Breastfeeding While Doing Confinement: What You Eat Matters!
Many breastfeeding mothers wonder whether the foods they eat will affect their breast milk. Well, the answer is yes! Hence, eating healthy is especially important when you are a breastfeeding mom. In your baby’s first year, your baby will gain triple of their birth weight. To grow that much, they will need a lot of nutrients. That means you will use a lot of energy and nutrients for breastfeeding and that’s why it is important to have a balanced and nutritious diet.
In case you didn’t know, breast milk is the ideal nutrition for your growing baby. Your breast milk provides all the nutrients your baby needs. Not to mention it is easy for your baby to digest and get the most of its nutrients. While eating well at any time during your breastfeeding stage is crucial, a nutritious diet is especially important for you during the first few week after labour, which is also known as the confinement period. This is because it is when your body requires sufficient nutrients to recover on top of producing breast milk. Read on while we share more with you about how breast milk boosts your baby’s growth, the food you should eat, and the food you should avoid during breastfeeding.
How Breast Milk Boost Your Newborn’s Growth
Some of the nutrients that your baby will benefit from breast milk include:
- Fat: Breast milk contains an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. In general, fat provides energy for your baby, helps with brain development, maintains healthy skin and hair, and protects your baby against various infections.
- Protein – Breast milk is rich in protein, which is what your baby needs to build, repair and maintain tissues and organs. It also protects your baby against sickness.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs keep your growing infant energized and fuel their healthy growth.
- Lactose: Lactose in breast milk helps to promote the growth of good bacteria in your baby’s stomach, helping to minimize the risk of infection for your baby.
- Calcium: Calcium helps your baby to build strong bones and teeth.
- Vitamins: Vitamin A in your breast milk is essential for your baby’s healthy vision. Meanwhile like calcium, the vitamin D in your breast milk help your baby to build strong bones and teeth. Breast milk also contains vitamin C to support your baby’s immune system.
Breastfeeding Fun Facts
It is estimated that your body needs around 500 calories a day just for breastfeeding. Therefore, you may feel hungry and thirsty more often. Prepare some healthy snacks in a container or jar so that you can grab something when you are hungry. You can check on MumChecked for some good quality food containers.
Other than that, keeping yourself hydrated will help to ease lactation. Hence, it is ideal if there is a glass of water available for you when breastfeeding. Take a sip before or during breastfeeding. Remember to drink in moderation, and it is unnecessary to take more than you feel comfortable with. You will know you drink enough water when your urine is clear.
Food to Improve Lactation
Some of the best foods to boost milk supply include:
- Oats: Oats is one of the well-known lactation-friendly foods available. While the results are different for everyone, many breastfeeding moms have experienced an increase in milk flow after adding oats to their diet. Lactation oat cookies, oatmeal, oatmilk are some of the delicious oat treats you can try.
- Fennel: Both the fennel plant and its seeds contain phytoestrogens, a natural substance in plants that encourage breast milk production. You may try adding fennel to your dishes or soups, or make tea with fennel seeds.
- Papaya: Papayas have a long history of being lactation-boosting food in many Asian cultures. In particular, many breastfeeding moms find green papaya helpful in boosting their milk flow. Our confinement meal menu includes green papaya fish soup along to ease your lactation.
Food to Avoid
What you eat will definitely digest and diffuse in your breast milk. Hence, there is some food to avoid during confinement in order to safeguard your well-being and that of the newborn that you are nursing:
When you consume food with caffeine, a small amount can be transferred to your baby during breastfeeding. That said, in moderation, a small sip of caffeinated drink will not cause harm to your baby. The key here is to wait for at least two hours to breastfeed if you have consumed coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks. Furthermore, you should pay attention to your baby’s reaction after you have introduced caffeine into your diet too. You may consider to avoid caffeine if you notice your baby is being extra fussy or having trouble sleeping.
Some Chinese confinement dishes tend to include alcohol, as alcohol is traditionally believed to help warm your body after delivery. Like caffeine, the key here is timing and moderation. Aside from keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum, you are recommended to do some scheduling if you plan to consume alcohol, whether in the form of dishes, or drink. Usually, it will take around 2 hours for alcohol to fully clear from your body. You can drink a glass of wine at least 2 to 3 hours before you breastfeed your baby. If your breasts are full while you are still feeling the effects of alcohol, you can pump and dispose of your breast milk.
One meal will not affect the quality and quantity of your breast milk. However, if the amount of nutrients in your overall diet is insufficient in the long run, it is very likely that the nutrition your baby get will be compromised. Therefore, we would recommend that you pay more attention to the confinement food you have. Skip the hassle of creating your own confinement diet plan, as Tian Wei Signature’s confinement food menu is dietitian-guided and well-balanced to keep you properly nourished! You are the sole source of nutrients for your newborn, what you eat matters!
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