Microsoft word - mc - eating right for mum - karen wright
HEALTHY MUM HAPPY BABY
Being healthy may be the last thing on your mind as you adapt to the juggling act of
life with a new baby. However, being a good Mum means looking after yourself as
well as your little one, and this includes eating a well balanced diet. Eating the right
food now will give you the experience and knowledge of what’s best for your baby at
that all important weaning stage too. Eating for energy
During pregnancy your body stores of certain nutrients can become depleted. Eating a
balanced diet based on the four main food groups shown in the Eatwell plate will help
to replenish these stores and give you the energy you need to enjoy motherhood. Try
to limit foods that are high in fat and sugar as these are low in essential nutrients.
Diet and breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, you need enough calories to provide energy for your baby as
well as yourself. Some of these calories come from the fat stores laid down during
pregnancy but the rest will come from your diet. When breastfeeding is fully
established you will need an extra 300-400 calories per day, this is equivalent to:
• A large banana, glass of milk and small handful of nuts
• 2 yoghurts with fruit • Fruit smoothie
Whilst it is tempting to go for an extra slice of cake it is best to go for nutrient rich snacks in your diet based around the 4 main food groups above. Water is essential to the production of breast milk so make sure you have at least 8-12 cups of fluid per day. It is good idea to have a drink at hand whenever you are feeding. Calcium requirements also increase by 400mg/day during breastfeeding. Boost your calcium intake with an extra large glass of milk (330ml), 200g yoghurt or 50g cheese. Caffeine and alcohol pass from your blood into breast milk. Try to avoid alcohol and if you do drink, limit to one unit of alcohol 2 hours or more before a breastfeed.
Caffeine in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola and energy drinks may cause some babies to
be restless. Limit caffeine containing drinks or cut them out if your baby seems
affected by them.
Your breast milk is also providing your baby with a supply of essential fatty acids
needed for brain development. These are especially important as your baby cannot
manufacture these and brain growth is particularly rapid during the first 2 years. Good
food sources include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout. Include these each
week making sure you do not exceed 2 servings (a serve being 140g) a week because
they can contain toxins. Large fish such as shark, swordfish and marlin should be
avoided because they may contain small amounts of mercury. Losing weight while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding should help you to lose the extra fat stores you laid down during
pregnancy. If you have more weight to lose make sure you are still eating a well
balanced diet based around the 4 main food groups, but limit foods that are high in fat
and sugar. Once breastfeeding is established some regular physical activity of at least
30 minutes daily will help weight loss and mean that you can still breastfeed
successfully and still lose 1 lb (0.5kg) per week. Do I need vitamin supplements?
Don’t forget that if you are planning another baby fairly soon you need to take folic
acid supplements of 400mcg/day. Vitamin D is also important when you are
breastfeeding and you may need to take a vitamin D supplement of 10mcg/day if you
have insufficient exposure to the sun each day. An essential fatty acid supplement,
called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may be beneficial if you do not eat oily fish,
look for one that provides at least 200mg DHA/day.
If you need further help with your diet post-natally, a Registered Dietitian at The
Food Clinic can provide expert individual advice. www.thefoodclinic.com.sg
Karen Wright registered dietician.
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