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Putting The Right Nutrients Into Your Breast Milk
During pregnancy the baby is like a parasite and will take all the nutrients it requires from you. If your diet is sufficient in nutrients for both, it does not cause problems. If, on the other hand, your diet is insufficient for both, then your recovery and the ability to produce breast milk after birth will take longer and if you still do not replenish your body stores during confinement, you may remain weak for a long time. time If you are breastfeeding, you should slightly increase the amount because you are eating for two. A nursing mother should continue to eat high-quality food recommended during pregnancy to establish lactation and maintain an adequate supply of her breast milk. A poor diet not only disturbs the nutritional content of her milk, but can also reduce the amount of milk produced. This is probably why our elders make such a fuss about eating well during the lockdown period. It is important that you eat a nutritious diet that includes all the major food groups at every meal.
Just remember the following pointers:
1. If you are breastfeeding, whatever you eat will be passed on to your baby through your breast milk, so it is important that you eat a balanced diet so that your baby gets the right nutrients for optimal growth and development.
2. Some food does cause the baby to become ‘windy’ or have loose stools. If you find that your baby is suddenly quite restless, try to think about what you have eaten in the last 12 hours. Avoid that food for a few days and then try again. If the same happens again, then you should avoid that particular food for a while and reintroduce it into your diet by taking a very small amount and see how baby reacts then slowly increase the amount so that baby gets used to the food.
3. You may find that your appetite is a little low especially during the first week. This is normal as your body readjusts to its non-pregnant state both physically and mentally so it is better to have small frequent meals instead of the normal 3 large meals a day.
4. You need to drink a lot of fluids to make enough breast milk and it is best that you get this from sources like soup or nutritional tea. Drinking too much plain water will dilute the breast milk and is therefore not nutritious for the baby.
So what should you eat?
Protein – The building blocks are amino acids, which contain oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen. Only eight amino acids are obtained from the food we eat. It is necessary for growth and repair of cells in the body. It helps make enzymes that allow us to digest food, produce antibodies and hormones. Too much protein in the body is converted into glucose and urea. Sources – Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, cereals (wheat, oats and rice), legumes (beans, lentils and peas), nuts and potatoes.
Fat soluble vitamins
Vitamin A – Retinol and Beta-carotene are necessary for cell division and growth. Maintaining healthy mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive and urinary tracts and is important for good eyesight.
Retinol – Liver, oily fish, dairy products and eggs.
Beta-carotene – Carrots, red peppers, mangoes, spinach and kale.
Vitamin D – Calciferols are necessary to absorb calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth and bones. It is also produced by exposing the skin to the sun. Sources – Eggs, tuna, salmon, sardines, fish liver oil and fortified margarines.
Vitamin E – Tocopherols prevent oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids by free radicals in cell membranes and other tissues. Sources – Vegetable oils, nuts, wheat germ, seeds and margarine.
Vitamin K – Phylloquinone is essential for forming certain proteins and for blood clotting. Sources – Green leafy vegetables especially green cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
Water soluble vitamins
Thiamine (B1) is needed to obtain energy from carbohydrates, fats and alcohol and to prevent the accumulation of toxic waste products. Sources – Pork, liver, heart, kidneys, nuts and pulses.
Riboflavin (B2) is necessary to release energy from food and for the functioning of vitamin B6 and niacin. Sources – Milk, yogurt, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and fortified cereals
Pyridoxine (B6) helps release energy from proteins and is also important for immune function, the nervous system and formation of red blood cells. Sources – Lean meat, poultry, eggs, fish, tofu, wholemeal bread, nuts, bananas, yeast and soybeans
Niacin produces energy in cells to form neurotransmitters. Support healthy skin and an efficient digestive system. Sources – Lean meat, poultry, pulses, potatoes, nuts and fortified cereals.
Pantothenic acid helps to release energy from food and is essential for synthesis of cholesterol, fat and red blood cells. Sources – Meat, vegetables, liver, dried fruits and nuts.
Biotin is important in the synthesis of fat and cholesterol. Sources – Liver, peanut butter, egg yolk and yeast extract.
Folic acid is necessary for cell division and the formation of DNA, RNA and proteins in the body. Sources – Brussels sprouts, liver, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, pulses, wheat germ, fortified breakfast cereals and bread.
Cyanocobalamin (B12) is needed to make DNA, RNA and myelin. It helps transport folate into cells. Sources – Meat, poultry, fish, tofu, eggs and dairy products.
Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is necessary to produce collagen and neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline and serotonin. It is an antioxidant in the body and helps absorption of iron. Sources – Fruits, especially citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, peppers, potatoes and vegetables.
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose and glycogen to give the body fuel for energy.
Glucose is in the blood and glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles. If the glucose level decreases, glycogen is converted into glucose for use. Sources – Sprouted grains, starchy root vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes, milk and dairy products.
o Saturated fats
o Monounsaturated fats
o Polyunsaturated fats
Rich source of calories for energy and provides fat soluble vitamins. It maintains healthy functions of the skin and body. Necessary for the production of sex hormones, synthesis of vitamin D and production of cell membranes and nerve sheaths. Sources – Butter, cheeses, fatty meat and all forms of cooking oil.
Potassium regulates heartbeat and maintains blood pressure. Maintain fluid and electrolyte balance within cells. Sources – Avocado, fresh and dried fruits, banana, seeds and nuts, citrus fruits, potato and legumes.
Calcium is an essential component of bones and teeth. Essential for nerve transmission, blood clotting and muscle function. Sources – Green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, canned sardines, milk and dairy products.
Chloride is essential for stomach acid formation. Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance. Sources – Salt and any food containing salt.
Magnesium is important for muscle contraction and aids in nerve impulses. It is an important component of bones and teeth. Sources – Whole grains, green vegetables, nuts, sesame seeds and pulses
Sodium works with potassium to regulate fluid balance. It is essential for nerve and muscle function. Sources – Table salt, processed meats, yeast extracts and canned anchovies
Phosphorus helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, helps release energy in cells and is essential for absorption of many nutrients. Sources – Red meat, poultry, fish and seafood, milk and dairy products, seeds and whole grains.
Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin which carries oxygen. It is necessary for synthesis of RNA, DNA and collagen for healthy gums, teeth and cartilage. Sources – Liver, kidneys, red meat, sardines, egg yolk, green leafy vegetables, raisins, dried apricots
Zinc is essential for normal growth, reproduction and immunity. It helps the activity of many enzymes. Sources – Oysters, animal proteins, beans, nuts, whole grains, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Selenium protects cells from free radical damage. It is essential for normal sexual development. Sources – Meat and fish, butter, avocados, Brazil nuts and lentils.
Water is essential for life. It is necessary for digestion and removal of waste products. It acts as a lubricant for eyes and joints and regulates body temperature. Sources – Beverages, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, bread and cereals, milk and dairy products.
Food for thought
Not only Asian communities recommend that lactating mothers refrain from eating fruits and vegetables, some Western communities do the same. In my opinion, the reason to avoid fruits and vegetables is that some contain high levels of oxalate, which interferes with calcium absorption. Lactating mothers require a high calcium intake for adequate milk production.
Fruits high in oxalate – kiwi, guava, star fruit, blueberries, figs and strawberries
Vegetables high in oxalates – Tapioca, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, garlic, watercress, brinjal, leek, turnip, chives, lady fingers, parsley and spinach
Tip – Blanching the fruits and vegetables could lower the oxalate level.
Fruits low in oxalate – Papaya, langsat, banana, avocado, cherries, lemon, mango, watermelon, honeydew melon, zuku, durian and peeled apples.
Vegetables low in oxalates – cauliflower, cabbage, kai lan, chard, green pea, capsicum, potato, tomato, cucumber, iceberg lettuce
Tip – If you love your fruits and vegetables and are concerned about calcium absorption, then it is best that you drink your milky drinks 3-4 hours before or after your main meals.
Avoid taking too much salt as this can reduce the production of breast milk. Cooling and windy food can contribute to a baby becoming colicky. Acidic food can increase bleeding in the mother and diarrhea in the baby. What you eat also depends on what you believe and who cooks for you. I hope that with the above information you will be able to tell your ‘chef’ what is best for you and your baby.
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