The importance of breastfeeding cannot be over-emphasized as it offers many health benefits to both mother and child, including protection from certain illnesses and diseases. In this article, you will find out some vital health tips for breastfeeding mothers.
The health of a breastfeeding mother is very crucial to a successful breastfeeding phase, and the well-being of the infant.
Moreover, what you eat when breastfeeding can affect both your body and the baby.
While breastfeeding, a mother needs to make certain lifestyle changes, take in more nutrients and follow specific guidelines to ensure that her breastfeeding is a success.
Below are a few tips to help you stay healthy while you breastfeed.
7 Health Tips For Breastfeeding Mothers
1. Maintain a balanced diet
Maintaining a balanced diet makes you healthier and stronger, which is good for your baby too. Don’t skip meals or have any eating irregularities. Rather, eat more as your body now requires more. If possible, eat at least three full meals each day that include a variety of healthy foods and snacks.
You may also find that eating six smaller meals works better for you. Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains while limiting empty-calorie snacks. Keep healthy snacks, pre-cut fruits, and vegetables handy, so you can snack on them instead of a bag of cookies or chips.
2. Drink lots of water
Breast milk is mostly made up of water. And breastfeeding can make you thirsty. So, you need to drink more and more fluids. Water is the cheapest and healthiest drink. You should drink at least 10 cups of water every day. Drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed your baby. Besides water, other good liquids are milk, broth, herbal teas, and soups. Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, flavored milk, flavored water, sports drinks, and energy drinks.
3. Get enough rest
When your schedule is dictated by a young child, the pressure to relax can ironically seem rather stressful. So instead of asking yourself to sleep every time the baby sleeps, just try to do things that make you happy. Comfort doesn’t have to be sleep, and it could just be lying on the couch, watching TV, or listening to music or a podcast. Anything that helps you feel less worn out, at ease, and less frazzled. But remember to sleep when and if possible.
4. Exercise moderately
It’s important to let your body recover after birth, but when you’re ready, some regular exercise will improve your health and well-being. Being active daily can;
- Strengthen your bones, muscles, and joints
- Lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes
- Control your weight
- Improve your sleep
- Lower your stress level and improve your mental health.
You can start with light exercises such as taking short walks, then try activities such as swimming, yoga, or body stretches.
Moderate exercise will not affect your breast milk, your intake, the amount of nutrients in your breast milk, or your baby’s development.
5. Eat highly nutritious foods and take supplements
The nutritional intake of breastfeeding mothers is an important aspect of the health tips for breastfeeding mothers.
Generally, breastfeeding mothers require more calories to meet their nutritional needs while breastfeeding. They should also regularly consume foods that are packed with nutrients and vitamins.
Furthermore, the body’s requirement for iodine and choline increases during breastfeeding. Thus, it is essential that lactating moms eat foods rich in iodine and choline.
Iodine is abundant in dairy products, eggs, seafood, or in iodized table salt. While choline is also present in dairy and protein food groups, such as eggs, meats, some seafood, beans, and peas.
Also, breastfeeding mothers can also gain from taking multivitamin supplements to increase their nutritional intake.
6. Avoid certain foods
Conversely, limit foods and beverages high in caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine passes into breast milk, so avoid consuming excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee. Newborns are especially sensitive to caffeine. A moderate amount of caffeine is usually enough. You can also try something like herbal and caffeine-free herbal teas or decaffeinated coffee instead.
In addition, breastfeeding mothers must avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and hard drugs. Also, you should never use any medicine that is not approved by your doctor.
7. Prioritize your mental health
Childbirth and breastfeeding can take a toll on the mental health of the mother. Studies have shown that there is a link between maternal mental health and breastfeeding.
Hence, it is imperative that mothers take care of their mental health while breastfeeding. Set out time to practice self-care, spend time with others, get mental health support, and do things that make you happy.
Breastfeeding, like all elements of early parenthood, may be different from what you expect. Adhering to the above health tips for breastfeeding mothers will help you ensure you are doing well while you take care of your baby. Getting enough rest, eating well, and being mindful of your mental health are all important while breastfeeding your baby.