Pregnancy and lactation are natural events for every woman of childbearing age. There are many factors that affect the health of mother and baby during these periods. These; the age of the mother, the number of pregnancies, the time remaining between the last two pregnancies, chronic diseases and drug use, if any, genetic structure and adequate and balanced nutrition of the mother. It is of great importance in nutrition during the lactation period as well as during pregnancy. The most important nutrient for the baby in the growth and development period is milk.
Breast milk provides the best growth and development of babies. It protects them from many infectious diseases such as diarrhea, anemia, iron deficiency anemia and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases that will occur later in life. Breastfeeding helps to establish a psychological bond between mother and baby. It has been proven in research that the milk yield and quality of mothers who are fed a healthy and balanced diet have much higher bioavailability than the milk of an unbalanced and malnourished mother, and it is also rich in vitamins.
Milk production and milk quality are directly proportional to the healthy nutrition of the mother. A healthy-fed mother secretes an average of 700-800 ml of milk per day. In order for the breastfeeding mother to secrete enough milk, she needs an average of 800 calories in addition to her daily needs. Weight loss is observed while breastfeeding, but breast milk is not affected by this situation due to the high amount of energy expended.
During this period, you may complain about the weight gained during pregnancy. However, first of all, know that your aim is to increase your milk yield by eating healthy, and then consult a nutritionist and proceed systematically with the program specially prepared for you. Stay away from strict diets and diets that promise high weight in the short term, which we call shock diet. Keep yourself away from high physical activity and stress. Do not worry about your milk yield. If your baby has taken a minimum of 500 g in the first 20 days, it means that your milk is sufficient for your baby. Do not be hasty in this process and enjoy your motherhood with pleasure.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO DURING LACTATION FOR A SUFFICIENT AND BALANCED NUTRITION?
- Onions, garlic, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, hot spices or legumes can change the taste of breast milk. While this situation creates restlessness (such as gas formation, refusal to feed) in some babies, some may not notice it at all. If your baby develops serious irritability, such foods should either be consumed less frequently or not consumed at all.
- Weight loss diet should not be done during lactation period. If the energy intake falls below 1800 calories per day during this period, the nutritional elements necessary for the body are not taken at a sufficient level. A low-calorie diet, especially at the beginning of the lactation period, reduces milk production and negatively affects the nutritional value of milk.
- Alcohol and cigarettes should not be used during lactation.
- Care should be taken to take enough fluids for adequate breast milk production. Drinking at least 10-12 glasses of fluid a day is sufficient. During the lactation period, besides water, beverages such as milk with high nutritional value and freshly squeezed fruit juice should be preferred. Since milk and juice will also provide the consumption of other nutrients, it will also affect breast milk productivity. For example; Consumption of milk will provide calcium and fruit juice will provide vitamin C.
- Consumption of green leafy vegetables, dried or fresh fruits should be done regularly.
- Consumption of milk, yoghurt and ayran, which are sources of calcium, should be in the form of 3-4 servings per day.
- The right types of carbohydrates should be used and complex carbohydrates should be consumed.
- Iodized salt should be used in meals. Iodine, which is not taken enough in natural foods, passes from mother’s milk to the baby with the use of iodized salt.
- Adequate protein sources should be consumed. In this process, omega-3 sources, especially fish consumption, should be kept high.