- Breastfeeding is extremely important for the newborn
- Breast milk is possibly the best nutritive option for the infant
- A host of factors influence breast milk production in women
Reams have been written and said about the importance of breastfeeding at least for the first 6 months of the infant's life. Breast milk is the most qualitative and highly nutritive food item for the newborn. Breastfeeding ensures optimum development and growth of the newborn and also protects against common ailments and infections like flu, cough, et cetera. While new mothers are usually able to lactate and produce enough breast milk for the child within few days after delivering, some new moms find it difficult to produce enough milk or may not be able to lactate at all. Experts suggest mental stress and physical exertion as some of the most important factors influencing breast milk production.
What a woman eats and the kind of lifestyle she leads during and post-pregnancy has a direct correlation to the health of the newborn as well as the quality of milk produced. Some of the most essential nutrients for new mothers would certainly include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, folate, fibre, Vitamin A, B, C, E, omega 3, phytonutrients among others.
A range of millets, whole grains and even lentils and legumes must be a regular part of your daily diet.
Green leafy veggies
Apart from including fresh fruits and veggies in your diet, you must not forget the greens. These are loaded with iron and other essential nutrients and will also provide your body with a fibre boost.
Nuts and seeds
Just a handful of these are enough for an instant energy fix. A new mother loses calories while breastfeeding and there is nothing like a dose of nuts and seeds to replenish lost energy. These are also packed with antioxidants and essential fats.
Dairy, poultry and seafood
Low fat milk, eggs, dairy products and seafood should also find a dedicated place in your diet.
There's nothing like hydration therapy. A breastfeeding woman loses close to 700ml of fluid every day in the form of breast milk. Green tea, coconut water, freshly squeezed juices are all extremely good for health. Avoid alcohol and strictly monitor your caffeine intake.
Stress Management is important
As stress has a direct correlation with your health and may also impact breast milk production, it is imperative to tackle stress efficiently. Pregnancy can be an overwhelming experience wherein a woman goes through myriad mental and physical changes. A proper support system may go a long way in ensuring stress management by the expecting/new mother. Post-partum depression is a common condition affecting many new mothers across the globe. Apart from maintaining a healthy diet and indulging in regular physical activity, optimum care and support from the partner, friends, family as well as from the professional space can help the new mom manage her emotional health better. The importance of adequate sleep and rest should not be undermined.