Nursing mothers should follow a nutritious diet, so as to produce quality breastmilk that’ll benefit her baby. 

It is especially important for breastfeeding mums to eat right to give all the essential nutrients to your little ones.

Mummies, breastfeeding is an amazing opportunity for you to bond better with your baby. After nine months of carrying your little one, your role as life-giver continues as you breastfeed.

Your baby relies on you to provide the right nutrients for their growth and development. So, it is important to put your focus on good nutrition when you are lactating. When you eat right, your body optimises the quality and quantity of your breastmilk so that baby enjoys the best, while helping you to maintain your health.

If you’re breastfeeding, follow this guide on what you’ll need to eat (and what not to!) for both your body and your baby.

Eat more as breastfeeding takes up a lot of energy

You may notice that you’re hungry more often when you’re lactating and this is totally normal. You will need a lot more energy than during pregnancy as breastfeeding women need to consume an additional 500 calories per day (if you are nursing twins, you will have to eat even more!). 

Although your body stored extra fat while you were pregnant, this alone isn’t enough when you’re breastfeeding. You will need to eat more.

In fact, if you breastfeed for more than three months, or if you lose weight, you may need to further increase your calorie intake.

Researchers have also found a significant link between the DHA content in breastmilk and infants’ visual development. So, be sure to take plenty of food like fish, which is rich in DHA!

A higher protein intake helps you breastfeed better

Nursing mothers will also require a higher protein intake than usual. To get what you need while you’re breastfeeding, you will need to consume an additional 20g of protein daily.

You will be able to produce sufficient milk and still maintain your own protein stores when you consume enough protein.

Some types of food you can eat to meet your protein goals include fish and seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, liver, eggs, peas, beans, nuts, cereals, milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Consume more DHA as baby’s development depends on you

The docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acid is important for your little one’s visual and mental development. Your intake of DHA directly affects its content in your breastmilk. Researchers have also found a significant link between the DHA content in breastmilk and infants’ visual development. So, be sure to take plenty of food like fish, which is rich in DHA!

You can also take supplements to ensure you’re reach your goal of meeting your DHA intake of 300 mg per day,

Pack your breastmilk with as much vitamins and minerals as possible

The vitamin content of human milk typically reflects the amounts of vitamins in the mother's diet. Breastfeeding women have higher-than-usual requirements for most vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B6 and D, folic acid, calcium and zinc are especially important if you’re lactating. 

So, amp up your nutrition now for a smoother breastfeeding journey. All these nutrients are available in maternal milk such as Wyeth Nutrition Promama® for lactating mothers.

Foods to avoid eating include:

* Certain types of cheese, particularly soft cheese, such as camembert and brie, goats' cheese (especially chevre) and blue mold-ripened cheeses can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that can harm your child.

* Raw or partially cooked eggs ― Both the yolk and egg white need to be solid to avoid the risk of salmonella.

* Raw or undercooked meat ― especially poultry. Make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked and piping hot all the way through. Also, make sure the meat isn’t pink in the middle before eating it!

* Fresh tuna and raw fish or oysters.

* Alcohol and caffeine.

This information is brought to you by Wyeth Nutrition.

Photos: iStock

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