During the first six months after delivery, your baby will be feeding on only breast milk and will depend solely on you for all the nutrient requirements. Maternal nutrition during lactation is key to providing your little ones with the essential nutrition that they need and is also the chance to deeply nourish yourself back to health.
It is not surprising that nutritional demands during lactation will be high and the quality and quantity of your breast milk will drop if your body has insufficient nutrients.
Just like during pregnancy, your nutritional intake is very important while you breastfeed – Pay close attention to your postpartum diet as what you eat determines the energy, protein, nutrient and vitamin content of your breast milk.
Let’s take a look at 5 key nutrients you will need in your daily diet to provide adequate nutrition for your body and quality breast milk for your baby.
Did you know that new mothers often lose 3-5% of their bone mass during the first six months of breastfeeding? This bone loss may be attributed to the growing baby’s need for calcium (200-300mg daily) for teeth and bone development, which is drawn from the mother’s bone.
Calcium is a critical nutrient during lactation, and adequate calcium intake is needed to produce quality breast milk while preventing calcium-deficient medical conditions like osteoporosis. The National Academy of Sciences recommends women who are breastfeeding to consume 1,000mg of calcium daily.
Boost your calcium supply with calcium-rich foods like:
It is very common for new mothers to experience iron-deficiency and become anaemic after pregnancy, leaving them feeling tired and weak as considerable amounts of blood is lost during delivery.
Iron is an essential mineral responsible for the creation of new blood cells, so boost your recovery by replenishing your iron stores with an iron-rich diet. It is also a good idea to introduce foods that are rich in vitamin C into your diet as it helps your body absorb iron to improve overall energy.
However, iron is a tricky nutrient. Do be cautious of ingesting too much iron, as it may result in adverse side effects like constipation. A good gauge would be to rely more on iron-rich foods as the recommended dietary intake of iron for women who are breastfeeding is at 9mg/day.
Load up on these iron-rich foods:
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a rich source of dietary fibre, and these nutrient-dense foods also serve as an excellent source of iron, calcium, and vitamins. A diet that is rich in dietary fibres helps strengthen immunity to keep mothers feeling healthy after birth.
Fruits & vegetables that are high in dietary fibre include:
It is recommended that women who are breastfeeding should consume at least 500 μg of folic acid per day, as this essential nutrient is passed into the breast milk. Folic acid is a type of B vitamin, responsible for the production of red blood cells and brain development in babies.
Adequate folic acid is extremely important during periods of rapid growth, such as infancy, so bolster your breast milk with folic acid by including these healthy foods that are rich in folic acid:
DHA is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that is an essential nutrient for both mother and baby and is critical for the growth and development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.
Since DHA is not produced by your body, you will need to get this essential nutrient through your diet, which is then passed on to your baby through breastfeeding. This brain-boosting nutrient is naturally found in the breast milk of mothers who consume a DHA-rich diet.
Fortify your diet with DHA-rich foods like:
For a nutrient-dense diet, supplement your postpartum meals with NATURE ONE DAIRY® Pregnancy Formula that is specially formulated with premium ingredients such as DHA, Dietary Fibre, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc and Calcium to provide a good source of essential nutrients for lactating mothers. Made in Australia with 100% grass-fed cow’s milk, this formula contains zero artificial sugar and added preservatives. With a well-nourished body, you can provide quality milk for your baby.