Your baby has arrived and you’ve started breastfeeding. It’s the perfect time not only to feed, but also to bond with baby. Your body will give breast milk first priority on vitamins and minerals; therefore, it’s essential to listen to your body in order to stay strong and healthy.
1. Keep Hydrated
Close to 90% of breast milk is water. Dehydration may lead to fatigue, poor concentration, constipation and headaches. It’s important to keep yourself well hydrated.
Simple tip: Keep a pitcher filled with water available at all times. Add zest and flavor by infusing it with slices of orange and lemon.
2. Eat Cold Water Fish
Wild salmon, cod, sardines, halibut and other cold-water fatty fish are important of omega-3 fatty acids, which are high in EPA and DHA. These fats give your baby a good brain boost and help aid in neurological development. Most moms are unable to get enough omega-3s through diet alone. Eating fish several times a week can be tough on the palate and the pocketbook. That’s why reaching for a high-quality omega-3 supplement from Nordic Naturals is a smart idea. Their Prenatal DHA can be continued while breastfeeding. It provides a quality source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which is crucial not only in brain development of children, but also for eye function and immune system support. Research has even shown that it increases learning ability in children. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega is a good source of both EPA and DHA. Research shows EPA supports mood health, another important consideration for new moms.
Simple tip: When choosing fish, opt for wild-caught when available. Select fresh fish that don’t smell overly fishy, and avoid large fish like bluefin tuna, sea bass, and monkfish, because they tend to have higher levels of mercury and PCBs.
3. Eat Many Mini-Meals
The body, especially the adrenal glands, likes the structure of regular meals. It’s difficult for new moms to keep up with the increased need for calories during breastfeeding. New moms tend to forget to eat until they are ravenous. Then, they grab whatever is easy—usually an unhealthy snack. Instead, try for frequent mini- meals throughout the day to fuel your body and keep hunger at bay.
Simple tip: Keep nuts, seeds, fruits, cut-up veggies, and healthy dips like hummus, salsa and bean dip handy and snack on them throughout the day. This will not only keep you feeling strong, but also prepare you for the years to come when you will want to feed your constantly hungry toddler with delicious, healthy snacks.
4. Eat More Fiber
Fiber-rich foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds not only help with constipation, but also increase absorption of nutrients and stabilize blood sugar.
Simple tip: Aim for 30 to 50 grams of fiber a day. Try topping your hot or cold cereal with berries, and sprinkle seeds and nuts on salads. You can also mix different dark greens in a salad (kale and chard are delicious together), as well as adding beans and lentils to your main meals.
Dr. Heather Manley, ND, is a practicing physician who received her medical degree in 2001 from National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She is also the award-winning author of The Human Body Detectives series.
Disclaimer: Nordic Naturals is a paid sponsor for the Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) Campaign 2015. The opinions expressed by Nordic Naturals, Heather Manley, NC, and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of PAM or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Nordic Naturals or Heather Manley, ND. Always consult with your medical provider regarding any personal health questions or decisions (including nutrition, diet, and exercise).