You want the best for your baby, so breast milk is the obvious choice. There’s some worry, though. You don’t think you’ll be able to stick to a really healthy diet while you’re breastfeeding. You don’t want to harm your baby with milk produced by an unideal eater, right?
How an Imperfect Diet Affects Breast Milk
You tend to use sugar to make yourself feel better. You frequently need a shot of caffeine to wake up in the morning. Sometimes making dinner is just the straw to break the camel’s back, so you resort to pizza or fast food. Also, there are too long days that call for a glass of wine to settle your frazzled nerves. The milk that comes out of you can’t be any good, right?
The good news is that your diet doesn’t have to be perfect for your breast milk to be the best nourishment for your infant. Keep in mind that this is nature’s provision. A mother’s milk is designed to nourish and protect the baby even during times of hardship and hunger. This means that the quality of your diet has minimal influence on your milk being the best nutrition and immunological protection that your baby can have.
You should note the qualifier “minimal.” Even if the amount of influence is seemingly negligible, it still exists, and there are instances when it would actually call attention. In what areas does diet affect milk?
1.Diet does affect the concentration of vitamins and minerals in breast milk.
If your regular diet has a good amount of vitamins and minerals in it, there’s no need to supplement. Vegan moms may have to supplement with vitamin B12, however. Vitamin D is another vitamin that generally requires supplementation.
When it comes to minerals, iodine is the essential mineral that your milk could be low on. Speak to your doctor to see if you or your baby needs to supplement.
2. Diet may also affect the probiotics in your milk.
If you have a lot of beneficial bacteria in your gut, you may pass them on through your breast milk. Research has found that milk from obese mothers tends to have a less diverse bacterial community than that of normal weight mothers.
Studies also show that moms who take probiotics while nursing can lower their baby’s risk of eczema by up to 40 percent.
3.Diet may also affect the flavor of your milk.
The flavor of your breast milk shifts depending on what you’ve eaten. This may indicate that your diet while breastfeeding could influence your children’s taste preferences. Research has also found that exclusive breastfeeding may lead to less picky toddlers.
4.There are some warnings against certain food items.
Nursing moms are advised to restrict, not eliminate, their caffeine and alcohol intake. Meanwhile, they are also warned against fish that are high in mercury content.
Naturally, if there is a history of food allergies in the family, observe how your baby reacts to your milk after you’ve eaten something somebody in the family is sensitive to. If you’re up to making a breastfeeding diet plan, you might want to steer clear of known food allergens.
A Good Diet Is Still Imperative
Having established that your diet has very little impact on the quality of your milk, it remains that there are other compelling reasons why breastfeeding moms should eat as well as possible. While your milk would still meet your baby’s needs even if you live mostly on junk food, you yourself wouldn’t thrive on that diet.
There are ways to make your breastfeeding experience as healthy as possible. One of the most important tips for moms who want to do breastfeeding right is to eat well. A poor diet really affects you more than it does your baby. Having to take care of an infant is exhausting, so it’s important that you’re properly nourished to cope with the demands of motherhood.
Take in sufficient calories and fluid to avoid feeling drained. You don’t have to consume more than the usual, however, to maintain milk supply. Milk production is mainly influenced by the frequency of your baby’s feeding.
At the end of the day, good nutrition isn’t necessarily for maintaining breast milk quality, but for sustaining a taxed and tired mother through the whole exhausting period.