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Newborn babies rely on their mother’s milk for the first six months. Everything that a the mother takes (good or bad) is transferred into the mother’s milk, even if sometimes the traces may be too minimal to cause any effect on the baby’s body. During this period, the mother has to watch her diet keenly to ensure that the baby gets all the nutrients necessary for its development. A good diet also aids in the proper functioning of the mother’s body and the baby’s. This comprises a balanced breastfeeding-friendly diet comprising carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, and minerals. She should try her best to stay away from any meals that may cause adverse effects on the baby.
Maintaining a nutritious diet is not only essential for the baby, but it also preserves the mother’s energy at healthy levels. Professional caterers, caretakers, and nannies will always advise you against taking some foods, but you can always take them in limited quantities provided they do not cause any harmful effects to the child. However, there are some specific foods that you should avoid at all costs due to their harmful health effects on the baby. Some of them include:
Understandably, alcoholic drinks are one of the things you look forward to having after months of pregnancy. However, consuming too much alcohol can take a toll on your baby as it can be passed down to your breast milk. The baby’s liver is not strong enough to handle any alcohol in the system. This is not to say it is totally harmful, as there is no harmful report from moderate intake of alcohol of 1 standard drink per day by breastfeeding mothers. This is reasonable news as wine is typically included in some confinement dishes and soups to give them warm properties as aligned with Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. Thus, if you wish to take a glass of alcohol, do not worry, as you may still do so. Have it and leave a two to three-hour gap before you breastfeed, or drink it after you are done breastfeeding. By then, the alcohol should already be at minimal levels in the blood. Hence, if you must, the best time to drink is right after breastfeeding. Next, just like everything else, the key is to keep it in moderation.
Most kinds of seafood are rich in proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids essential for the improvement of the baby’s nervous system. However, some seafood, such as tuna and sharks, have high levels of mercury, which may lead to brain damage and other developmental problems. Other fishes may potentially have high levels of mercury, such as swordfish and king mackerel.
If you simply cannot resist eating fish every other day, all you have to do is be more selective. Choose one that will not be as risky. If you think ahead and carefully pick your fish, that fish can be the best dish on your plate that can extensively benefit you and your baby.
Spicy food cooked using mustard, pepper, and chilli is always hot and delicious. However, it can easily cause gastrointestinal discomfort and heartburn in some mummies. If you do not experience any experience, moderate amounts of spicy food intake is acceptable.
Yes, tea as well. When we talk about caffeine, the first thing that would pop into your head is probably coffee, and rightfully so. You may feel like going back to your usual routine of having 2-3 cups of coffee or tea every day, but be careful. Sure, it can be harmless, but just like everything else, you have to be careful. Caffeine can end up in your breast milk and thus may cause your baby to be fussy and perhaps not want to sleep. If their sleeping schedule gets messy, that means yours will be too.
Parsley, Peppermint and Sage
If you have always been someone who enjoys cooking, we believe these herbs are no strangers to you. Sure, they make great additions to your meals in terms of enhancing the flavours, but using them may come at a cost. Unfortunately, some mummies are anecdotal because of a lower milk supply after consuming some of these herbs. There is no scientific evidence that this would affect all mothers. Hence, do take them in moderation. You may skip them altogether if you notice that you are producing less milk.
Can food harm your breastfed baby? How can you tell?
The effects would normally show, so in a way, your baby will ‘let you know’. Since there is no way to tell what exactly can affect your baby, it would be better to take one new food at a time and not all at once. Practise this with all foods, but especially do so with foods that you or your family members are allergic to. That said, take note of the possible problems that may occur afterwards. Some reactions that indicate that what you ate was not suitable for your baby are:
- Allergic reactions, eczema, or red and itchy rashes
- Breathing problems like congestion
- Fussiness (that is unlike other normal days)
- Excessive gas
While these symptoms may be caused by other things, it is still crucial to consider that perhaps your diet is the cause.
If you suspect that your baby is having a negative reaction to something that you are eating, talk to your doctor before completely omitting it from your diet. Who knows, maybe the food is not the cause. Likewise, if the food is indeed the cause, your doctor would probably prescribe you some supplements to make up for the nutrients that you supposedly get from the said food.
Thousands of dishes are available for consumption by breastfeeding mothers. However, you should be very particular about anything you consume, especially if you have family members with allergic reactions to some foods. Thankfully, Singapore confinement catering services can help you through this tough time. Remember that your diet is important in helping your recovery and your baby’s growth to go smoothly, so every meal you take should be safe and nutritious for your newborn child.