Nutrition Essentials 101
First, you need to understand the basic nutrition you need while you breastfeed.
- Your meals should ideally contain fresh, clean and well-cooked ingredients from all 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.
- Drink 1 liter more of water than usual. Water is an important component for breast milk production. But try to avoid cold water, as well as carbonated and alcohol drinks.
- The proper caloric intake per day is 2,500 kcal (or more if you plan to exclusively breastfeed your baby longer than 3 months), focusing on protein rather than carbohydrates or sugar.
- Spread your meals to 5 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, afternoon meal, dinner, and supper).
- Eat natural saturated fats (i.e. found in sunflower seeds, fish, and olive oil) as these play an important role in baby’s brain development.
- Make sure your diet is rich in folate (folic acid). Folate is normally found in green vegetables, corn, and cabbages. You may even choose to take some folate supplements if needed.
- Eat select dishes that could help boost your breast milk supply. These dishes are called lactogenic food or galactogogues.
- Chicken tinola is especially recommended for breastfeeding moms, as malunggay leaves are very effective in helping boost mom’s milk production.
- Papaya is another known galactogogue and can be eaten fresh (when ripe) or cooked (when green).
- Oats are a simple but effective way to increase your breast milk supply. Have them for breakfast or as a snack to get that boost.