Doctors advise breastfeeding mothers to have a mixed diet. And every postnatal visit should include dietary advice. Ideally, mothers should not consume less than 1800 calories per day. Meanwhile, the best way to judge a baby’s diet is by measuring the baby’s weight gain.
That mixed diet should ideally include proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds 2-3 times a day. Three servings of vegetables, two servings of fruits, and whole grains such as wheat bread, pasta, cereal, and oatmeal are ideal.
Breastfeeding Supplements Mothers Need
Folic acid, in particular, has been recommended for women to take prior to getting pregnant and during their first trimester.
Another supplement that has been suggested during pregnancy and lactation is iodine. Iodine is essential for supporting infant neurodevelopment. And women should consume an adequate amount when they are trying to conceive, pregnant or lactating.
So important is iodine as a breastfeeding supplement that the World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends a minimum of 250 ug/d for both pregnant and lactating women. This is to ensure that the iodine content of the breastmilk is sufficient for the infant’s iodine requirement.
During their pregnancy, 78% of mothers in a 2018 study in Australia took a folic acid supplement and 21% took an iron supplement. Mothers who took supplements were more likely to continue breastfeeding.