After birth, your baby still relies on you for nutrients. Without the umbilical cord, it’s a little less immediate, but what you eat mostly determines what you’re giving your baby.
You’re probably trying to lose the baby weight and you want to get enough nutrients and calories to make nutritious breast milk for your little one.
Your milk is kind of magical. The composition changes throughout the day depending upon how much you rest. The amount of fat will also increase as your baby grows and develops.
Eating for Two
- Instead of 3 large meals, try to eat 5-6 small meals or snacks each day
- Since the baby will be waking and sleeping at odd hours, many women find this fits their schedule better anyway
- You need 200-300 more calories per day than what you ate while pregnant
- This isn’t a lot of additional food. You can fill these calories easily by:
- Adding an extra cup of milk and half a sandwich
- Grabbing a handful of almond and a slice or two of cheese
- Spreading some apple slices with peanut butter
Can I lose weight and eat like this?
- Nursing a child requires a lot of energy, the same as running about 4-5 miles/day!
- Most women who breastfeed while maintaining a healthy diet will continue to lose ½ to 1 pound per week.
- By the time your baby is 4 months old, your milk will contain more fat and you’ll really see your weight come off.
Getting the Right Nutrients
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamin each day! You and your growing baby need the vitamins and minerals it contains.
- Protein to building muscle: Get at least three servings of protein per day. Good sources include:
- Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, nuts, lentils, soybeans, and beans.
- Calcium for strong bones: Try to get 1200-1500 mg of calcium rich dairy per day. If you can’t reach the recommended amount with diet alone, take calcium supplements. Good sources include:
- Cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, calcium fortified juice, sardines, almonds, and green leafy vegetables.
- Vegetables and Fruits: Eat 2 servings of fruits and 4-5 servings of vegetables per day. Be careful with fruit juice, it’s high in sugar – even 100% juice. Limit your intake to 1 glass per day and opt for whole fruits with more fiber, which helps with any constipation.
- Carbohydrates: Eat 6 to 9 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta per day. One serving isn’t a whole box of mac and cheese, unfortunately. It’s relatively small, equal to ½ cup of rice, beans or pasta or 1 slice of bread or a ½ of a flour tortilla. (link to barb’s blog: what is a carb)???
- Fats and oils: 4 servings are recommended per day. Many foods contain some fat, but a serving is 1 tablespoon of oil, mayonnaise, butter, or peanut butter.
- Hydration is key! Pay close attention to your water consumption and aim for at least 4-8 glasses per day.
For more information on Breastfeeding be sure to check out my new book, Nurse Barb’s Personal Guide to Breastfeeding, now out on Amazon.