An infant’s overall nutrition requirements are fulfilled by the all-powerful breast milk which contains the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat, water and nutrients. It can be easily digested and absorbed and changes composition as the baby’s need changes. Breast milk is rich in antibodies and helps to build the baby’s immune system into a robust defense force. The one standard question that remains in each of our minds is the impact of the eating habits of the mother on her breast milk.
Reputed nutrition academies suggest that babies rarely develop food allergy from breast-feeding. Certain foods such as spicy foods, cabbage and broccoli may not suit some infants and nursing mothers should avoid these foods (for a while) if the infant is fussy during a feed.
Consume More Fluids
Nursing mothers should consume between 13 and 16 cups of fluids every day. It can include fluids from food too. Fulfill fluid requirements by drinking a glass of water every time you breast feed your baby. A baby needs nothing else other than her/his mother’s milk to remain hydrated. If you still have doubts on the same, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com to clear your queries. Dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea that lasts for more than 24 hours needs the intervention of a pediatrician.
Does Caffeine Intake Affect Sleeping Patterns?
A recent study on caffeine intake suggests that, pregnant women who consume small quantities of coffee never impair the health of their unborn baby nor the nursing baby’s sleep pattern.
Consuming around 300 milligrams of caffeine every day does not impact the nursing mother in any way. But, some women experience an increase in sensitivity to caffeine during pregnancy.
Can Alcohol be Consumed During Nursing?
Breast-feeding moms should refrain from alcohol consumption. Once the breast-feeding pattern is established, consistent and predictable (maybe after three months of age), a nursing mother can drink one alcoholic drink but must wait for two hours or longer before breast-feeding.
A nursing mom who decides to take a glass of wine or beer must consume a glass of water after the drink to avoid dehydration.
Usually it takes few hours for the alcohol to flush out of your body and the time of alcohol consumption is critical for a nursing mother. Eat before your drink or eat while you drink to lower the amount of alcohol in the blood and milk. Drink your alcohol when you are sure that your baby won’t require a feed in sometime, maybe during one of your baby’s longer stretches of sleep. You can also bottle-feed the baby with previously expressed bottle milk.
Avoid High-mercury Content Fish
Pregnant mothers should decrease the consumption of fish such as shark, swordfish, mackerel and tilefish that are high in mercury content. It is recommended to eat up to 340 grams of other fishes every week that includes a maximum of 170 grams of albacore tuna every week. Locally caught fish should be checked for mercury levels before consuming. If you are not sure of the content, it is better to restrict intake of these locally grown fish to 170 grams per week and forego the consumption of any other fish during the same week.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.