Breastfeeding is an emotional bonding between a mother and a baby which benefits both.
Your breast milk:
While you were pregnant, your body was preparing a very special blend of nutrients to meet your baby's need. Colostrum (early breast milk) is an excellent food for him/her. This yellowish, creamy substance is found in the breast during pregnancy and for a few days after delivery. Your colostrum provides all the valuable nutrition that your baby needs right after birth. It also provides important protection against bacteria and virus. Colostrum also acts as a natural laxative (something that makes it easier to have bowel movements).
Benefits of breastfeeding for your baby:
- Breastfeeding provides physical contact and helps mother and baby get well acquainted
- Antibodies from mother are passed through the milk, giving baby greatest protection to infection, such as respiratory viruses
- Breast milk is quickly absorbed and causes less stomach upset, constipation and diarrhea compared to formula
- Breastfed babies are less likely to develop allergies
- Breastfeeding decreases the chance of your baby developing an ear infection, diabetes, Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis in later life
- Breastfeeding reduces the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of childhood obesity
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother:
- Breastfeeding after giving birth causes contraction of the uterus, which helps to prevent heavy bleeding
- Breastfeeding is economical and more convenient. There is nothing to wash, sterilize, mix or prepare
- Breastfeeding helps the mother to return to pre-pregnancy weight sooner
- Breastfeeding triggers the release of prolactin hormone also known as mothering hormone, which promotes a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
Superfoods for breastfeeding mother:
Though water is not a food, it's important for your milk supply. Staying hydrated is very important during breastfeeding, without enough, you will be dehydrated and low on energy. Non-caffeinated drinks, as well as soup and juicy fruit and vegetables, count too.
Oats are high in fiber and a bowl of oatmeal will keep you full for a long time and help you increase your milk supply.
3. Low-Fat dairy products:
Yogurt, milk or cheese, dairy products are an important part of healthy breastfeeding. Milk delivers a boost of bone-strengthening Vitamins D. In addition, it provides protein and Vitamin B. Try including your preferred dairy each day in your diet.
4. Nuts and seeds:
Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition and a great source of protein, fibers, vitamin, minerals, antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which protects you from heart disease.
Iron-rich beans, particularly dark-colored beans and kidney beans, are a great source of breastfeeding food, especially for vegetarians.
Salmon is a great source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) and omega-3 fatty acids which are highly nutritious and essential for lactating mothers.
7. Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply.
- Can be taken along with a glass of water or Milk
- It enhances your milk quantity
Eggs are a versatile way to meet your daily protein needs. Opt for DHA-fortified eggs to boost the level of essential fatty acid in your milk.
9. Leafy greens:
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli are filled with vitamin A, which is good for you and your baby. Green veggies are also filled with heart-healthy antioxidants and are low in calories.
10. Brown rice:
Brown rice provides your body with the calories it needs to produce the best quality milk for your baby.
Eat heart-healthy monounsaturated oils, such as olive and canola oil. Avoid processed foods and high-fat meats, that are often loaded with unhealthy saturated fat.