Breastfeeding may provide your baby with the best possible start in life. However, it can be a real drain on your body. As a result, you may have some special nutritional needs during the duration of breastfeeding. One of the major concerns of moms after delivery is weight loss. Scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers tend to lose weight faster than mothers who choose to bottle feed and stick to a low calorie diet. If you are considering weight loss while you are breastfeeding, though, there are a few important things to remember. First, you should wait to start a weight loss program until you have been breastfeeding for at least two months. The first two months of breastfeeding are crucial to getting your relationship off to a good start with your baby. If you try to lose weight, your body may not be able to produce the milk you need to feed your baby. You will need to consume at least fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred calories each day while breastfeeding. The composition of your diet doesn’t really matter, but eating healthier is better, because then you will not have to dip into your body’s own reserves to create a good nutritional balance for your child. Be sure that you eat when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty while feeding. Also, be sure to consult your doctor before you start any weight loss program.
Ideally, you should eat a varied, balanced diet. Your food choices should be nutrient rich. Be sure to eat lots of foods that contain protein and calcium. You should also consume as many liquids as possible, as breastfeeding is a serious cause of dehydration in nursing mothers. In addition to your normal three meals each day, you will probably want to add some snacks to your diet, as you may find yourself hungry quite frequently. Remember that breastfeeding alone can burn up to seven hundred calories per day, so if you find yourself hungry, be sure to eat. Some snacks that might be good for both you and your baby include whole wheat bagels with cream cheese, fruit salad, yogurt, granola, fruit breads like banana nut bread, milkshakes enriched with fruit, and trail mix.
If you are on a special diet, like a vegetarian or vegan diet, you may want to pay careful attention to your food intake. You need to eat a variety of proteins to help your milk supply. Foods like legumes should help with this. You also need to pay special attention to how much Vitamin B you are including in your diet. Fortified soy milk and fortified yeast are excellent choices. If you are concerned about the effects of your diet on your milk, it is best to discuss your concerns with a lactation consultant. Your pediatrician can refer you to a good lactation consultant.
Remember that your nutrition while you are breastfeeding is just as important as it was while you were pregnant. Take good care of your body. Your baby needs it now more than ever.