Breastfeeding diets and foods

The diets and foods related to breastfeeding are very different to what you became familiar with during your pregnancy.  Good news for all new mothers is that your bodies will more or less produce excellent milk no matter what you eat (within limits of course).  However, the bad news is that if you follow a really crappy diet, your body will be depleted of important nutrients such as calcium and iron.  You might even become more tired than usual, get headaches, a poor complexion, and more.

It is of the utmost importance to remember to eat food at all when breastfeeding.  It is very easy for most new mothers to not prioritize eating when you have a baby that needs attention all the time.  Thus, eat proper food; otherwise the temptation might just be there to eat lots of candy which is most certainly not a good thing if you want to shed some excess weight gained during pregnancy.


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Foods to eat and foods to avoid when Breastfeedin

Water

You should drink lots of pure water while breastfeeding.  Your body needs water in order to produce enough milk without becoming dehydrated.  However, keep a watchful eye on too much carbonated water, as it often contains unnecessary amounts of sodium.

Whole Grain

It is easy to become a little bit constipated after giving birth and especially during breastfeeding.  Whole grain, together with water and taking a walk, will aid your stomach.  Vegetables are also high in fibre and as a result good to eat while breastfeeding.

Fruits

If you do not have the time to eat proper food, at least eat some fruits.  Fruits are advantageous because it contains fibres, vitamins, water, and sometimes even calories. 

Spicy Foods

The impact of spicy foods on breast milk and subsequently babies’ tummies vary.  Spicy foods may thus cause tummy pain in some babies, while others do not show any side-effects at all.

Gassy Foods

If your baby easily suffers from tummy pain or tends to be gassy rather exclude all foods that are known to increase gas while breastfeeding.  Such foods include broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. 

Fish

Although fish in general is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, some types of fish are high in mercury.  To be safe, continue to avoid the same fish you did while pregnant.  A good guideline is to not eat more than two servings a week of canned “light” tuna and any other cooked fish.  Note that you should avoid the following fish completely while breastfeeding: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (also called golden or white snapper).  You may eat small servings of tuna steak, Spanish mackerel, marlin, and grouper to test what side-effects it has on your baby.

Varieties of fish that is safe to eat while breastfeeding include salmon, rainbow trout, canned mackerel, shrimp, Pollock, and catfish. 

Caffeine

If you drink a cup or two of coffee a day, your baby will not be affected negatively.  However, large amounts may result in him/her becoming fussy, overactive, and have problems settling down.  These side-effects are directly related to your baby’s body trying to get rid of the caffeine that built up in his system.  Also remember that black tea, green tea, chocolate, coca cola, and other soft drinks contain caffeine as well.  Thus, use all the above with moderation when breastfeeding

Red tea is the big exception here, as it contains absolutely no caffeine at all.  Red tea is a great alternative to other drinks when breastfeeding.

Alcohol

Avoid alcohol at all times.  It is a big risk to consume alcohol while breastfeeding, as it poses the danger of entering your breast milk, and subsequently your baby’s blood too. While breastfeeding, your baby would consume milk containing the same level of alcohol as is in your blood.  He/she would thus actually be drinking something with a low amount of alcohol.  Other risks of alcohol consumption include dropping him/her because you cannot take good care of your baby, and you sleeping heavier after consuming alcohol, which makes co-sleeping with your baby extremely dangerous.  Your milk production may even drop due to drinking alcohol. 

However, if you absolutely do want to drink a glass or two of wine, then wait at least two hours before breastfeeding again.  This way the alcohol will disappear from the milk in time.  Also drink lots of water afterwards, as the alcohol may dehydrate you.

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