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What to eat when breastfeeding

By Angella Wali | August 17th 2016

Good nutrition is not only important to a new-born baby; it is also important to the mother. After all, she is the source of the baby’s nutrition. Here are the key things to consider:

Balanced and diversified diet
A breastfeeding mother should ensure she gets food from all the food groups at a time for a well balanced and diversified diet. Such a diet will provide vital nutrients, including energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Keep in mind the important function of phytonutrients (ones with protective power) to the body. Ensure you get as many colours in your food as possible for you and your baby to benefit from the protective power of phytonutrients.

A breastfeeding mother needs about 500 extra calories. This can translate into an extra full meal or several nutrient-dense snacks. Strive to achieve this through indulging in nutrient dense snacks such as a fruit salad with yoghurt, whole grain starch with an accompaniment or just make an extra meal for yourself. Snacks are easier and even more convenient as one can pack and carry them to the office in case one is working.

It is OK for a breastfeeding mother to take coffee. However, you are advised to keep it at a maximum of two to three cups. The effects coffee has on a breastfeeding mother are the same ones it will have on your baby. Too much caffeine can interfere with your baby’s sleep routine and make him or her very agitated and cranky.

It is best to abstain from alcohol when breastfeeding as it has been shown to impair gross motor development in babies. Alcohol in breast milk also reduces the baby’s milk intake by 20 per cent and increases the baby’s risk of becoming underweight.

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