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BREASTFEEDING NUTRITION GUIDE

BREASTFEEDING NUTRITION GUIDE

After a long 9 months of patiently waiting for your little one to arrive, you can now enjoy some of the foods you couldn’t eat while you were pregnant. But your focus has shifted and needs to be on your baby and your recovery! While breastfeeding is undoubtedly a remarkable process, it places unique demands on your body. Your nutritional needs are significantly altered during this phase, as your body works diligently to produce the perfect nourishment for your baby.  Recovery and lactation demands mean you will require more nutrients. Join me as we embark on a journey to unravel breastfeeding nutrition. Through this exploration, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the marvels of maternal biology and the incredible strength that sustains both you and your little one during this incredible chapter of life.

Exclusive breastfeeding meets all your baby’s nutritional requirements from birth to around six months. Breastmilk production takes a lot of energy as it contains all the fat, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antibodies and water that your baby needs. 

1. WHAT NUTRIENTS SHOULD I FOCUS ON DURING BREASTFEEDING?
Vitamin B12- Vitamin B12 is needed for normal blood and brain function. Without adequate amounts, you and your baby may be at risk of developing megaloblastic anaemia resulting in fatigue, shortness of breath and stunted growth. It is easy to consume enough vitamin B12 if you follow a diet that has varied animal products. Vegan and vegetarian mothers may need to supplement their intake.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids- Omega 3 is important for the development of your baby’s brain, eye and nervous system. It also helps to maintain your heart, joint and mental health. Guidelines recommend for at least 500mg Omega-3 a day of which 200mg is DHA.
Iron- Continue to maintain a diet rich in iron to replenish your stores. Your baby’s needs are also elevated as they need to produce their blood volume. Breastfeeding mothers are required to have 9-18mg of iron a day.
Iodine- Iodine is important for thyroid function for you and your baby. The thyroid gland regulates growth, development and temperature. Most of our iodine comes from the food we eat as well as iodised salt.
Calcium- Your baby’s skeleton is growing at a rapid rate and needs calcium to develop strong bones and teeth. If you don’t consume enough calcium, your body will draw calcium from your stores and increase your risk of osteoporosis. Breastfeeding mothers should maintain their intake of 1000mg per day.

2. WHAT CAN I EAT TO HELP BOOST MY MILK SUPPLY?
Your milk supply is dependent on many factors. It is often dictated by how often and how long you breastfeed your baby. The best way to improve milk production is to generally increase the frequency of feeds or breastmilk expression. If this doesn’t work, including the following food items into your diet or making slight adjustments may also help.

Dates - Dates contain various vitamins and minerals, are high in energy and high in fibre which may boost milk production. The phytochemicals in dates may help with milk ejection.
Oats- Oats contain energy, fibre and nutrients such as iron, magnesium, folate, and calcium, which are important for lactation.
Calorie intake -Post birth, mums often limit their calorie intake to lose weight. Research suggests that lactating women consuming less than 1500 calories a day may have a reduction in milk volume by up to 15%! So make sure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of calories daily.
Hydration -Breast milk is made up of about 87% water. In the first 6 months of lactation, milk production requires 0.7 litres of water that needs to be replaced every day to prevent dehydration and maintain milk supply. 

3. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS WHILE BREASTFEEDING

    Even though your diet will be slightly altered during breastfeeding, there are a few other factors to consider to ensure that you meet all your nutritional requirements.

    Predatory fish- what you consume will be directly transferred into your breastmilk. You need to limit predatory fish like shark, catfish and swordfish. This is because of the high mercury content in these types of fish. The mercury would be passed through your breastmilk to your baby and can be toxic in large amounts. Low mercury fish like salmon and trout can be enjoyed 2-3 times a week.
    Colic- some foods that you consume can unsettle your baby after a feed and cause colic symptoms. Some of the trigger foods include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions and chilli. If you think some of these foods may be unsettling your baby, try to avoid them for a few weeks and slowly re-introduce the food item again. 
    Allergies- unless you have allergies or are advised by your doctor, it’s a good idea to include a variety of foods in your diet, including common allergens. This can strengthen your baby’s immune system.

        Having a new baby means getting into a new routine and you might still be finding your feet. This often means that the needs of your baby come before yours and that you often do not have time to consume all the nutrients your body requires. Why not try the NEW FUTURELIFE® MOTHERS FOOD™! FUTURELIFE® MOTHERS FOOD™ Shake is scientifically formulated for pregnant and lactating women and combines Development 5™, Collagen, Choline, Calcium and Omega-3, in a nutritionally balanced low GI shake that is High in Fibre and Protein. Choline is an essential nutrient. Research shows that dietary intake of choline for most pregnant women is significantly below their requirements. Studies suggest that a woman’s choline intake during pregnancy, and possibly lactation can support normal brain development for the baby. FUTURELIFE® MOTHERS FOOD™ Shake is a kilojoule-controlled shake that contains 14.7g of protein and 3.5g of fibre per 55g serving, helping you meet your macronutrient requirements while being high in fibre! Furthermore, it contains 9 vitamins and minerals that contribute to the normal function of the immune system and 8 vitamins and minerals that contribute to reduction of tiredness and fatigue. 

        Looking for an on-the-go alternative why not try the FUTURELIFE® MOTHERS FOOD™ Bar? It is a kilojoule-controlled bar that is high in protein, a source of fibre and contains Development 5™ to support the development for your baby. FUTURELIFE® MOTHERS FOOD™ Bar contains 5 vitamins and minerals that contribute to the normal function of the immune system and 3 vitamins and minerals that contribute to reduction of tiredness and fatigue. 

        What is Development 5™?

        Supports the development of your baby by providing 100% Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for adults for the following nutrients: 

        Folate- Is essential for the normal development of the unborn baby and contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.
        Vitamin D & Zinc- Contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
        Iron- Is necessary for normal neurological development in the foetus.
        Vitamin B12- Contributes to normal blood formation and is necessary for normal neurological structure and function.

        Breastfeeding mothers require extra nutrients to meet their own nutritional needs and support the growth and development of their babies. However, individual nutrient requirements can vary based on factors such as age, overall health, diet, and lifestyle. Remember that every person's nutritional needs are unique, so it's crucial to seek personalized guidance from a healthcare professional. A balanced diet, adequate hydration, and appropriate supplements, if recommended, will help you provide the best possible nutrition for both you and your baby during the breastfeeding period.

        BY: BIANCA JONISCHKEIT /   DATE: SEPTEMBER 2023

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