Why it’s important to eat healthy when breastfeeding

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Good nutrition plays an important role in harnessing the breastfeeding journeys of both mom and baby, and a nutritionist advises how.

The World Health Organisation encourages moms to breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months of their lives. Breastfeeding is the perfect way to provide a baby with all the nutrients they need.

Finding the time and the energy to eat properly when you have a new baby to care for can be challenging, so here are a few helpful tips from nutritionist Fiona Hunter:

Later stages of pregnancy:

In the later stages of pregnancy, you may find you can only manage small meals. To compensate, have a small but nutritious mid-morning snack and another in the afternoon.

Healthy choices include:

  • oatcakes topped with hummus
  • peanut butter;
  • a cereal bar or a smoothie.

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Tips for tired and busy new moms:

  • A glass of warm milk just before bed will help you sleep better and will provide additional calcium which is needed to keep you and your baby’s bones healthy.
  • Keep a small plastic container or a resealable bag filled with dried fruit, nuts or a cereal bar in your handbag or glove compartment so you always have a healthy snack on hand; this also means you are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy choices.
  • Before you settle down to breastfeed, prepare yourself a snack so you can refuel while your baby is feeding. It is best not to have hot drinks while breastfeeding to avoid accidents, but make sure you have a glass of water, fruit juice or a smoothie within easy reach.
  • It’s easy to forget meal times, so set the alarm on your phone to remind yourself that it is time to eat.
  • Keep a supply of healthy ready-made meals in the freezer, so when you are short on time or lacking the energy to cook, you can just re-heat a meal.
  • Most ready-made meals are low on vegetables, so cook some extra vegetables to serve alongside. Some ready-made meals are also high in salt and/or saturated fat, so check the nutrition information on the label before buying these.
  • Make your own meals when you find time and put them in the freezer.

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Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If friends or family offer to assist by doing the shopping or cooking from time-to-time, let them.


Fiona Hunter

 

Fiona Hunter is a highly respected, experienced and qualified nutritionist, food writer and broadcaster. She is known for her honest and practical, evidence-based approach to nutrition. Fiona believes in the principle that ‘there’s no such thing as a bad food, only a bad diet.’ Of course, some foods are healthier than others but, providing most of what you eat most of the time is healthy and balanced, that’s enough. Learn more about Fiona Hunter here.

 

 

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