Breastmilk is very nutritious. It contains all the vital nutrients that help the baby grow strong and build a good immunity. As a mother, breastfeeding your baby is an amazing thing. Beyond providing the baby the best nourishment, you are also strengthening the motherhood bond. It is definitely one of the most cherished phases in a mother’s life.
Photo via Mother's Day Campaign 2022
The production of breastmilk is regulated by your body. However, what you eat does influence the contents of the breastmilk. Thus, it is advised that you should eat balanced meals during breastfeeding. This way, your baby gets a balanced nutrition and also a varied taste.
However, to keep your breastmilk safe and healthy for your baby, there are certain things that you may need to avoid during the breastfeeding period.
What should you avoid?
Here are a few things that are good to avoid during breastfeeding.
Alcohol consumption may best be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. How much alcohol makes its way to the breastmilk depends on how much you have consumed and also on the time lapse between alcohol consumption and breastfeeding. However, traces of alcohol can be found in breastmilk even after a couple of hours of consumption.
Apart from being bad for your baby, consumption of alcohol is also linked to reduced milk supply in lactating mothers. Hence, it is best to completely stop alcohol consumption while you are breastfeeding.
You can safely consume coffee during breastfeeding. However, too much of coffee is bad for you and the baby. Caffeine, too, finds its way into breastmilk. This can affect your baby’s sleep patterns and lead to crankiness.
Drinking coffee in moderation is okay. However, make sure you are waiting for at least about 2 hours before breastfeeding the baby after having coffee. Many first-time mums choose to completely avoid coffee during breastfeeding. When it comes to energy drinks that contain caffeine, it may be best to stay away from them.
Processed Food / Junk Food
Processed food are high in calories, and unhealthy fats and sugar. They don’t provide any essential nutrients. While an occasional slice of pizza won’t cause any harm, too much of processed food will reduce the nutritional value of your breastmilk.
Also, since the taste of breastmilk is influenced by the food you eat, having too much of junk food during breastfeeding is linked with breastfed children preferring unhealthy foods when they grow up.
Both active and passive smoking needs to be strictly avoided while you are breastfeeding. Cigarettes contain nicotine which passes into your breastmilk. This can make babies fussy and hamper their sleep. It can also reduce your milk supply.
It is important to quit smoking during breastfeeding. It is also important to keep your baby away from second hand smoke to reduce the risk of lung and breathing problems.
Fish with high mercury content
Fish such as freshly caught tuna have a high content of mercury in them. Mercury in breastmilk can impact the neurological development of your baby. Hence, it is suggested that breastfeeding mothers avoid high-mercury fish in their diet.
If you are taking medicines for existing health conditions, it is best to consult your doctor to verify whether it is okay to continue the medication during breastfeeding. Avoid going for over-the-counter medicines and take all prescription medicines only after checking with your doctor whether they are safe for nursing mums.
As a mother, you want the best for your baby. If you have chosen to breastfeed, congratulations! You have taken the right step towards giving your baby the nutrition she needs. A little care in making healthy food choices during this period can go a long way in promoting your baby’s health.
Mummy Sarah breastfeeding her little one, wearing Hensley Crew Tee and Bridget Shorts.
Take care, mummies. Remember to be happy and enjoy this phase. A happy mummy means a happy baby. ;)
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