A breastfeeding diet is one which is of course important for the baby but it is also important for the mother to ensure they have enough energy throughout the day and night.
When new breastfeeding mothers decide that they want to lose some of their pregnancy weight the best approach is to attack it slowly.
As a new mum, you are tired, you are sleep deprived and your hormones are all over the shop. Really, it is a recipe for a disaster. So you need to take a step back, relax and take it slow.
One of the most important points to remember when you are following a breastfeeding diet is that you need energy to create breast milk. It can take anywhere up to around 600 calories to make enough milk for a newborn each day. Of course this is dependent on many factors such as weight, basal metabolic rate and physical activity of the mother.
Yes, some of that energy can come from your stored energy (or fat) that you have put on over your pregnancy. Although it is best to fuel some of that energy with wholesome fresh foods so as to not be hungry and avoid lows in your sugar levels or energy levels.
600 calories may seem like a lot, but if you are trying to lose weight, then it is important to choose foods which are nutrient dense not just energy dense.
When we use the words nutrient dense, we mean the foods which have a lot of nutrition per gram. Foods which are full of vitamins and minerals along with good sources of fibre, protein or good fats. If they are energy dense and nutrient poor, then they are often foods which are processed and high in sugar or sodium without much nutritional gain.
If you look at the serving guides for a breastfeeding woman, the suggestion is to obtain your additional calories through vegetables and complex carbohydrates like wholegrain cereals and grains. One of the reason behind the addition in servings of these food groups is because breastfeeding women need additional fibre to aid with digestion.
Some good sources of wholegrain cereals and grains include foods like:
- Wholegrain breads
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Bulgar (like in tabouli)
These foods can easily be fit into your day either with some of these suggestions like:
- Quinoa salad with chickpeas and prawns
- A yummy nut butter and banana wholegrain sandwich
- Brown rice substituted in a risotto dish.
- A wild rice stir fry
- Bulgar in some tabbouli with some grilled chicken
- A yummy veggie soup with some barley to boost.
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