The Nursing Mother guide

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The Nursing Mother guide
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  The Nursing Mother's Diet Good Nutrition for You and Your Baby From Sylvia Brown with Mary Dowd Struck, Updated July 19, 2009 About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board  A nursing mother produces 23 to 27 ounces of milk per day, containing 330 milligrams of calcium per quart. This requires an extra energy expenditure of at least 500 calories per day.Good nutrition is therefore just as important for you as it is for your baby. The quality of breast milk is only affected in extreme cases of deprivation, or by excessiveintake of a particular food. But the quantity of milk depends very much on the mother's diet.Food absorbed by a nursing mother not only fulfills her own nutritional needs, which aregreater during the postnatal period, but also enables her to produce milk. A woman who doesnot feed herself properly may still have a healthy baby, but it will be to the detriment of herown health. If you lack sufficient nourishment, your body will make milk production its firstpriority, and your needs will go unmet. It is just the same as it was during pregnancy, when thenutritional needs of the fetus were satisfied before those of the mother. In fact, the baby, whoweighs only a few pounds, will receive nearly 1,000 calories per day in breast milk!What does it mean to feed yourself properly while nursing? We can compare a breast-feedingmother to a marathon runner-whose race will last twenty-four hours, not four. The Basics Increase your water consumption by one quart per day, so that you are drinking a total of 2.5to 3 quarts. Nursing women tend to be thirstier anyway, especially during feeding sessions,because part of their water consumption goes directly to milk production. But don't overdo it:too much liquid also can reduce milk production.Increase your daily caloric intake to 2,500 calories: you can even eat more if you are planningto continue breast-feeding for more than three months (2,800 calories per day). But again, becareful: many nursing mothers are tempted by sweets. Stick to healthy foods instead! Eatmore proteins. The basic rule is to eat I gram of protein each day for every pound you weigh.Spread your caloric intake over five meals, breakfast, lunch, after- noon snack, dinner, andan extra snack during the evening. Each snack time is also an opportunity to drink water, eat alow-fat dairy product, and a piece of fruit. As your body is continually producing milk, it needsyour caloric intake to be regular.Stay away from tobacco. Nicotine passes directly through breast milk to the baby. if youcannot control yourself, build in a gap of at least an hour between your last cigarette and yournext feeding session, so that the nicotine in your system has a chance to decompose at leastpartially.Avoid regular consumption of alcohol. Alcohol passes through milk in less than an hour and if the baby consumes it in large quantities it can retard his growth. if you drink an occasionalglass of wine or beer, save it for after a feeding session. Take no medication without first consulting a doctor. Most antibiotics, sulfa drugs, chemicallaxatives, and all products containing iodine are contraindicated while you are breast-feeding.Other medications, taken over a long period, can also be dangerous.  Beware of pollutants. Like nicotine, pesticide residue easily passes through mother's milk. If you are nursing, stay away from insecticides (especially in airborne forms such as aerosols orcoils). Try to use natural insect repellents such as citronella. Eat primarily unsaturated fats.Sunflower, corn, rapeseed, and olive oil provide fatty acids that are essential for building thebaby's nervous system.Eat food containing vitamin B 9. In Western countries, the only vitamin really lacking inwomen's diets is vitamin B 9 (folic acid). Birth control pills accentuate a woman's vitamin B 9deficit, and may also contribute to a vitamin B 6 deficiency. During pregnancy, folic acid is vitalto the development of the baby's nervous system. Nursing mothers are well advised tocontinue taking their prenatal vitamins. Folic acid also can be found abundantly in asparagus,cabbage, corn, chick- peas, and spinach. Many other foods, such as wheat and orange juice,have been enriched with folic acid. Check the package labels. Take zinc supplements. According to a British study, pregnant and nursing women also oftenlack zinc. They should consume 15 to 20 milligrams per day. Zinc is found in eggs, meat, wholeflour, and oats.Consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. A balanced diet only provides 800 to 1,000milligrams of calcium daily. Because nursing mothers need 1,200 milligrams, a calciumsupplement will probably be necessary. Calcium needs can also be partly met from dairyproducts, raw vegetables, almonds, and hazelnuts.Do not rush to buy vitamin A supplements. People often talk about vitamin A supplements fornursing mothers, because their daily need rises from 1,000 milligrams to 1,300 milligrams. It istrue that if the woman had a vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy, this problem may worsenafter childbirth. But anyone who eats enough carrots, vegetables, butter, fish, and meat willabsorb enough vitamin A.We hear a lot about foods that can irritate the baby-turnips, celery, watercress, citrus fruits,onions, cabbage, spices, leeks, cauliflower-by giving him gas or changing the taste of hismother's milk. For example, some people say that garlic increases milk production; others sayit gives the baby gas. There is no universal rule. Moreover, different cultures prefer foods thatothers consider to be bad for nursing mothers. Each baby reacts differently to the foods hismother consumes. If your baby is particularly disturbed one day, try to remember what youhave eaten in the past twenty-four hours. If one food seems suspect, eliminate it from yourdiet for a while.When nursing, observe your baby so you can eliminate from your own diet any food thatseems to bother him. There exist nutritional supplements that are said to increase milkproduction. Their effects have not been proven scientifically, but they have a placebo(psychological) effect. Be careful, some of these supplements have a very high sugar content,and are therefore high in calories. Also, many midwives will tell you that fennel and beerincrease milk production, and that parsley stops it. Diet for a healthy breastfeeding mum Written for BabyCenter India   Approved by theBabyCenter India Medical Advisory Board ã   What you and your baby need during breastfeeding ã   What should I be eating? ã   Vitamin and Iron supplements ã   Drink plenty of water to help maintain your milk supply ã   Watch what you eat and drink ã   What about dieting during breastfeeding?   What you and your baby need during breastfeeding Some of the calories required for breastmilk production    are supplied by body fat reserves laid down duringpregnancy. However, additional calories are needed over and above your pre-pregnancy intake to provideenough energy to supply the needs of your growing baby. As you start towean your baby   ,your calorieneeds will gradually return to pre-pregnancy levels.Studies show that if you breastfeed your baby, you will reach your pre-pregnancy weight faster as comparedto a mother who does not breastfeed.The recommended dietary allowance for lactating mothers according to the Indian Council of MedicalResearch is as follows: 0 – 6 months – 550 Kcal /day 7- 12 months – 400 Kcal /dayHowever, recent research suggests that these figures are too high and that an extra 300-400 calories per day is enough for exclusively breastfeeding mothers during the first three months. What should I be eating? Think of breastfeeding as continued motivation to follow the healthy diet youfollowed during pregnancy   .Focus on eating whole grains and cereals, freshfruits and vegetables   , and foods that provide plentyof protein   , calcium, and iron (and, as always, an occasional treat is fine). Opt for nutritious snacks like yoghurt, stuffed idlis ,  poha sandwiches made with wholemeal bread filled withleafy greens. You could also try baked chicken nuggets, canned salmon, tuna, low fat cheese slices,steamed sprouts,  paneer      cubes, baked vegetables and fresh fruit. However, ensure that you limit your intake  of ghee as it just adds to your calories. Go easy onghee-laden treats    prepared by older family members. Vitamin and Iron supplements If you took antenatal supplements during your pregnancy, it is wise to check with your doctor if you need tocontinue taking supplements. And if you do continue with a general vitamin supplement, remember that itcan't make up for poor eating habits. Strive to eat a well-balanced, varied diet. Drink plenty of water to help maintain your milk supply  Apart from all these vital vitamins and minerals, it is very important for you to drink plenty of water to helpmaintain your milk production. Water is a major constituent of breastmilk. Therefore ensure that you drink atleast 10-12 glasses of water every day. You can also consume fruit and vegetable juices, lassi, buttermilk,coconut water etc. in addition to water. This will help your body to produce the milk you need for your baby. Watch what you eat and drink Substances like caffeine,alcohol, and other  toxinscan pass from your blood into your breastmilk, so excessive amounts should be avoided. Nicotine fromcigarettes   and drugs also pass into your breastmilk andshould be avoided (your doctor can advise you on the suitability of prescribed medications).Smoking and alcohol are detrimental to your baby’s health.You'll be able to work out if your child is sensitiveto something you eat or drink, because she'll show her discomfort by being unsettled after feeds,crying    inconsolably, or  sleeping badly   . If you have a strong family history of allergies to some food,and you notice your baby has developed an allergic reaction, then avoid that food while breastfeeding.While some women swear thathot or spicy dishes    upset their babies, trial and error may be your best guide,as food-induced irritability differs markedly from one baby to the next. If you find you can eat garlic chickenor a fiery vegetable curry without making your baby unhappy, then dig in. One note of caution, though --some common colicoffenders include broccoli, cabbage, onions and Brussels sprouts. If you are used to having aerated drinks to quench your thirst it is best to avoid these while lactating as theycontain just empty calories and no nutrition. You could instead substitute it with lassi, coconut water or  nimbu pani    . Elders may offer you traditional drinksprepared with specific herbs. Check with your doctor 
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