What Should Breastfeeding Mothers Eat?

Q: Hi. I am breastfeeding my son still, and he is almost six months old. I am planning to breastfeed him as long as he wants to up to the age of two, however, I have a fast metabolism, am fairly thin and dont have a humongous appetite to eat 500 more calories a day. Piper though, is a big boy and demands the breast a lot. Some days, I am feeling wiped out because I feel like he has drained everything out of me! I am concerned about my calcium levels, and I dont want to have nutrition problems myself because I choose to breastfeed. What are the absolute best foods you know of for breastfeeding mothers to eat?? and drinks too??
Thank you so much!

A: Firstly I just want to commend you on breastfeeding your son - it is a wonderful gift of health. Now your concern is that you don't want to deplete yourself while continuing to breastfeed which is definitely important. So in your case I would recommend that you include high nutrient and high calorie foods such as raw nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts) and their nut butters and seeds (sesame and  sunflower)  which all are great sources of calcium.  Also include foods such as avocados, eggs, bananas, mangoes, legumes, and good quality meat and poultry (naturally raised). A good quality whole grain cereal - Nature's Path makes some good ones - is also an easy and healthy way to start the day. Use good quality oils liberally such as cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil for making foods. And add walnut oil, flax seed oil or hemp oil to salads - these all have Omega 3's which are critical for both you and baby. Leafy green vegetables and broccoli are also great sources of calcium.

Also consider making a protein shake. Start with a good quality protein powder (no artificial sweeteners or sugar, look for ones sweetened with Stevia)  and mix in plain yogurt, berries or bananas, real maple syrup, and a milk or milk alternative such as almond milk. And another thing you may want to consider is juicing - but I would suggest doing 85% vegetable juice and therefore less fruit so as not to overdo the sugar. You can juice with carrots, celery, beets, cucumber,  tomatoes,  and  apples. And anything else you want to add. Make sure you are properly hydrated - lots of water - to keep milk production up.

By Lilian Presti| March 27, 2009
Categories:  Nest

About the Author

Lilian Presti

Lilian Presti

Lilian is a registered holistic nutritionist who has worked in the nutrition and corporate wellness fields for the over a decade. She teaches pediatric nutrition, delivers corporate and public nutrition seminars, runs a weight-loss program, does one-on-one nutritional counseling and writes on nutrition and wellness topics. Since having her son Noa, Lilian has taken a keen interest in educating mom’s to be and new parents about proper nutrition during these special periods. Lilian has been featured in Elle Magazine, Flare, Today’s Bride and The Weekly Scoop, MSN/Sympatico’s Weight Loss Challenge and appeared on City TV.

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