The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
- Drinking enough fluids to quench thirst is enough to support a healthy milk supply.
Drinking to quench thirst is enough to support a healthy milk supply.85 Women are frequently instructed to drink extra fluids to increase milk supply. This is a common misunderstanding, however, and excessive fluid intake should be avoided.86
- Calcium and calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and tofu, are especially important during breast-feeding.
A woman should continue to take prenatal vitamins in order to meet the nutrient requirements of breast-feeding. Especially important is continued intake of calcium and calcium-rich foods.
- Eating foods that contain essential fatty acids, such as canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, nut and seed oils, and fish, will ensure higher quantities of EFAs in the breast milk.
Breast milk contains essential fatty acids. The fat composition of breast milk varies with a woman’s diet. If a woman consumes foods that provide essential fatty acids (e.g., vegetable oils such as canola oil, corn oil, and safflower oil; nut and seed oils; and fish), the breast milk she produces will contain higher quantities of essential fatty acids.87
- Breast-feeding women need even more calories than pregnant women: most need about 2,800 calories per day to meet the energy needs of breast-feeding.
The caloric needs of a breast-feeding woman are even higher than during pregnancy. An extra 400 to 500 calories per day above pregnancy requirements are needed. Most women should consume approximately 2,800 calories per day to meet the energy needs of breast-feeding.88 Therefore, under most circumstances, doctors discourage dieting (i.e., calorie restriction). Weight loss following pregnancy usually occurs naturally, particularly if a woman can engage in moderate exercise. Breast-feeding uses up fat stores, and is a natural way to lose weight.
- Breast-feeding women should eat a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fish while limiting refined sugars, white flour, and processed foods.