The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that you breastfeed your baby for at least 6 months. It is even best to continue to breastfeed your child for up to 2 years in combination with supplementary food.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for your baby. To guarantee a good quality of breastfeeding, it is important to get healthy pregnancy food. You can read more about this in this article.
Health Benefits of Breastfeeding
Research shows that breastfeeding has many benefits for your baby, such as:
- The cuddle hormone oxytocin creates a closer bond between you and your baby.
- Your baby is less likely to suffer from diseases and certain infections, such as infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Your baby is probably less likely to develop asthma, obesity, and shortness of breath.
- Breastfeeding contains just the right amount of nutrients for your baby.
Breastfeeding also has several benefits for you. This reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure, rheumatism, and diabetes mellitus (diabetes).
You are also less likely to get various cancers. Moreover, it helps you to regain weight more easily after pregnancy.
How does breastfeeding come about?
The amount of breast milk that is produced is adjusted to your baby. If your baby drinks more often and more, more breast milk is automatically produced.
It is important to maintain good posture while breastfeeding to avoid complications. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work. Then you can ask for help from a lactation consultant.
If it doesn’t work, the formula is an option. However, the formula does not contain the immunoglobulins found in natural breast milk. Immunoglobulins are antibodies against infections.
Producing breast milk costs more calories. It requires a lot of energy and moisture. It is therefore important that you drink and eat more than before.
You must choose healthy foods. This way you ensure that your breast milk contains sufficient nutrients.
You may eat and drink more of the foods below.
- unsalted nuts
- Vegetarian products
- Whole grain bread
- Fat, such as low-fat margarine or margarine
- Fluid, including water, tea, or coffee (preferably decaffeinated coffee and tea)
Exactly how much nutrition and fluid you need differs per person. The amount of energy depends, among other things, on your degree of movement, height, weight, and muscle and fat mass distribution.
If you have more than one baby, you will need to eat and drink even more. If you want to know exactly what you need, you can ask a dietician for advice.
Dietary Supplements for Pregnancy
If you eat a varied diet, nutritional supplements are not necessary during breastfeeding. The following women should typically take a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms per day:
- Women who spend little time in the sun during the day.
- Women whose skin is covered.
- Women with dark (tinted) skin.
If it turns out that you have a serious deficiency of certain nutrients, the doctor can prescribe certain vitamins or minerals. Otherwise, good pregnancy supplements can be an effective aid.
Foods to Limit or Avoid
Just like during pregnancy, certain foods should be limited or avoided during the breastfeeding period. Read on to find out which products are best for you to limit. In addition, I will discuss a few products that it is better to eliminate from your diet during breastfeeding.
Products to be restricted
The foods listed below should be limited, due to possible toxins in the foods.
Oily fish: Limit this to no more than two servings per week. Fatty fish is the best choice as they are healthier than lean fish. There are small amounts of harmful dioxins in oily fish. Some fish species also contain an increased content of heavy metals. Given the dose that is in two servings per week, it is not harmful to your baby.
Tea and coffee: Caffeine can make your child restless.
Avoid these products while breastfeeding
However, it is still good to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a varied diet.
Ideally, eliminate the following from your diet while breastfeeding:
Alcohol: It is best to avoid alcohol while breastfeeding. The harmful substances in alcohol end up in breast milk. If you do want to drink, you can take a maximum of 1 glass after you have breastfed. After drinking, you should wait 3 hours before breastfeeding. After that, the alcohol has disappeared from your breast milk. It takes three hours per standard glass of alcohol for the alcohol to leave your breast milk.
Certain herbs, fennel, and anise: Some herbs – such as aloe, senna, and kava – contain plant toxins that are harmful to your baby. It is also better to avoid fennel and anise.
Although you will gradually lose weight from breastfeeding, it is important not to consciously diet while giving natural breast milk to your little one. This can ensure that your baby does not get enough nutrients. It can also lead to a nutrient deficiency in yourself.