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Diet dos and don'ts for breastfeeding

Diet dos and don'ts for breastfeeding

Breastmilk is your baby's superfood, supplying all the necessary nutrients for development of a healthy little mind and body. But producing breastmilk takes something like 3-4000 kilojoules every day. Around half of that is sourced from the extra fat your body has stored during pregnancy (helping you to return to your pre-baby body weight), but the other half should come from a variety of wholesome and nutritious snacks. Here are the dos and don'ts.

  • DO keep up your fluids Many breastfeeding mothers get thirsty during and after breastfeeds. Try to get in the habit of sitting down with a glass of water beside you at feed times. Overall, you'll probably need about half a litre more than usual, so aim at consuming around 2 litres of fluids a day, predominantly water.
  • DO eat healthy snacks Take your pick of things such as wholegrain toast spread with avocado or tahini, a tub of yoghurt, fresh fruit, non-sugary breakfast cereals with milk, a handful of nuts and seeds, cheese and biscuits or a platter of freshly cut vegies with a hummus or tzatziki dip.
  • DON'T succumb to junk food Stay away from snack foods such as chips, lollies, pastries, cakes and sweet biscuits. These high-fat, high-sugar treats might offer a quick hunger rescue, but they tend to be low in nutrients.
  • DO replenish your stores of iron Pregnancy is a big drain on your body's iron stores and, after birth, it's important to rebuild those reserves. Include plenty of legumes and lentils, nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, as well as red meat, chicken and fish in your diet.
  • DON'T drink alcohol before feeding The occasional glass of wine or beer is fine even for breastfeeding mothers, but be careful to time your drink so that it comes after a feed rather than before. Remember that it will take around two hours for the alcohol you consume to pass through your system.
  • DON'T drink lots of caffeine Caffeine, like alcohol, passes from your system into the breastmilk you produce for your baby. Newborns are particularly susceptible as they metabolise caffeine very slowly, meaning that caffeine can hang around in their systems for a long time. You don't have to give up caffeine altogether, but do try to limit your intake of coffee, tea, energy drinks and cola drinks.
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