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Now that your pregnancy is over, you can finally gobble up those foods you have been staying away from, right? You are no longer ‘eating for two’, correct? Unfortunately, as much as we want to get excited and give a hyper ‘Yes!’, the reality is not as easy as that.
To be fair, you are not entirely wrong, but you are not all in the right as well. You are still eating for your baby, and recovering well. If you choose to breastfeed your baby, that is all the more reason to watch what you eat during postpartum confinement as some of your foods can find their way into breast milk.
Hence, no matter what, you just have to be careful. After you have given birth, take your time to heal and recuperate. The period after childbirth is always a delicate phase for new mothers. You have lost a lot of blood and energy which you should slowly take your time to revive.
Perhaps like yourself, many mothers in Singapore usually go through a one-month confinement period where they have to adhere to certain diets and practices. If you plan your diet properly, the best confinement food taken during this time can even help in restoring your body to its pre-pregnancy state and aid in your breast milk production.
Your Diet and Breast Milk
The simple truth is, almost everything that you eat can be transferred to your little one through breast milk. Therefore, for the sake of your baby and yourself, you should continue to watch your confinement food menu closely even after delivery. Remember, a mother in confinement should avoid any food that may have any detrimental effect on her health and that of the baby. The best gift you could give to your newborn is a mother who takes care of herself and produces quality milk.
The question of what food to avoid during breastfeeding can be pretty confusing to answer, especially because it is hard to say in black and white that some foods are good while the rest are bad. Rather, it mostly depends on your habit of consuming them. At the end of the day, having too much of anything can be bad.
Regardless, just for you to keep a lookout on your confinement diet, here is a list of food to avoid during confinement:
Seafood with High Mercury Content
This is pretty basic, but people who do not have time to go through the ingredients one by one can easily overlook this aspect. To them, fish is just fish. ‘As long it is cooked, you’re safe’ — but are you, really? Sure, seafood contains high levels of high proteins and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for boosting intelligence and the development of a healthy brain.
However, some seafood contains high levels of mercury that can affect brain and nervous system development in babies. Therefore, try to stay away from fish such as sharks, king mackerels, swordfish, and white albacore tuna.
Caffeine & Alcohol
Excessive caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea as well as alcoholic drinks are sweet but they may have adverse effects on you and your baby. It is crucial to note that caffeine does leak into breast milk and your baby may not metabolize caffeine as fast as an adult. Thus, excessive intake may cause issues like insomnia and elevated heartbeat subsequently making babies restless too.
Similarly, if you regularly drink, the alcohol in your milk may affect brain development. Some of the worse cases also saw moms having problems with reduced milk letdown after their intake of alcohol.
Cold & Raw Foods
Cold and raw foods are said to introduce ‘wind’ into your body, which may later cause gas problems or other serious health issues. The actual effect may not be as bad as it sounds, but mothers have practised staying away from this type of food for a long time. While you are free to follow or ignore this commonly shared advice, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
What are some examples of cold food? They may be cold and raw vegetables such as cabbage, watercress, and cucumbers which you would not see as often in food for confinement mothers. It is believed that your stomach and spleen are in the recovery process at this point, so these types of foods may slow down the healing process and cause bloating.
Hot and Spicy Foods
If you love hot chilli peppers, then it is time to say goodbye to them for a few months. Spicy food is delicious but is highly likely to cause stomach discomfort and other problems. Straining to have a bowel movement is the last thing any mother would need especially if you have wounds in your perineal area.
Highly Processed Foods
Highly processed foods are often high in salt, fat and sugar. They may provide excessive calories without substantial essential nutrients like what whole foods would give us to support our health. Thus, frequent intake of highly processed foods may promote excessive weight gain yet fail to provide adequate micronutrients which are essential to promote wound recoveries such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Iron and Zinc. Excessive salt intake from such foods would also possibly promote water retention. Mothers are not necessarily encouraged to reduce salt intake, but where in excess, it should be avoided as part of a healthy diet.
If you wish to recover fast and boost your immunity, you can try to stay away from these foods during confinement. At this point after the delivery, your body is highly susceptible to bacteria and germs, so paying attention to the confinement food you eat to avoid food that can irritate your body and actually avoiding them can prevent severe infection or delayed healing.
Of course, this will also be extremely useful when you have to plan up your confinement menu. Having said everything, the key is to take everything moderately. As long as the foods are consumed in moderation, the claimed ‘negative effects’ should be minimal and it is, after all, still important for you to have a balanced diet during your confinement period.
If you have been wondering about food to avoid during breastfeeding Singapore mothers often follow, we hope we have helped you with it through this blog!