Eating Well for Breastfeeding
Breast milk provides your baby with all or some of their nutritional needs. So, it is normal to wonder whether you need to change your own diet in order to optimise this.
As part of breastfeeding awareness week our lead dietitian Kirsten Jackson has put together some simple guidance for you to follow. The below article covers the fundamental elements of a good diet for breast feeding.
What Type of Diet Is Needed for Breast Feeding?
When breastfeeding, you do not need a ‘special diet.’ It is recommended that you follow just a normal healthy, balanced diet.
A healthy balanced diet should include the following categories;
- Protein e.g. beans, pulses, eggs, meat or fish
- Fruit and vegetables
- Healthy fats e.g. olive oil, nuts, avocado or oily fish
- Whole grains e.g. oats, quinoa and whole-meal bread
The rates of vitamin D deficiency are high in the UAE. You may therefore require a supplement whilst breast feeding.
When you are breast feeding, your calcium requirements increase to 1250mg / day.
It is quite difficult to achieve this amount through diet alone. Failure to get enough calcium regularly can result in your own bone health being put at risk. This is because your breast milk contains a lot of calcium which it will then take from your own bones.
Calcium content of foods;
- 200mls milk – 240mg
- 200mls Fortified plant-based milk – 240mg
- 120g yoghurt – 200mg
- 85g Broccoli – 34mg
Breastfeeding Burns Extra Calories
One of the benefits of breast feeding is that it burns 300 – 500 calories extra per day. This means it can help you lose the weight that you gained during pregnancy.
Most people should not eat additional food to meet this extra calorie need. Instead, your body will use the fat stores gained during pregnancy to match your increased energy need.
If you have a low body weight, please consult a dietitian for further information on this.
The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology recommends that it is safest to avoid alcohol intake whilst breastfeeding.
Caffeine intake may harm your baby so limit your intake to no more than 200mg / day.
- 1 mug of instant coffee = 100mg
- 1 mug of filter coffee = 140mg
- 1 small coffee shop latte = 150mg
- 1 mug of tea = 75mg
- 1 can of cola = 40mg
You may have heard that you should avoid peanuts whilst breast feeding. This is a myth.
Research shows that this has no effect on whether your baby develops an allergy or not. If you are concerned about your baby having a food allergy, please speak to a specialist paediatrician.
For the most part, you do not need to make any changes to your diet, just eating a healthy balanced diet is all you need to do.
There are some specific micronutrients that may need supplementing (vitamin D and calcium). However, this is individual so please seek advice as needed.
Also be aware of myths which could lead you to avoid foods unnecessarily.
If in doubt – seek professional advice, tailored to you from a registered dietitian.
Do You Require Further Help?
Our lead dietitian Kirsten Jackson has a post-graduate qualification in pre and post-natal nutrition advice.You can book in to see her for a 121 session at either our Marina Clinic on Saturdays or Sunday – Thursday at our Dubai Hills Hospital.
We also proud to announce our new Healthy Mums Package which is a 3-month nutrition package designed for busy mums. The package includes 5 consultations with our dietitian, as well as weekly email check-ins to keep you on track.
Contact us on 04 519 9999 to book an appointment