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Breast-feeding- What to Eat When Breast Feeding?

We ask the experts about a mom’s diet when breast-feeding
By Tamlyn Vincent
So, after nine months of waiting, you finally have your bundle of joy and you’re ready to start
breast-feeding. If you’re a new mom, the nurse may offer you some helpful advice. Then your
friends will give you their two cents’ worth; your sister-in-law and mother might also have something
to add: “drink stout – it increases milk supply” or “avoid spicy food; it irritates the baby”.
It’s hard to know which tips to take on and which to ignore…
 
To help breast-feeding mothers, we chatted to the experts and have put together some guidelines to assist you in deciding what to eat and what to avoid when breast-feeding.
 
Think again
 
Some foods can cause trouble when passed on through breast milk:
 
  • Stay away from “anything that is gas forming, including broccoli, cauliflower, onion and green peas,” suggests Sister Arlette Blaylock, who runs the Gentle Touch Clinic in Durban. Other culprits are spicy foods, caffeine and chocolate.
  • Coffee, tea and alcohol act as stimulants, and are “known to cause negative effects on babies’ nervous systems,” says Marié Petrelis, a nutritional therapist at Path2Health in Johannesburg.
  • Alcohol should be avoided as it “goes into maternal milk” and takes a “full hour to pass”, says Blaylock.But avoiding everything that could potentially be an issue might leave you with little to eat. Moms should eliminate foods once they cause problems, suggests Blaylock. “Being conscious of the food you are eating and observing any negative effects these may have on your baby is really important,” says Petrelis.She suggests keeping a food diary if your baby is experiencing problems, which could include anything from wind to colic or eczema.
 
Go for it
 
Here are some good food tips for breast-feeding moms:
 
  • Eat plenty of “fresh fruit and vegetables,” says Petrelis: the more variety and colour mom gets, the more nutrients baby gets.
  • Rather eat whole grains (brown rice or wholegrain breads and pastas), which have more nutrients tha white, refined grains.
  • Oily fish is brain food for babies, says Petrelis, who recommends moms eat a variety of fish such as salmon,sardines or tuna three times a week.
  • “It is important to drink enough fluid,” says Blaylock, who recommends at least two litres of water a day, plus a glass of water before, during and after each feed. “Not drinking enough fluid can cause inadequate milk supply,” says Petrelis. Other good drinks are fruit juices (in moderation), especially berry juices, and certain herbal teas – these can be calming and can aid digestion.
 
Useful tips
 
  • You should take pregnancy or post-pregnancy vitamins.
  • Cabbage leaves can help to relieve engorgement. “Crush them to release the enzymes and then pack them into your bra,” says Petrelis. Feeding on demand can also help to regulate milk production, and ease engorgement.
  • To keep your blood sugar levels even, Petrelis suggests “eating small meals with regular snacks that include some form of protein”. Go for healthy, nutritious foods, and meals that you can make ahead of time – cook more than you need and freeze portions for another day. “A wholegrain sandwich with avo and hummus is great when there is just no time for anything else,” says Petrelis.
  •  “Get skin to skin contact as soon after birth as possible”, as this helps with bonding and latching with your baby, and encourages successful breast-feeding, says Blaylock.


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