“Breastfeeding is best for babies up to two years”. This ad would be very familiar to you if you are a breastfeeding mom. You will also notice this advertisement on baby formulas on television. The reason why breastfeeding is best for babies is because it will ensure the best health and best developmental outcomes for them.
Breastfeeding is nutritionally demanding for both moms and babies. They both require more calorie and nutrients than the usual; and for moms, you need more than the usual calorie you take in the last trimester of your pregnancy. The calorie and nutrient intake need to be increased when breastfeeding to meet the nutrient requirement you need and what the baby needs. This means eating the right food for moms. With this in mind, here is a list of food that you can eat to set the stage for a lifelong and healthy eating pattern for you and your baby.
- Eating avocado is good for you and your baby. It is rich in fiber, potassium, and mono-unsaturated fat, which is needed to absorb certain vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. These vitamins are essential for the growth of your baby and for their brain development.
- Pumpkin Seeds. Pumpkin seeds, also known as Pepitas, are a good source of fiber, protein, and most especially, iron. Iron is needed for proper development of nerve cells in babies. It is also essential in developing the brain and their specialization. In addition, iron is good for both mom and babies as they regulate the production of blood in the body. An ounce of pumpkin said on a daily basis would be enough to regulate the needed amount of iron for moms and babies.
- Sweet Potatoes. This food is a good source of Vitamin A, potassium, and carotenoids. Vitamin A is essential for bone growth, immunity, cell specialization, and vision development. During pregnancy, even when you are taking more than enough Vitamin A for you and your growing child, your baby can only absorb and store so much of this Vitamin. This is why you still have to continue taking more than enough Vitamin A to sustain the growth and development of your child. One medium sweet potato can help you achieve this.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is good for dessert and for snacks. It is best for breastfeeding moms as it is reach of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Calcium is essential for strengthening your baby’s teeth and bones. It is also needed for different bodily functions like muscle contraction and nerve functions. For mothers, high intake of calcium is important as you lose 300 to 400 milligrams of calcium on a daily basis because of breastfeeding. Thus, it is very essential that you eat different varieties of food that are rich in calcium. A small yogurt (eight ounces) has over 400 milligrams of calcium. This is why, it is recommended that you make it a habit of having a yogurt snack in a day. You can pair calcium-rich food with food rich with Vitamin D. This will increase absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals while breastfeeding. Some food rich with Vitamin D are tun, salmon, sardines, and fortified orange juice. When eating yogurt, you may avoid eating it together with spinach, collards, beans and sweet potatoes as they compete with calcium in body absorption.
- Garbanzo Beans. This is commonly known as chickpeas. This food is a good source of Vitamin B-6, fiber, and protein. Vitamin B-6 is essential for your baby’s cognitive development, hemoglobin production, and in your baby’s immunity. Half a cup of chickpeas a day will provide you more than half of the recommended amount of this nutrient needed in breastfeeding.