When your baby relies on you and your precious breast milk to provide the essential nutrients they need to help them grow and give them the best start in life, it is crucial that you are eating healthily.
Finding the time and the energy to eat properly when you have a new baby to care for can be challenging. Nutritionist, Fiona Hunter shares a few helpful nutritional tips for breastfeeding moms:
Small healthy meals
In the later stages of pregnancy, you may find you can only manage small meals. To compensate, have a small but nutritious mid-morning snack and another in the afternoon. Healthy choices include: oatcakes topped with hummus or peanut butter; a cereal bar or a smoothie.
A glass of warm milk just before bed will help you sleep better. It will also provide additional calcium which is needed to keep you and your baby’s bones healthy.
Keep a small plastic container or a resealable bag filled with dried fruit, nuts or a cereal bar in your handbag or glove compartment so you always have a healthy snack on hand; this also means you are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy choices.
Life with a new baby can be extremely busy and leaves you with little time for activities like trips to the supermarket. Before your baby is born, it is advisable to start shopping online. Once you have your shopping list set up, all you need to do each week is call it up and add or delete items from the original list.
Before you settle down to breastfeed, prepare yourself a snack so you can refuel while your baby is feeding. It is best not to have hot drinks while breastfeeding to avoid accidents, but make sure you have a glass of water, fruit juice or a smoothie within easy reach.
Set a schedule
When you are busy it is easy to forget meal times. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself that it is time to eat.
Keep a supply of healthy ready-made meals in the freezer, so if you are short on time or lacking the energy to cook, you can re-heat a meal. Most ready-made meals are low on vegetables, so cook some extra vegetables to serve alongside. Some ready-made meals are also high in salt and/or saturated fat, so check the nutrition information on the label before buying these.
Ask for help
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If friends or family offer to assist by doing the shopping or cooking from time-to-time, let them.