You have just had a new baby and you are interested in replenishing your body with healthy, nutritious food. If you are breastfeeding, there are certain foods you will want to eat to ensure that your baby gets proper nutrients. There are many choices, some of which have made their way from your supermarket onto your shelves and into your refrigerator. As you take stock of the these foods, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. There is no such thing as one perfect food, and that is why new moms need to eat many different foods which contain different nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Salmon is considered to be a near-perfect food for new moms who are breastfeeding. It contains DHA, which is important in the formation and development of your baby’s neurological system. The omega-3 fatty acids are good for baby’s developing brain and eyesight as well. Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for the heart and circulatory systems. Wild salmon from the north pacific or Alaska is an especially good choice, as it is low in cancer causing contaminants and mercury. You do not need to eat it every day, but three to four times a month is sufficient.
Low-fat dairy products are loaded with calcium, which is important for baby’s bone development. You want to be sure you are getting enough calcium yourself, so eat plenty of yogurt and cheese and drink milk if you can. If you have access to it, organic milk is a very healthy option. These dairy foods also contain vitamins D and B, which are essential, and two to three servings a day are optimal.
Spinach and leafy greens are very nutritious vegetables which contain some essentials for new moms. Spinach contains folic acid and manganese. Folic acid is extremely important, as it helps with the production of new blood cells. Manganese is an important mineral which helps development of bone and cartilage which is important if one has had a C-section. Leafy greens contain vitamin A, vitamin C and iron. Vegetables such as these are healthy antioxidants and do not have high calorie counts. Organic options are the best choice, and leafy greens can be eaten several times a week if you choose.
Legumes or beans, especially the dark-colored ones like black beans and kidney beans are great for breastfeeding moms and especially for vegetarians. They are rich in iron, and are a budget-friendly source of high quality, non-animal protein.
Enriched whole-grain breads and pastas are fortified with folic acid as well as essential fiber. It is recommended that a new mother incorporates whole-grains like brown rice into her diet to help maintain healthy energy levels. Foods like brown rice provide the calories the body needs to produce the best quality milk for your baby. A healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereal or oatmeal is also beneficial. Many bowls of cereal are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you meet your daily requirements.
Fruits which contain vitamin C are a great source of nutrients for new and breastfeeding moms. Oranges, raspberries, kale, tomatoes and natural or organic fruit juices are optimal in that they contain vitamin C, which is important for healing and well-being.
High quality filtered water is essential for good health. Clean water hydrates the body and flushes out toxins. Dehydration can drain your energy and sap your strength, so to keep energy levels and milk production up, new moms should stay well hydrated. Juices and milk are fine to drink as well, but be sure to limit intake of caffeinated coffees and teas as the caffeine may cause baby some irritation and loss of sleep.
Healthy snacking is a must. Hummus with veggies, whole grain crackers or tortilla chips is a satisfying snack. Nuts like walnuts and almonds are great to snack on, as are a handful of sunflower seeds. A piece of fruit with a couple of slices of low-fat cheese is optimal. Peanut, hazelnut or almond butters on apple slices are a yummy and refreshing snack. A cup of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk or almond milk is a great boost as well.
The key for new moms whether you are breastfeeding or not is to get plenty of the proper nutrition, eat a variety of organic and whole foods and drink plenty of fresh water, preferably filtered. Keep a moderate and nutritional balance, stay healthy, and enjoy the new addition to your family!