Breast feeding is a very essential way for mothers to pass desired nutrients to the newborn babies. Breast feeding causes some biochemical reaction which allows for enzymes, hormones, growth factor and immunological substances to effectively defend against infectious diseases that affect the infant. Breast feeding continues for at least 12 months.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrients for a newborn baby. Breast milk is made up of nutrients gotten from the mother’s blood stream and bodily stores. It contains a balance of fat, sugar, water and protein, which is needed for a baby’s growth and development. The protein in breast milk are easier to digest than those found in cow milk or infant formulas. Also the calcium and iron in breast milk are more easily absorbed into the body.
A mother’s food intake may affect the taste and composition of her breast milk. Eating foods that have a variety of flavours help influence the eating habit of a child. When infants are exposed to food first through breast milk, they are more likely to crave for such in solid form once they introduced to the foods. A lactating mother should focus on eating a balanced diet because it is beneficial for them and their babies.
Many lactating mothers complain constantly of hunger and this is attributed to the amount of calorie that your body uses to produce each ounce of milk. So it is beneficial for lactating mothers to eat nutrient-dense foods to help replenish the body with the vital nutrient needs. Below are some super foods which have been clinically proven to nourish lactating mothers with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
- Green Leafy Vegetables
Consumption of vegetables is the first step in defending against low milk supply. Consumption of green leafy vegetables will benefit your health and also establish a good eating habit for your baby to follow when they begin consuming solid food. Green leafy vegetables contain phytoestrogens which have a positive effect on milk production.
Avocado contain nearly 80% fat and are nutritional power house for lactating mothers. The fat content of avocado helps to maintain the feeling of fullness and also provides the body with heart-healthy fats. Avocados are also good sources of B vitamins, vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Certain kinds of mushrooms are good sources of polysaccharide beta-glucan, which are known to be principle lactogenic agent. Women who increase their intake of mushroom have seen increase in milk production. Shiitake, shimeji, reishi and oyster mushroom have the highest content of beta-glucan.
Nuts are sources of essential minerals such as calcium , iron and zinc. They also contain vitamin B complex and vitamin K. Nuts also serve as source of essential fatty acids and proteins.
- Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes have proven to be good sources of vitamins, proteins, minerals and phytoestrogen. It is good to eat a variety of beans and legumes to improve your general health and also ensure that you have a healthy milk supply.
Seeds provide a concentrated source of all the nutrients found in mature plants. Seeds are high in protein and essential minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium. Seeds also contain healthy fats. Seeds have been used for centuries to help promote milk production and health of breast feeding mothers. Every seed has its own genetic and nutritional makeup, so you can choose a variety seeds like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that have demonstrated in clinical studies to be important to the health and well being of lactating mothers. It helps in preventing and treating mastitis and eases the symptoms associated with breast engorgement. Turmeric is also believed to boost the immune system of both the mother and the baby towards fighting off cold and coughs.
As a lactating mother, do your best to follow a balanced diet. Try to eat small meals with healthy snacks in between to keep your hunger in check and keep your energy level high.