One of the ways to help your baby get the right nutrients while breastfeeding is to eat healthy. It might seem like the obvious choice, but by making healthy food choices you can and your baby can benefit greatly such as protecting the baby from infection and illness.
Essential nutrients a mother needs while breastfeeding includes a variety of vegetables and fruits, seafood, poultry, lean meats, eggs, beans and nuts, fat-free or low-fat milk or soy products with added calcium, brown rice, 100% whole-wheat bread and other whole grains such as oats and barley plus fortified cereals. Babies especially need vitamin D for healthy bone growth, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough and if not, talk to your baby’s doctor or nurse.
Some of the basics about breastfeeding your baby is to try breastfeed for the first 6 to 12 months after birth. Tell your doctor, midwife or nurse that you want to breastfeed within 1 hour of your baby’s birth because after the first hour, your baby will be sleepy. If you have a health condition or are taking any medicines, talking to a doctor or midwife about breastfeeding before your baby is born.
The important benefits that breast milk has for baby is that it contains the right amount of protein, fat, sugar and water to help your baby grow in addition to making it easier for babies to digest as opposed to formula. But there are also benefits for mom for breastfeeding as well such as saving your family thousands of dollars, burning calories by helping mother’s lose some pregnancy weight, lower the risk of diabetes, depression and some types of breast and ovarian cancers. However, probably the biggest benefit for moms is that breastfeeding allows for a strong bond between mother and baby by getting to know each other and time to be close.
Even though breastfeeding is natural, it certainly isn’t easy and it may take time and practice for you and your baby to get it right. Some women may experience problems at first, but talking to your doctor, nurse or lactation counselor can usually solve these problems.
For more information on breastfeeding basics and actions new mothers should know, please visit www.healthfinder.gov or visit www.chicagoareabfc.org, which is a local network dedicated to protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding and increasing its acceptance in the greater Chicago area.