What should I eat or not eat now that I am going to breastfeed? If you are asking yourself this question, then you are not alone.
Breastfeeding is an important choice, and you want to make sure you are doing it right.
Good news! As long as you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and get the recommended calories per day, you will probably have no problems with the nutritional part of nursing.
The following are some recommendations on foods that a nursing mom should eat or avoid to address the most common issues with breastfed babies: milk supply, sleeplessness, abnormal bowel movements, gas and colic.
Foods To Eat To Boost Milk Supply
If you are new to breastfeeding, then you may be worried about whether or not you are able to make enough milk. Luckily, most moms make just the right amount for their babies. But sometimes you may need a little extra, especially if you are feeding multiples or you want to build up a stockpile of frozen milk.
For centuries women have been trying different foods to see if anything helped increase milk production. Today, these foods are widely accepted as beneficial to nursing moms: oats, fatty fish, carrots, fenugreek and apricots.
You may want to avoid eating parsely or peppermint, since both these herbs are used to dry up milk during the weaning phase.
Foods That Can Help Baby Sleep Better
Babies sleep best when they are full and comfortable. To promote good sleep, be sure to eliminate foods that cause discomfort and foods that contain caffeine before sleep times.
Breastfed babies typically sleep well when they have had plenty of rich hindmilk. Moms who make too much milk may have more of the thinner foremilk, and baby will fill up on this before he ever reaches the creamy “food” milk. The result is that he wakes up hungry again in a short time.
To ensure that baby gets more hindmilk, you can express milk before nursing, or nurse only one side at a time.
Foods To Help Baby With Pooping
According to some medical experts, what a mother eats will have no impact on her baby’s bowel movements.
If baby is constipated, then its likely that he has not been nursing enough, or is getting more of the fatty hindmilk than the thinner foremilk (this can happen if mom expresses or pumps before nursing, which is sometimes recommended for low-birthweight babies.)
If he has loose, frequent bowel movements, he may be getting too much foremilk, which can also cause gassiness.
Despite this theory, many women swear that changing their diet helped relieve constipation in their breastfed babies. Foods that relieve constipation recommended by other nursing moms are: apple juice, prunes, olive oil, barley, apricots, peaches, plums, pears and spinach.
If your baby has diarrhea, what you don’t eat may be more important than what you do eat. Try eliminating spicy foods, dairy, eggs, bananas and chocolate for a day or two to see if your baby improves.
Alternatively, if your baby isn’t sensitive to rice, you might try eating this to help stop diarrhea in your nursing infant. Another bland, starchy food may be substituted (such as potatoes).
You might also want to pump before you nurse to allow your tired baby easier access to the rich hindmilk.
Foods To Avoid To Prevent Gas In Babies
Gassy babies are no fun, and no mom likes to see her little one in pain. Although some gas is normal in babies, an excessive amount can cause discomfort.
A common cause of gas in babies is swallowing too much air while nursing. This happens if baby has a poor latch, if baby has a physical issue such as a lip-tie, or if mom has a strong let-down with lots of milk.
Some babies are also sensitive to certain foods that mom eats. Dairy is frequently to blame for gas in newborn babies. Other times, foods like soy, eggs, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage and onions can cause problems. If your baby seems to be fussier after YOU eat, you might try eliminating these foods for awhile.
Foods To Avoid To Help With Colic
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a colicky baby and a gassy baby. All you know is that they seem to have upset tummies. Colic is different than gas, and experts are not certain about its cause. It has been linked to lactose intolerance however, so once again, eliminating dairy from your diet may help improve a colicky baby.
Other foods that might cause problems include onions, hot peppers, broccoli and chocolate.
Before eliminating foods from your diet, you should talk to your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician to rule out other causes of distress. Keeping a food journal can help you and your doctor’s track which foods are okay and which ones may need to be eliminated from your diet for the duration of breastfeeding.