Losing those extra pounds gained during pregnancy may be among your top goals after delivery. Of course, you also want to stay healthy and active for your sake and that of your baby. What many moms don’t know is that consuming healthy foods doesn’t necessarily mean better quality breast milk. The reality is that the quality of your breast milk remains almost the same, irrespective of the food you eat. However, when you are not getting the essential nutrients from your food intake, your body extracts them from your own storage, which is why you would feel very tired. Therefore, you should choose healthy snacks so that you have an adequate overall nutrition. It is not for better breast milk, it is for a better you!
Following is a list of important nutrients you need while breastfeeding:
Proteins: Proteins are structural components of body tissues and are essential for all living organisms. Choosing snacks that are high in protein content will help provide the nursing mother with the necessary energy. Egg-containing products such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, roasted chickpeas, and peanut butter are foods rich in proteins.
Folic acid: The need to include folic acid in your diet does not end with pregnancy. This nutrient also has to be transferred to the baby through breastfeeding. Some of the products which contain folic acid are whole grain bread, wheat bread, multigrain products, pasta, etc.
Iron: Iron is an important mineral which plays several roles in the human body. Most importantly, it produces red blood cells, which supply oxygen to various organs. Iron is essential for both mother and baby because iron deficiency leads to anemia and other developmental disorders. Foods that are rich in iron include dried fruits (apricots, grapes, etc.), fortified breakfast cereals, snacks made with whole grains, roasted nuts, roasted beans, animal liver, beans, etc.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is needed to help the body absorb iron properly. Intake of foods and snacks rich in vitamin C ensures proper absorption of iron. Try snacking on oranges, other citrus fruits, and dried citrus fruits or fruit concentrate to make sure that you get adequate vitamin C to absorb the iron you get from your diet. If you cannot eat a whole orange, try sipping orange juice or lemon juice now and then.
Calcium: Calcium is essential for bone development. Taking an adequate amount of calcium in your diet helps your baby develop healthy bones. It also helps in preventing you from getting bone disorders. Foods rich in calcium are milk, milk-containing products like yogurt, cheese, etc., soy-containing products, tofu, calcium-fortified products, and dark green vegetables.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D containing foods include cheese and vitamin D-fortified milk, fish, soy milk, cereals, and egg yolks.
Water: Although water is not solid food, it is essential to manage the energy-draining dehydration that often occurs during and after breastfeeding. Water also increases milk production.
Of course, the above list does not include all the healthy snacks for breastfeeding moms. However, it does include some of the most important nutrients you should consider to munch to keep you and your baby healthy and energetic.