Theresa believes in being a cheerleader for the parents she talks to. She wants everyone to feel empowered and like they can accomplish their goals. She has 3 little ones at home and enjoys hanging out with her family, reading up on the latest lactation research, and trying new tiki cocktail recipes.
While pregnant and breastfeeding, what your wife eats matters. Here’s how to make it all easier for her.
Maintaining healthy eating habits while breastfeeding is as important now for your wife as it was during pregnancy. Food choices can help optimize the nutrition composition of her breastmilk, the quantity of her supply, and the resultant health of your baby for years to come.
Staying well-nourished while breastfeeding is vital, because just like in pregnancy, during breastfeeding your body will prioritize the baby. This means that if you are not taking in enough nutrients, your baby will use up what he needs and mom will be left depleted.
So don’t be afraid to help your wife up her calorie count. Increased caloric intake (as much as an additional nutritious mini meal per day) is key in maintaining your health and a healthy milk supply for your little one when exclusively breastfeeding. Encourage your wife to continue choosing nutrient-rich foods to best serve her and your baby’s needs. Just as in pregnancy when her body prioritized the baby, nutrients will be prioritized to the breastmilk, which can leave your wife depleted if she’s not taking in enough.
Increasing intake of fluids is also critical to your partner because she’ll be losing fluid through her breastmilk. She should aim to drink a full glass of water each time she sits down to nurse and keep a water bottle handy throughout the day. We recommend a minimum of thirteen 8 oz cups of fluids per day and even more if her diet is low in produce (which is naturally high in water content) to stay hydrated and keep her milk supply flowing.
A six-part nutritional checklist for nursing moms.
Help your partner by keeping your home stocked with easy to grab meals and snacks, especially things she can eat with one hand (she will likely find her other hand constantly occupied with your little one). Think whole pieces of fruit, sliced veggies with hummus or guacamole, nut butter on whole grain toast or crackers, nut and dried fruit trail mix, hard boiled eggs, sliced cheese or string cheese.
She should aim to eat several daily servings of high-protein foods, like low mercury fish, lean meat and poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy, beans, tempeh, tofu, and nuts. To get the most bang for your protein buck, remember that a 3 ounce piece of meat or salmon contains a whopping 21 grams of protein, an 8 ounce container of yogurt has 11 grams, a half-cup of cooked beans has 8 grams and a cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
Find healthier fats (mono and polyunsaturated) in fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, and olive and nut oils for cooking and salad dressings. She should be sure to meet her recommended DHA intake requirement by eating 8-12 ounces of omega 3-rich fish per week, opting for fish lower in mercury, such as wild salmon (fresh, frozen or canned) and canned sardines. If she eats beef and dairy, choose the leaner, lower-fat varieties in order to limit your intake of saturated fats. Avoid trans fats if possible (found in processed foods such as baked goods).
She should consider taking a postnatal or breastfeeding supplement while nursing to help ensure she is meeting her daily nutritional requirements for vitamins, minerals and micronutrients.
Chat live with a Happy Mama Mentor (our team of registered dietitians and lactation consultants) about the recommended daily requirements for micronutrients and the many ways to satisfy her specific intake needs.
For example, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you many need a B12 supplement, as this vitamin is found only in animal products.