Sometimes mothers have health conditions that prevent them from breastfeeding or simply choose the inclination to breastfeed their babies.
Breastfeeding is associated with important health benefits for both the baby and the mother. It doesn’t usually require a special, ideal diet to stick to breastfeeding, but the Lansinoh breastfeeding and diet experts reveal that there are foods that breastfeeding mothers should avoid to keep their babies safe and healthy.
The NHS recommends eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, a healthy mix of starchy foods, fibre, protein and dairy products, and plenty of fluids.
This will help provide the body with the right vitamins and minerals for the mother and the baby.
Experts suggest that while breastfeeding, mothers should get an extra 300 to 400 calories a day to ensure they have enough energy to produce milk.
3 Foods and Drinks to Avoid While Breastfeeding
According to experts, there is no need for mothers to be too restrictive when it comes to their diet when breastfeeding. However, there are three foods to avoid, namely:
You should not eat more than two servings of oily fish (such as fresh tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout) per week, as they contain high levels of mercury, which can damage a child’s nervous system.
Excessive caffeine intake during breastfeeding can keep the baby awake, or make him unusually picky, so it is best to limit the number of caffeinated drinks (not only tea and coffee but also energy drinks).
Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine, and chocolate contains theobromine, which can also produce the same effects as caffeine.
Alcohol passes to breastfed babies in very small amounts, and an occasional drink isn’t likely to harm the baby.
However, it makes sense to avoid drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
It is essential that mothers pay attention to the amount of water they drink while breastfeeding.
And if they notice that breast milk production decreases along with tiredness and dark urine, this is a sign of dehydration.
Experts say: “Lactating women often feel thirsty and dehydrated due to the secretion of breast milk, so make sure to drink enough fluids. Water, milk and unsweetened fruit juice are good options.”
Experts advise mothers to focus on incorporating docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin D and choline into their diet to obtain the necessary nutrients for the body.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and eyes and supports healthy infant growth and development.
The experts explained: “Recent research indicates that DHA may play a role in reducing the development of food allergies in childhood, such as eggs and peanuts.”
In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that eating enough omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the incidence of asthma in children. Some research also reveals a link between DHA levels and better sleep.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous, supports healthy bone development in children and plays a role in immune health.