No special diet is required, just organize what you eat to ensure that your milk only provides nutrients that benefit your baby’s growth.
Above all, follow a balanced diet. Just like you, your body is amazing! It has proved that over these nine months during which your baby grew. And rest assured, it will continue to help you give him or her the best. You have been preparing for nursing since the start of your pregnancy and your milk will certainly be of good quality.
In order to give nature a helping hand, simply ensure you follow a healthy, balanced diet:
On the menu: Five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, four dairy products, cereals (bread, pasta, rice) or legumes at each meal, as well as proteins (meat, fish, eggs). And do not forget to stay well hydrated either, without overdoing it: water is essential for your body but drinking more than 1.5l to 2l per day will not increase your milk production!
Eat everything but... While nursing, you can eat everything but in reasonable amounts, doubling portions will not have any greater impact on the quality of your milk. However, as part of the food you eat has an impact on the composition of breastmilk (fats and vitamins), always try to eat a healthy, balanced diet with the majority of your food being vegetables, fruit and high quality protein.
And limit, or even better, do without caffeine and alcohol, which pass into your milk one to three hours after consumption. If you want to have a coffee or glass of champagne from time to time, always wait until the end of breastfeeding. Stock up on calcium
Breastfeeding will draw heavily on your calcium reserves. So you will have to make up for the loss of this mineral, both to keep your bones healthy and feed your baby as building bones takes a lot of calcium.
Where to find it: Yoghurt, milk, dairy products, cheese, etc. there are many sources of calcium and you will be sure to avoid deficiency by consuming four dairy products per day. However, bear in mind that cheeses for spreading and goats’ milk or sheep’s milk cheeses have fairly low calcium contents while it is hard cheeses (cheddar, gruyere, etc.) that have the highest calcium content.
Also, some mineral waters have a high calcium content, which will supplement your daily intake if necessary. As listeria and salmonella cannot be passed on to your baby through breastmilk, there is no reason to avoid raw milk cheeses, which you are advised not to eat during pregnancy, unless advised not to do so by a doctor. However, if your baby turns out to be allergic to cows’ milk proteins (colic, bloating), you may not be able to eat dairy products while nursing.
Focus on iron
Iron is an oligo-element that the body cannot synthesize. If you have an iron deficiency, your red blood count drops and you risk becoming fatigued and more vulnerable to infections. In addition, your baby needs the iron in your milk to constitute its blood mass, etc. This is why you must be sure to avoid deficiency. Eat foods that have a high iron content and avoid too much coffee, tea or wine, which reduce its absorption.
Where to find it: If you like them, bear in mind that the foods with the highest iron content are black pudding and offal as well as beef, duck and seafood (oysters, clams). Although iron of animal origin is the best assimilated during digestion, you can also find good amounts of iron in legumes (lentils, chickpeas), wholemeal cereals (wheat germ) and some vegetables (cress, broccoli and Popeye’s famous spinach).
Do not ignore essential fatty acids
Your body needs fats. And in particular unsaturated fatty acids (fats found in plants and fish), which are essential fatty acids that your body cannot produce. Pay special attention to this intake as it is as essential for the correct development of your little one’s brain as it is for maintaining the balance of your nervous system. It may even reduce the risk of post natal depression. While not leaving them out of your diet completely, moderate saturated fatty acid (cold cuts and fatty meat) consumption.
Where to find them: Essential fatty acids and in particular Omega-3 can be found first and foremost in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, etc.) and some oils (rapeseed, walnut). Two tablespoons of rapeseed oil a day on vegetable sticks will be sufficient to meet your Omega 3 requirements. Substances to avoid When breastfeeding, you pass the good nutrients on to your baby but also sometimes those that are not so good...
For the benefit of your baby, do not eat or cut down on the following:
Peanuts: if there are previous cases of food allergies in the family, your baby may also be at risk of developing one. So avoid eating food with peanuts while nursing and ask your doctor for advice.
Soya: Although no adverse effect has yet been observed, it is advisable to avoid soy-based products (soya milk, tofu, etc.) as they contain phyto-oestrogens that pass through breastmilk. Also avoid eating nutritional supplements containing soya.
Caffeine: found in coffee, caffeine also passes into your milk. Your baby eliminates it more quickly than you, do not drink more than three cups of coffee per day as any more and your baby may temporarily become overexcited.
Alcohol: just as during pregnancy, it goes without saying that you should avoid any alcoholic drink while nursing...
Tobacco: if you have not stopped smoking, try to reduce the amount you smoke as much as possible and wait for two hours before breastfeeding to reduce the amount of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide in your milk.