+91 99 5332 9177
Diet planning of Nursing Mothers

Diet planning of Nursing Mothers

Jan 13, 2018
Diet planning of Nursing Mothers

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Breastfeeding is important not only for your baby but for you as well! Breast milk is the perfect milk for your baby as it covers all his nutritional needs for the first 6 months of life as well as provides him with immunity factors.


As the mother, you will also benefit from this natural phenomenon; it will help you get rid of the fat tissues that were stored during pregnancy by using this fat as a source of energy to produce milk. Your body will not only store fat during pregnancy to use in breastfeeding but will also store other important nutrients such as proteins which are important for milk production and quality. That’s why it is so important to get a varied, healthy balanced diet during both pregnancy and breastfeeding in order to get all the needed nutrients.

New mothers sometimes get so engrossed in doing all the right things for their new baby that they forget to take adequate care of themselves. What they don't realize is that taking good care of themselves is directly related to their baby's health, especially during breastfeeding. Here are some dos and don'ts to guide new mothers through this special and new phase of their life.


The Dos of Nursing Mothers:


Consume a Balanced Diet: A breastfeeding mother needs to consume an adequate and balanced diet. There is an extra demand for nutrients, especially to secrete sufficient quantity and quality of milk and to safeguard your own health. Your requirement for energy increases since you need additional calories for producing milk. Some nutrients are also needed in extra amounts like protein, calcium, vitamins like B1, B2, B3, folate, B12, C, and A. 

Eat at least 3 meals a day: Mothers can get hungry easily while breastfeeding. This is because breastfeeding uses up extra calories up to 500 a day. Breastfeeding is a natural way to lose weight, since lactation mobilizes fat in your body (you may not be able to see the results overnight as it is a gradual process).


Aim for regular meals and two to three light snacks a day as part of your lactation diet. Do not skip meals, particularly breakfast. Some snacking options include fruit smoothies, a handful of nuts, veg rolls, sandwiches, fruit platters, etc. 

Drink plenty of Fluids: Breastfeeding every two to four hours can be dehydrating. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water, which is an integral part of your lactation diet. Fluids also help to keep up milk production. Consume milk, fruit juices and soups. Reduce caffeine intake by cutting down on Coffee, tea, cola and chocolate drinks. 

Iron: Iron is required to fulfill additional demands in breast milk. Lactating women require 25mg of iron (4gm of additional compared to sedentary non-lactating women). Iron-rich foods include pulses and legumes, garden cress seeds, green leafy vegetables, watermelons, eggs, red meat etc. 

Exercise: Incorporating some moderate exercises like brisk walking or swimming three times a week, will keep you fit and happy. 

Unwind and Relax: Always remember to take time out for a spa treatment or massages that will help you de-stress and keep calm.



The Don’ts of Nursing Mothers: 

Limits foods high in sugar and fat: Cut down on high fat and high sugar foods like potato crisps, chocolates, cakes and soft drinks. These foods are full of “empty” calories and have little nutritional value. 

Do not diet during breastfeeding: Dieting during breastfeeding might reduce the quantity and quality of your milk. To lose your pregnancy weight, limit the intake of foods that are high in fat and sugar. 

Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol passes quickly into breast milk and can affect your baby. Avoid smoking and use of tobacco as well. 

Food Safety is crucial:  Be particularly careful with food hygiene. Avoid foods that carry a high risk of contamination. Try to minimize your exposure to contaminants like pesticides, insecticides, etc. in your food. Consume local and seasonal products. Drink filtered water.


Foods to eat while breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding has all sorts of benefits for both mom and baby. Not surprisingly, it is incredibly important to eat healthy while breastfeeding. Breast milk is very nutritious and contains most of the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. Consequently, your needs for most nutrients are increased in order to meet this demand.

Healthy eating will also give you the energy you need to take care of yourself and your baby. What's more, eating healthy foods may help you shed the pregnancy weight faster.

More Calories: Making breast milk is hard work for your body. It is estimated that it is estimated that breastfeeding increases your energy needs by about 500 calories per day. You also have an increased need for most nutrients, so it's very important to eat a healthy and varied diet.

You might be tempted to lose weight quickly after delivery, but you may need to be patient. It is completely normal to not lose any weight or even gain some during the first 3 months of breastfeeding. Restricting calories too much, especially during the first few months of breastfeeding, may decrease both your milk supply and much-needed energy levels.

Losing approximately 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) per week through a combination of diet and exercise should not affect your milk supply or milk composition, assuming that you are not undernourished to begin with.

However, very thin women may be more sensitive to calorie restriction. They may need to eat abundantly to avoid a reduction in milk supply.


Eat Nutrient Dense Food: Your nutrient needs are greater while breastfeeding, both to fulfil the baby's needs and your own. The amounts of some nutrients in your diet may directly affect their presence in your breast milk.

It is very important to eat a variety of nutritious, whole foods to ensure that you get all the nutrients you and your baby need.

Here are some nutritious foods you should eat while breastfeeding.

·        Fish and Seafood: Salmon, seaweed, shellfish and sardines.

·        Meat: Beef, lamb, pork and organ meat such as liver.

·        Fruits and vegetables: Berries, tomatoes, cabbage, kale, garlic & broccoli.

·        Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds & flaxseeds.

·        Other Foods: Eggs, oats, potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat and dark chocolate.


However, this list is in no way limiting. Additionally, avoid processed foods as much as possible because they are usually high in calories, added sugars, and unhealthy fats.

Make sure to get plenty of these Nutrients: The nutrients in breast milk may be categorized into two groups, depending on the extent to which they are secreted into the milk. The amounts of group 1 nutrients in breast milk depend on dietary intake, while group 2 nutrients are secreted into breast milk regardless of intake or health status.

Therefore, getting enough group 1 nutrients is very important for both you and your baby, while getting enough group 2 nutrients are most important for you.


·        Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Fish, pork, seeds, nuts & bread.

·        Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Cheese, almonds, nuts, red meat, oily fish & eggs.

·        Vitamin B6: Seeds, nuts, fish, poultry, pork, bananas & dried fruit.

·        Vitamin B12: Shellfish, liver, oily fish, some mushrooms & fortified foods.

·        Choline: Eggs, beef liver, chicken liver, fish & peanuts.

·        Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, organ meat & eggs.

·        Vitamin D: Cod liver oil, oily fish, some mushrooms and fortified foods.

·        Selenium: Brazil nuts, seafood, fish, whole wheat, and seeds.

·        Iodine: Dried seaweed, cod, milk and iodized salt.

The amounts of group 1 nutrients are substantially reduced in breast milk if you are deficient or don't get adequate amounts from your diet. For this reason, it is important for you and your baby that you get sufficient amounts of these nutrients from your diet or supplements.


·        Folate: Beans, lentils, leafy greens, asparagus, and avocados.

·        Calcium: Milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, and legumes.

·        Iron: Red meat, pork, seafood, beans, green vegetables and dry fruits.

·        Copper: Shellfish, whole grains, nuts, beans, organ meats, and potatoes.

·        Zink: Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and dairy.

The amounts of group 2 nutrients in breast milk are unaffected by your dietary intake or body stores. If your intake is low, your body will take these nutrients from your own bone and tissue stores to secrete into your breast milk.

Therefore, your baby will always get the right amount. However, your body stores will become depleted if you don't get adequate amounts from your diet. To avoid becoming deficient, these nutrients must come from your diet or supplements.

You may benefit from certain supplements: You should always be skeptical when it comes to supplements, especially while breastfeeding. Many supplements contain herbs, stimulants and active substances that may be transferred to your milk. However, there are several supplements that may benefit breastfeeding mothers. These include: 

Multivitamins: Some women may lack key nutrients. This may be due to pregnancy-related nausea, food aversions or a habitual lack of variation in the diet. For this reason, some breastfeeding mothers may benefit from multivitamins.  

Vitamin B12: Supplementing with vitamin B12 is not always effective. If you are deficient, then talk to your doctor about good methods for increasing your levels.

Omega 3 DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that is mainly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae. It is an important component of the central nervous system, skin, and eyes. DHA is vital for healthy brain development and function. Adding DHA to baby formula has also been shown to improve vision in babies. If your intake is low, then the amount in your breast milk will also be low.

Early-life omega-3 deficiency has been linked to several behavioral problems, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, and aggressiveness. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women take at least 2.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and 100–300 mg of DHA daily.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is mainly found in fatty fish, fish liver oils, and fortified foods. It's very important for overall health, especially bone health and immune function. Vitamin D is usually only present in low amounts in breast milk, especially when sun exposure is limited. Therefore, vitamin D drops are usually recommended for babies from the age of 2–4 weeks.

Women who have very high intakes of vitamin D (more than 6,000 IU daily) are more likely to provide their babies with adequate amounts of it from their breast milk. Note that this amount is much higher than the recommended daily amount.

Furthermore, a vitamin D deficiency can have serious consequences. You may experience muscle weakness, bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. A vitamin D deficiency in early childhood may cause seizures, rickets and muscle weakness. It is also linked to the development of several diseases.

Drink plenty of water: It's normal to be thirstier than usual when you are breastfeeding, due to an increased amount of the hormone oxytocin. When your baby latches onto your breast, your oxytocin levels increase. This causes your milk to start flowing. 

This also stimulates thirst, so that you drink enough water to meet the increased requirements for milk production. There is no set amount of water you should drink daily. As a rule of thumb, you should always drink when you are thirsty and until you have quenched your thirst.

Your Comments

Feb 16, 2019

Add Comment