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Breast Health Management Tips For New Moms: 7 Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Foods During Breastfeeding

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Breast Health Management Tips For New Moms: 7 Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Foods During Breastfeeding
Breast Health Management Tips For New Moms: 7 Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Foods During Breastfeeding

Check out these 7 essential tips that a new mother should know in order to keep their breasts healthy while feeding their newborn.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Published : November 27, 2023 12:55 PM IST

Breastfeeding is a crucial phase in a mother's life, and the nutritional choices made during this period have a significant impact on both the mother and the newborn. It's essential to understand the advantages of eating nutrient-rich foods while breastfeeding, as well as the common challenges faced by new mothers.

In an exclusive interaction with TheHealthSite.com, Dr. Spenta Sumondy, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Bhatia Hospital Mumbai, explained the importance of nutrient rich-foods for a new mom and what foods they should include in their daily diet.

Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Foods During Breastfeeding Mothers

Here is a list of 7 health advantages of adding foods rich in nutrients to the diet of a breastfeeding mother:

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Optimal Health for Mother and Child

Maintaining proper maternal nutrition during breastfeeding is essential to ensure the optimal health of both the mother and the child. The nutritional requirements during lactation are even greater than those during pregnancy, emphasizing the importance of a balanced diet.

Breast Milk Composition

Maternal nutrition directly influences the composition of breast milk. While some nutrients are mobilized from the mother's reserves to protect the milk's composition, it's crucial to provide adequate nutrients through the diet to support both the quantity and quality of breast milk.

Energy and Nutrient Needs

Exclusive breastfeeding demands significantly higher energy and nutrient needs compared to partial breastfeeding. On average, an exclusively breastfeeding woman requires approximately 595 kcal/day during the first two months postpartum to meet the energy costs of milk production.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish and seafood are rich sources of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), particularly omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients play a vital role in the growth and development of the infant, especially in terms of neurological development, visual function, and cognitive function. Vegetarian breastfeeding mothers should be encouraged to add flaxseed oil (cold pressed) into their diets, as it has been shown to significantly improve red blood cell levels of ALA, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA

Vitamin A and Beta Carotene

Foods rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, such as oranges and dark, leafy vegetables, ensure an adequate supply of these essential nutrients through breast milk. Vitamin A is critical for cell and tissue growth and differentiation, and its deficiency can lead to severe health issues in both the mother and the child.

Zinc for Mammary Gland Function

Zinc is another crucial nutrient during lactation. It supports the normal growth and development of the mammary glands, which are responsible for milk synthesis and secretion. Adequate zinc intake through foods like wheat germ, wheat bran, sesame seeds, and cheese is essential for both the mother and the newborn.

While nutrient-rich foods are essential for breastfeeding mothers, several common challenges can hinder their ability to maintain a balanced diet:

  1. Closely Spaced Consecutive Births: When pregnancies and lactation periods overlap due to closely spaced consecutive births, the nutritional demands on the mother's body can be particularly challenging to meet. Mothers in such situations may struggle to provide the necessary nutrients for both the newborn and themselves.
  2. Socioeconomic and Cultural Factors: Socioeconomic and cultural practices can significantly influence a mother's dietary choices during lactation. Some cultural practices may limit food choices or restrict certain foods, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies.
  3. Poverty: Mothers living in conditions of poverty may face limited access to nutritious foods essential for pregnancy and lactation. Inadequate resources can make it difficult for these mothers to provide the best possible nutrition for themselves and their infants.

The benefits of incorporating nutrient-rich foods into the diet while breastfeeding are unquestionable. These foods not only promote the well-being and growth of the infant but also contribute to the mother's overall health. Nevertheless, it is crucial to recognize the obstacles that certain new mothers encounter when striving to fulfill these nutritional needs and strive to discover remedies to guarantee an optimal beginning in life for every child.