Cloth or Disposable? Breast or Bottle? To co-sleep or not? While pregnant, people offer their two cents on pretty much anything. I remember hearing multiple opinions and words of advice regarding what you should and shouldn’t eat, which method to feed or diaper your child, etc.; the list is endless.
As a Registered Nurse, I felt like I had a small background knowledge about pregnancy and entering motherhood. After labor, delivery, and starting my journey as a mother, I quickly noticed that although I knew some things, I had a lot to learn. I chose to breastfeed my son and over the last year, I have learned quite a bit about breastfeeding.
One of the most important things about breastfeeding and ensuring you have adequate milk is taking care of yourself. We’ve all heard the line, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” and sleep is important in milk production, too. But, what about nutrition?
Although there is no special diet required while breastfeeding, good nutrition is vital in producing the quantity and quality of milk. Eating for two has often been used as an excuse to eat whatever you want during pregnancy. The good news is, if you choose to breastfeed, you will need those extra calories for a little bit longer. For those breastfeeding mamas, around 500-extra calories is recommended a day, equaling about 2200-2500 total calories per day. It is even recommended that initially, you use your hunger as a guide to manage your caloric intake.
A healthy, varied, well-balanced diet will provide your baby with the nutrients to promote growth and development. A variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, meats, and small quantities of fat should be combined to achieve a balanced diet. One of the best nutritional elements to help fuel your body and your milk supply is protein, which can come from either animal proteins, plant sources, or even dairy.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers have an increased protein requirement, about 71 grams of protein a day. That is 20-30 grams over the recommended non-nursing amount! Another nutritional element that is super important while breastfeeding is iron. Breast milk actually contains some iron in a form that is easy for babies to absorb. Iron is found in meats, dark greens and vegetables, and whole grains. Iron is vital for us as mamas, but for our babies, too. It helps support your baby’s brain development and growth, and helps prevent iron-deficiency anemia during the postpartum period.
Having a newborn at home is stressful and of course, time consuming. If you’re like me, it was hard to find time to eat and nurse! If you’re having a hard time getting those extra nutrients, here are a few quick, easy, snack ideas for some extra protein and iron.
• Greek yogurt and Granola
• Peanut Butter and Apples wrapped in a whole grain tortilla
• Nuts and Seeds
• String Cheese with veggies and hummus
And my all-time favorite…
• A shake or smoothie – Use Mommi 3-in-1 and get an extra dose of protein, your daily prenatal vitamins+DHA. I even add a handful of spinach to certain smoothies to get some extra iron. It is easy, quick, and filling. Make sure you check out our recipe page!