Now that you have become a mother, it’s likely that your entire focus is on your newborn. It is however important that you focus on your own health as well! After all, only when you regain your own strength and energy can you breastfeed and focus on your child’s health and development.
Considering you are a nursing mommy, eating nutrient-rich food will ensure that your baby gets the right nutrition through your milk.
On an average, a nursing mom needs about 500 additional calories a day. Even though breastfeeding helps burn calories, it also makes mothers very hungry. Hence it’s important that you focus on eating complex carbohydrates like whole grains, millets, pulses, legumes, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables along with foods high in protein, calcium and iron.
You will get a lot of well-meaning advice and suggestions with regards to your diet in the postnatal period but not all advice is worth taking!
Myths & Tips
Myth 1: Eating extra ghee helps recover faster, strengthens joints
Your body already has enough fat reserves that it gathered during the pregnancy. Increasing the intake of ghee will lead to weight gain in the postpartum period.
Tip - Instead of eating dry fruit ladoos or panjiri, drink a glass of milk with dry fruits in it. Alternatively, you can prepare porridge with milk and dry fruits to get the same benefit without extra calories.
Myth 2: You must eat bland foods like khichdi if you are breastfeeding
In most cases, what you eat doesn’t affect the baby. What you eat has already digested by the time it reaches your baby through your milk.
Tip - It’s best to watch your baby before making changes to your diet. If your baby seems fussy after you have eaten certain foods, maintain a food dairy and make changes in your diet accordingly.
Myth 3: More milk you drink, more milk you will make
There is no scientific evidence stating this.
Tip - Instead a balanced diet of foods rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins will help increase your breast milk supply.
Myth 4: Avoid eating spicy foods
Even though spicy food does flavour your breast milk slightly; unless your baby seems uncomfortable or fussy after a feed, it’s ok to eat spicy food.
Myth 5: Drinking ajwain water helps in digestion and speeds up recovery
Traditionally eating ajwain or drinking boiled water with ajwain was considered to help in digestion for both the mother and baby.
Tip - Even though there is no scientific evidence there is no harm in having it, provided you have a nutritious diet along with this.
Postpartum Foods – Dos and Don’ts
- It is important that you eat healthy foods that will give you energy.
- Continue to eat at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Drink enough water through the day.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking or drugs.
- Avoid too much caffeine, especially colas.
- Nutritious foods will keep you full longer and make you feel energetic enough to attend to your baby, inspite of lack of sufficient sleep.
- Stay away from packaged foods. They seem convenient but remember they are loaded with sodium and or artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors.
- Prepare some meals in advance and refrigerate them like hummus, yoghurt dips, chutneys, makhana, salads like carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, whole wheat multigrain bread, parathas, dosa batter, soups, vegetable/meat cutlets, sweet potato fries (stir fried)
- Carry dry fruits, nuts, fruits in your purse when you are traveling