Breastfeeding is no joke. It’s hard work! There are many things to consider, an obvious aspect being your diet. The following are a few dietary tips that have been helpful and, especially, not overwhelming to follow. In part II, I will talk about specific foods/herbs that help produce more milk.
1) Make sure YOU are following a healthy, balanced diet for YOU.
Rest assured, your baby will probably be getting the best of what you are eating regardless of your momentary dietary lapses, but if you are not eating enough nutritious calories or eating junk food all the time, your body may pull on your reserves and eventually become depleted.
2) Listen to hunger cues.
Most women who are breastfeeding need about 300-500 more calories daily than moms who are feeding formula.. Counting calories is not the solution. Instead, listen to your hunger cues and eat balanced, whole-food meals rather than nutritionally void foods. If you feel you are eating too much, reduce portion size and have smaller, more frequent meals.
3) Drink enough liquids - especially (you guessed it) water!
A good rule of thumb is to drink about half your weight in pounds in ounces. Meaning, if you weigh 155 pounds, drink 77.7 ounces per day, which translates to almost 10 cups per day (1 cup = 8 ounces).
4) A word on caffeine.
A daily cup or two of coffee is fine, but too much caffeine can interfere with your baby’s sleep or make him/her fussy, cranky, or irritated – making for an unhappy and exhausted mom. Caffeine is harder for babies to break down and therefore lingers in their system for longer. Caffeine is also found in sodas, chocolate, teas, energy drinks, and over-the-counter medicines. Keep caffeine intake to 300mg or less.
5) Limit alcohol.
One drink a day is probably okay for breastfeeding, but no more than that.
6) Rest & relax.
As much as feasible, considering you need to breastfeed every 2-3 hours! Rest and relaxation supports breast milk production.
7) Nurse frequently.
Breastfeeding is definitely a case of “the less you use it, the more you lose it.” Nursing frequently will aid the production of milk through stimulation of the adequate hormones. So, get to it!
8) Do not avoid foods altogether if you don’t need to.
Avoiding certain food groups can cause nutritional imbalances i.e. avoiding dairy leads to calcium deficiency. If you are thinking of limiting your diet in this way, speak to a dietitian or health professional. In the meantime, a few things to keep in mind:
- All babies are different. Even though there are generalities on what babies can tolerate, not all babies react the same way. Therefore, observation is key. If you notice that a food causes discomfort, it’s important to 1) avoid and 2) find an adequate nutritional replacement. Some foods to keep an eye out:
- Chocolate (caffeine, remember?); Spices (garlic, curry, chili pepper); Citrus fruits and their juices, like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit; Gas-producing veggies (onion, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, Brussels sprouts) or legumes (beans, lentils); Foods that can cause a laxative effect like prunes, figs, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries; Peppermint tea; Parsley; Alcohol
- Check your family history for allergies and/or top allergens. The “Big 8” food allergies are a good place to start. Look at peanut, tree nuts, milk (especially cow), egg (egg whites), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Again, observation is key.
- Stay clear of added contaminants. Pesticides, insecticides, mercury, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals are not good for you or the baby. Make sure to:
- Choose produce from the Clean 15 list and/or purchase organic local, and/or seasonal produce when choosing from the Dirty Dozen list, which has the highest amount of pesticide residue.
- Eat from glass not plastic containers.
- Choose fish low in mercury and stay within 12 ounces of quality fish a week. The Monterrey Bay Aquariums Consumer Guide is an awesome tool to help you pick the best fish choice.
- Choose lean meats and/or remove the skin since chemicals are stored in the fat.
Stay tuned for part II!
(Pictured: Theo at 2 weeks old.)
Getting fit, losing weight and feeling great are always top priorities for the New Year. How we achieve these goals is constantly evolving to fit our busy, eclectic lifestyles.
Here are a few of the top food and fitness trends for 2014!
Clean Eating. I don’t mean practicing food safety like washing your greens, the idea behind Clean Eating is to eat foods in their “whole” state. With increased awareness of frankenfood (GMOs) or fake foods, people are paying more attention to what they put in their bodies rather than just looking at calories and grams of fat. This means staying away from processed/refined foods and additives like artificial chemicals (i.e. artificial sweeteners), flavors and preservatives. Next time you have a meal, ask yourself: Is this food or foodstuff?
Farm-to-Table. Following in the footsteps of the clean eating approach, choosing cleaner, sustainable, exotic meats (like goat and rabbit that come from small-scale producers) as well as seasonal produce from local farmers offers a new feel-good approach to eating. A few of my favorite farm-to-table restaurants in NYC are Rosemary’s (don’t forget to visit the rooftop garden that supplies their kitchen!), Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn (where I had my wedding reception—oh yeah, ahead of the trend!) and Blue Hill NY (you can also visit their farm).
Promoting Healthy Gut Bacteria. It’s just not enough to take away foods that may be bad for your gut, i.e. the Standard American Diet (appropriately called SAD); we also have to promote a happy gut. The hundreds of trillions of bacteria (or lack thereof) may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of inflammatory chronic diseases including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and perhaps cancer. Eating foods high in fiber such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit (not just supplements), fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kombucha and kefir increase our microbial diversity and keep our gut healthy.
Egg Yolks Are Back! Woohoo! Blood cholesterol (aka having high cholesterol) is strongly affected by saturated fat, but not so much by dietary cholesterol. So, unless you are at particularly high risk for cardiovascular disease, there is no need to shun the egg yolk! This awesome whole food is loaded with choline associated with brain health; lutein and zeaxanthin two antioxidants particularly great for eye health and vitamin D, a vitamin that most Americans highly lack.
Fishy Fish. I get it; most people have a love hate relationship with anchovies and sardines. But there is no denying these fish are really good for you. They are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, amazing for your skin, hair and heart. In addition, they are chockfull of calcium and vitamin D. They are also on the bottom of the seafood chain, so they are naturally low in mercury and PCBs. If you are interested in the canned fish experience, check out Maiden Lane in the East Village. If you’re not sure what to order, try their excellent fish board!
Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts. I will be talking more about these amazing vegetables in later posts, but for now, all I can say is—eat them. These cruciferous super vegetables are incredibly beneficial to your health, versatile and go well with just about anything.
Express Workouts. High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of exercise with brief recovery breaks. Jenn Hamlin, a group fitness instructor at NYHRC, describes Tabata, a specific form of HIIT, as the perfect New York workout. “It enhances your athletic performance activating both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and spikes your caloric expenditure while decreases body fat in the shortest amount of time!” It’s an efficient method of training that still gives you time to grab lunch.
Corporate Wellness. Ask about Worker Incentive Programs. These are part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits. They are becoming very popular and many businesses offer them. Imagine how quickly you would achieve your goals if you also paired it with nutrition counseling!
What trend are you looking forward to trying out in 2014?
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Fitness Trends 2014: 20 Popular Workouts For The Year Ahead. Huffpost Living.
2014 Nutrition trends and their nutrition benefits. Rachel Begun.
The Top 8 Healthy Food Trends for 2014. Wake Up World.
10 Fitness and Wellness Trends of 2014. Well+Good’s
Fitness trends 2014: Zumba not the HIIT the trendspotters thought
Exciting new fitness trends are making workouts easier. The Wellness Advisor, Fall 2013/ Winter 2014.
Edited by Tamara Cabrero
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr