Breastfeeding and Nutrition

For those of you who haven’t heard, I had a beautiful, healthy baby girl two and a half months ago! Now it was not necessarily smooth sailing as there were several obstacles (morning sickness, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, food poisoning[pasta sauce of all things], low blood platelets, the list does not stop there..), but my biggest challenge has been keeping up with good eating habits post baby.

Nutrition isn’t a subject that gets brought up very often after you have your baby but we get lectured while we are pregnant about what not to eat, how many calories to consume, etc., but no one talks about how we need more calories while breastfeeding or how to make sure we are getting quality nutrients from our food. Who has time to think about eating now! I’m pretty conscious about what I eat, of course I am, it’s my job! But even I’m guilty of running down the street to pick up something instead of making a meal, or making whatever is convenient without thinking of its nutrient value. There has even been days when I’ve had to stop and think if I’ve eaten a vegetable at all!

We forget that we need to look after ourselves. The laundry can wait, your hubby can do the vacuuming. Those things can wait! You need to fuel yourself or you won’t have the energy to keep up to your growing baby. Just remember, what ever you eat, the baby gets. If you’re eating food that contains no quality nutrition, then your baby is getting nothing out of it and neither are you, except now, if you’re breastfeeding, you lose even more nutrients because your beautiful little one is taking all of the nutrients it can from you and you’re not replacing them.

So how do we make sure we are getting the proper nutrition:

We need upwards of 500 extra calories a day while breastfeeding. Amp up your meals to get more calories at once. I put 3/4 cup of greek yogurt on my cereal in the morning for an extra 200 cals. or throw an avocado on top of eggs for a boost.
– Breast milk is typically low in vitamin C, vitamin D, and Iron. Make sure you’re getting fresh fruit, eggs, fish, leafy greens and mushrooms in your diet to provide these nutrients.
-Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink lots of water..need I say more.
-Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Proteins are the building blocks for amino acids and muscle building. Aim for 70g of protein daily. Nuts and seeds, greek yogurt, or cheese as a snack, pair your fruit with nut butter, try vegetarian options; chia seeds, beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
-Eat organic as much as possible
-Try to make a smoothie each day. You can pack a lot of nutrition into one of those, just watch the sugar intake. Try a water or almond milk base, handful of berries, 1 cup of spinach, tbsp of greek yogurt, tbsp of flax or chia seeds, scoop of protein powder if you wish for more protein.
-Omega 3 helps with brain development. Sources; fish, nuts and seeds, chia and flax, eggs.
-Make snacks accessible; Keep granola bars in the diaper bag, place an apple and a bag of nuts by your favorite chair, cut cheese into cubes, have a bag of veggies already washed and cut in the fridge or buy them that way. 
– Avoid; caffeine and sugar – trace amounts get through to the baby and sugar and cause thrush in your little one. Raw broccoli and cauliflower can cause gas in your baby so keep an eye out. Notice eczema on their skin – try cutting out dairy and possibly wheat in your diet, those seem to be the biggest triggers for skin issues. 
Keep a food journal of everything you eat and how your baby reacts, see if you can notice a pattern!

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About Hannah Pidgeon, RHN

Graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2011. Consulting in Charlottetown, PEI. Mama to a beautiful baby girl.
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2 Responses to Breastfeeding and Nutrition

  1. Peter Pidgeon says:

    Excellent Hannah well said Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015 14:10:29 +0000 To: pcpidgeon@hotmail.com

  2. Kelsey says:

    Great tips for all the Mamas out there, Hannah!
    I think it’s so important that you wrote about this subject. I experienced similar troubles post-pregnancy – my whole life and schedule was instantly changed the day my daughter arrived, and it was very easy to get away from healthy habits. I like how you put it: “Whatever you eat, the baby gets”. That is what snapped me out of it!

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