Best Foods for Lactation

Lactation is how a mother produces and secretes milk to feed her infant. During this time, a mother’s body has unique nutritional needs to support her health and her baby’s health. Proper nutrition is essential to ensure the baby receives the nutrients for healthy growth and development.

Lactating mothers require a balanced and varied diet to ensure they and their babies receive the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development. A diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and water can provide the essential nutrients that lactating mothers need.

It is also important to avoid certain foods that can pass through breast milk and cause discomfort or harm to the baby. 

This article will discuss the best foods and nutrition for lactating mothers.

Proteins

Proteins are essential for the growth and development of the baby’s tissues and organs. Lactating mothers require an additional 25 grams of protein per day. Good protein sources include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and dairy products.

It is recommended that lactating mothers consume at least 3 servings of protein per day.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy to the body and are important for lactating mothers who require extra energy to produce milk. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates. It is recommended that lactating mothers consume at least 6 servings of carbohydrates per day.

  • Fats

Fats are essential for developing the baby’s brain and nervous system. Lactating mothers require additional fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. It is recommended that lactating mothers consume at least 3 servings of fat per day.

  • Calcium

Calcium is essential for the growth and development of the baby’s bones and teeth. Lactating mothers require at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods.

  • Iron

Iron is important for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body’s tissues. Lactating mothers require an additional 9 milligrams of iron per day. Good sources of iron include lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, and fortified cereals.

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium and developing the baby’s bones and teeth. Lactating mothers require at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods.

  • Water

Lactating mothers require additional water to produce milk. It is recommended that lactating mothers drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.

Avoid certain foods

Lactating mothers should avoid certain foods that can pass through breast milk and cause discomfort or harm to the baby. These include alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. 

In conclusion, consult a registered dietitian/nutritionist for personalized nutrition recommendations.

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Wanjiku Gachoka is a seasoned nutritionist with over ten years of experience. Her passion for educating communities on matters related to diet and nutrition has been the driving force behind her work.
Her main goal is to promote health and wellness while advocating for zero hunger.
Her approach to nutrition is grounded in making informed decisions, and she believes knowledge is power.

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