Nutrition and Breastfeeding Mother

August 25, 2020
Breastfeeding mothers may have questions about what kind of foods that should be restricted, avoided or suitable for having a good quality of breastmilk. Getting enough nutrient and suitable for requirement is the important things for milk production.

The amount of food you should consume in 1 day

For the breastmilk production, the body has to use energy about 20 kilocalories for the production of 30 milliliters of breastmilk. So, it needs to increase energy at least 500 kilocalories per day for adequate breastmilk production (average 750 milliliters per day).
Food category Amount of foods for 1 day
Normal women Breastfeeding women
Energy (kilocalorie) 1,600 1,600 + 500 = 2,100
Rice & starchy 6–8 ladles 8–12 ladles
Meat 6–12 tablespoons 12–14 tablespoons
Milk 1–2 glasses >2 glasses
Vegetables 4–6 ladles 6 ladles
Fruits 3–5 servings* 5–6 servings*
Fat** 4–6 servings** 6 servings**
*1 serving size of fruit such as 3–4 portions of cultivated banana, 3–4 portions of rambutan, 3–4 portions of mangosteen and ½ portion of guava.  
** 1 serving size of fat = 1 teaspoon of all types of oil, ½ teaspoon of butter and 10 seeds of peanut.
Avoid eating high saturated fat feeds such as animal fat, butter, cheese, palm oil, or coconut oil.
In case of gaining weight after childbirth, you may not necessary to increase food intake due to the body can use the energy and nutrient storage; until 6 months. You can gradually restricted food, if you would like to reduce weight.

Techniques for breastfeeding mother choosing food and practicing

  1. Consuming foods that are high protein sources
Protein is the necessary composition in breastmilk that promoting immune function that can pass through the baby. To consume food that has adequate protein such as pork, chicken, fish, etc., you should increase around 2 tablespoons or equal to 1 whole egg per meal or 3 glasses of milk per day. In addition, consuming 2–3 sea fish per week may get omega 3 fatty acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are important to develop brain and nervous system of baby. So, you should consume variety types of fish such as tuna, sardine, mackerel, salmon, seabass, bright butter fish, tilapia etc. You should switch the types of fish and avoid large size of fish such as shark, snake fish, seer fish, etc, because it can be accumulated heavy metals in the body.
  1. Consuming vegetables and fruits every meal
Variety types of fruit and vegetable are the source of fiber, vitamin, mineral, and antioxidants. For getting adequate nutrient, you should consume fruits and vegetables at least 400 grams per day.
  1. Consuming unpolished rice and whole grains
such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and grains because they are high fiber that reduces constipation.
  1. Drinking adequate amount of fresh water
Breastfeeding makes thirsty, so breastfeeding mother should drink 13–16 glasses of fresh water or 1 large size of bottle after breastfeeding. Normally, breastmilk has adequate energy and water for baby, so baby should not be sipped water after breastfeeding.
  1. Consuming fresh and cooked food
Consuming fresh and cooked food may avoid toxic from the bacteria; moreover, you should avoid preserved food, half cooked, overnight food in the period of feeding. You should avoid smoking because it can reduce milk production, amount of vitamin C in milk, and damage baby’s lung.
  1. Vegetarian food
If you are vegan, you should consume variety food such as rice, quinoa, tofu, nuts, and beans, because there are adequate and full in amino acid. Choosing greenly leaf vegetables such as kale, spinach, Chinese cabbage, because it is the source of calcium, including mineral supplement such as calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 for prevention vitamin B12 deficiency which important for neurological development of the baby.

Alcohol and caffeine

Avoid drinking alcohol during breast feeding. In case of unable to avoid drinking, you should avoid breastfeeding 2–3 hours per 1 glass of alcohol. If you drink, you need to squeeze the milk out and wait until you are feeling well and sober before breastfeeding.

Caffeine in beverages such as coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate may be contaminated in breastmilk. Only a few amount of caffeine may disturb sleeping and baby’s heart rhythm because baby is more sensitive to caffeine than adult.

Foods that effect to food intolerance

If infant has the symptoms of food intolerance such as sputum, restless, rash, bloody stool, or vomiting, recommend patient to see the doctor and should stop the food that may cause of allergy for about 1 week and observe signs and symptoms of the infant.

Cow milk, dairy products, peanuts, soybean products, wheat, egg and corn may cause allergy. You should record food and beverage recall and infant’s symptoms after breastfeeding. It can help you to evaluate types of food that may cause allergy.
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