maintaining high levels of calcium in your breastfeeding meal plan.
You know that calcium is found in dairy products of all kinds. In addition, think about eating lots of green vegetables and nuts on a regular basis. Calcium is one of the most ideal nutrients you should remember when breastfeeding your sweet newborn baby.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Don't forget about the essential, nutritional Omega 3 fatty acid. Omega 3 has been found to be beneficial to brain development, so you want to make sure you get enough of it while breastfeeding.
It's true that nursing mothers should try to limit the amount of oily fish they consumer. Some fatty fish like sardines and salmon, though, are safer for breastfeeding mothers. You can even find it in walnuts or flax seeds.
The good news is that these fish have high sources of the Omega 3 your baby will surely profit from. It's just one of the many vitamins, minerals, and healthy substances that your baby deserves to use while developing.
Keep Your Doctor Well-Informed Throughout Your Breastfeeding Meal Plan
During the first few years of your baby's life, you'll both be visiting the doctor on a fairly consistent schedule. As you do, make sure you keep him or her informed of all your new healthy habits.
After all, your doctor might be able to give you even better advice for your particular dietary needs. Don't be afraid, then, to ask plenty of questions about the ideal breastfeeding meal plan for you and your baby.
Invest in Your Ultimate Breastfeeding Meal Plan
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what it takes to develop a proper breastfeeding meal plan. Your baby needs to have his or her nutritional needs met from day one. That's why it's essential to make the most of what you consume during this time.
The great thing is that if you're creative enough, your breastfeeding diet doesn't have to be an unpleasant one. In fact, that's where we can come into play. We know how crucial it is to ensure infants start their lives as healthy as possible.