Benefits of Probiotics Found in Breastmilk

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about the importance of probiotics, and specifically the probiotics found in breastmilk. But what exactly are they, and what benefit do they serve us and our children?

laughing baby playing with motherimage credit

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that live in our gut and benefit us in various ways. Humans carry around about ten times as many bacterial cells as there are actual cells in our bodies, and most of them live in the digestive tract. They help digest food, absorb minerals and other nutrients, and help with synthesizing vitamins. Probiotic therapy is being used to treat a range disorders including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, yeast infections, asthma, allergies, and other inflammatory responses.

According to the Harvard website: “An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms (or microflora) generally don’t make us sick; most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.”

Where do they come from?

Babies are actually not born with any of this beneficial bacteria in their intestines, but they quickly become colonized with exposure. Babies born via vaginal delivery tend to have more beneficial bacteria (which they get from their mother as they travel through the  birth canal), and so do babies that are breastfed. Probiotics are found in breast milk, and due to the growing body of research showing their benefits, they are also being added to infant formula.

You can also get your probiotics in supplement form or better yet, by eating fermented foods like yogurt, fermented cabbage and fermented soy products. Certain foods called prebiotics are also helpful in rejuvenating your body’s colony of flourishing intestinal flora, by feeding the probiotics that live inside you. These foods include oats, bananas, berries, greens such as kale, chard, leeks, asparagus, whole grains, almonds, flax, onions, and honey.

How probiotics benefit your baby

Breastmilk contains the probiotic lactobacillus reuteri (l. reuteri) which is passed from mother to baby.  Studies have show that the consumption of probiotics by children and infants may:

  • shorten bouts of diarrhea and acute viral gastroenteritis
  • lessen side effects of antibiotics
  • reduce the severity of symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • significantly reduce colic in newborns
  • promote oral health by killing streptoccocus mutants which cause tooth decay
  • avoid skin problems such as eczema
  • avoid or delay the onset of asthma
  • contribute to the development and functioning of baby’s immune system
  • lessen doctor visits, fewer sick days, and better overall health

A  nursing mother who consumes probiotics and prebiotics is not only benefiting herself, she is also passing along the beneficial bacteria to her baby.

It’s World Breastfeeding Week!

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, and in honor of this momentous occasion, Parents.com has compiled a list of 10 things you didn’t know about breastfeeding. Are you a new mom? Or maybe you think you know everything there is to know about breastfeeding, already? Check out these facts, test your knowledge, and be an educated breast-feeder!

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image from Little Mountain  Homeopathy

Have a coffee, or a martini! A healthy diet is important for everyone, but you don’t have to feel guilty if you have a few too many cookies, or have a drink with your husband.  “Your body is designed to make healthy milk,” says Laura Viehmann, M.D.  The purpose of eating well is to maintain your own health and energy… your body will do it’s own work of using the nutrients you provide to produce wholesome breastmilk.

Nursing may cause cramping: But just for the first few days after birth! It’s a sign that your body is healing properly. “The same hormone responsible for triggering milk letdown, oxytocin, causes your uterus to shrink back to normal, which reduces the risk for uterine bleeding,” says American Baby advisor Laura Jana, M.D.

Your milk is not always the same: At first, you produce a sticky, yellowish-white colostrum that’s rich in protein. After a few days, you start producing “real” milk which contains two parts (you might see them separate in the fridge). Foremilk is thin, watery, and pale; hindmilk contains more fat, and will be slightly thicker and creamier.

Nursing pads will save your life: OK, not literally, but they’ll save you a lot of embarrassment from leaky nipples. Anything that makes you think of your baby, even hearing another baby cry, causes your body to release oxytocin which makes the milk come in! So don’t leave home without them!

You may get antsy: A friend of mine called it “nervous milk” and her baby weaned himself off of it pretty quickly. She just couldn’t relax and enjoy the feedings, and this nervousness transferred to her baby. If you think about it, it can be boring: feedings can last as long as an hour, and babies need to be fed every couple of hours at first.  Try to use this time to do something enjoyable– check email, read, or catch up on your DVR queue, call a friend to chat… or take a nap! Of course it would also be time well spent if you can focus on bonding with your baby using eye contact, touch, and talking or singing to him.

It might be worse than labor: On second thought, maybe not, but it can still be painful. It’s normal if your nipples feel irritated at first because they’ve never had that degree of stimulation, but if you are writhing in agony you need to make sure the latch is right.  You should rule out mastitis or blocked ducts, and speak to a lactation consultant. Once you baby is latching on properly, you may find your cracked, bleeding nipples healing within days! Use a purified lanolin product, like Lansinoh, to soothe nipples after feeding or pumping.

It may not work out: Some moms do all they can to make breastfeeding a success, and despite their best efforts it doesn’t work out. This can be for a myriad of reasons, including low milk production, infections, or medication. We do believe it’s important to try, but nourishing, nurturing and bonding can happen without breastfeeding too.

It may feel like heaven: Those hormones are at it again– this time in a good way!  Oxytocin, a hormone involved in milk production, ushers in a cascade of blissful emotions, and prolactin makes you feel drowsy when you’re done. There’s nothing quite like the sweetness of a happy baby at your breast as you both drift off to sleep together!

Your turn! If there’s something that surprised you, or that you wish YOU had known about breastfeeding, let us know! Help out our readers by sharing your wisdom and leaving a comment below!

Nursing On the Go with the GoPillow!

Ever tried breastfeeding your baby on a warm day? Outdoors? In an office? A mall? A park?

We all know the standard breastfeeding position: Mom cradles the baby’s head on her arm, so that baby can rest and feed comfortably.  Boppies and breastfeeding pillows are nice too.  But if you’ve ever breastfed a baby you might also recall the way your arm and the baby’s head get sweaty and sticky on warm days, making the whole experience not so comfortable after all.

Here’s an amazing product that excels in the multitasking department. Moms everywhere give it two thumbs up and we think it’s a great idea, too! The GoPillow serves the following needs:

  • A wearable breast feeding pillow, which cradles baby’s head while keep everyone sweat-free (on warm days) and cozy (on cool days)
  • Designed for comfortable cradling
  • Built-in cover-up blanket which you can throw over your shoulder for privacy
  • Pillow and body wrap for babies and toddlers, great for on-the-go naps
  • Portable diaper changing surface
  • Sun and wind shield for babies and toddlers
  • Arm cushion for carrying babies and toddlers
  • Arm warmer during cold weather (especially during outdoor activities)
  • Super soft plush available in baby pink or baby blue.
  • http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_full_width/hash/26/b3/26b34c3fd401288b649f572ea1b6c33f.JPG

Here’s a very short video illustrating how the GoPillow can be used:

It’s great for babies…

…and toddlers!

http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_full_width/hash/45/ba/45ba907e1803feec41de2d4c60be3afb.jpg

For more info and to order, visit SimplyNecessary.com.

Vitamin D Levels for Pregnant Women: Experts Recommend 8 Times Higher than FNB Levels

Thousands of studies over the last 10 years have shown that high doses of vitamin D are crucial to maintaining health in many areas. The Vitamin D Council, a highly regarded non-profit organization states: “Higher doses of Vitamin D help in many areas of health, among them: heart health, brain health, pancreatic health, muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health.” (emphasis added)

For this reason, the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has created a tumult for stating that the high levels of vitamin D currently being recommended by many health professionals are unnecessary and may even be toxic (November 2010). The FNB only slightly increased its recommended daily intake of vitamin D from 200 IU to 600 IU. In contrast, Harvard newsletter (December 2010) recommends 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while the Vitamin D Council recommends up to 5,000 IU a day.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/uploadedImages/articles/issues/2008-02-01/VitaminD.jpg

image credit: Mother Earth News

The fact that there is no difference between the amounts of D a 15 pound baby and a 300 pound man should take is deemed “absurd” by experts. When it comes to pregnant women, the FNB also makes no differentiation.  But respected vitamin D experts recommend at least 4,000 IU a day, and 6,000 for nursing mothers.

In response to the conclusions of the FNB panel, the Vitamin D Council statement responds:

“Disturbingly, this FNB committee focused on bone health… and ignored the thousands of studies from the last ten years… Tens of millions of pregnant women and their breast-feeding infants are severely vitamin D deficient, resulting in a great increase in the medieval disease, rickets. The FNB report seems to reason that if so many pregnant women have low vitamin D blood levels then it must be OK because such low levels are so common…

“Pregnant women taking 400 IU/day have the same blood levels as pregnant women not taking vitamin D; that is, 400 IU is a meaninglessly small dose for pregnant women. Even taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D will only increase the vitamin D levels of most pregnant women by about 10 points, depending mainly on their weight. Professor Bruce Hollis has shown that 2,000 IU/day does not raise vitamin D to healthy or natural levels in either pregnant or lactating women. Therefore supplementing with higher amounts — like 5000 IU/day — is crucial for those women who want their fetus to enjoy optimal vitamin D levels, and the future health benefits that go along with it.

“My advice, especially for pregnant women: continue taking 5,000 IU/day until your 25(OH)D is between 50–80 ng/mL (the vitamin D blood levels obtained by humans who live and work in the sun and the mid-point of the current reference ranges at all American laboratories).

“Gestational vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with rickets, but a significantly increased risk of neonatal pneumonia, a doubled risk for preeclampsia, a tripled risk for gestational diabetes, and a quadrupled risk for primary cesarean section.

“Today, the FNB has failed millions of pregnant women whose as yet unborn babies will pay the price. Let us hope the FNB will comply with the spirit of “transparency” by quickly responding to our Freedom of Information requests.”

How To Get Enough Vitamin D

There are 3 ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D: (Vitamin D Council recommendations)

  • regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible for 20–30 minutes (being careful to never burn). (Those with dark skin will need longer exposure time — up to six times longer.)
  • regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
  • take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

Pregnant Women Should Avoid “Silver” Dental Fillings

If you’ve been to the dentist to have a cavity filled, you may (or may not!) have been offered a choice between the silver filling (also known as dental amalgam) or bone-colored resin (more attractive, as it blends in with the color of your teeth). Although slightly  more expensive, added uncertainty about the safety of the mercury-based silver fillings should be enough for pregnant women to choose the resin filling.

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feature image: Top News

Recently, a U.S. advisory panel declared that it wants the FDA to look at the latest data and reassess its guidance after the agency last year declared the fillings safe.  Mercury has been linked to neurological damage at high exposure levels and makes up about 50% of a metal filling.  “Vulnerable people” such as children and pregnant/nursing women should be especially wary.

Some dentists and trade groups cite data showing that the fillings pose no harm once set in a patient’s tooth.  Other dentists testify that mercury is too risky and that they no longer use such fillings. Dozens of patients also detailed how their health deteriorated after getting amalgams and urged the panel to push FDA to reverse course and initiate strong warnings, especially for children and pregnant or nursing women.

The Environmental Protection Agency lists mercury as a neurotoxin. It can interfere with brain development and cognitive and motor skills. In addition, groups such as Moms Against Mercury and Consumers for Dental Choice say mercury fillings may trigger health problems, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • brain damage
  • kidney damage
  • migraines
  • multiple sclerosis
  • irritability (erethism)

Short of banning amalgams altogether, patients should at the very least be warned about the dangers of these metal fillings and offered a choice. Amalgams have already been banned in some European countries.

Read more: Rueters, World Dental.org

Checklist: What you need to Buy for Baby’s Arrival

Layette (baby clothes, for those who need translation!)

  • 8-10 bodysuits or onesies (like little undershirts that snap at the crotch)
  • 4-6 one-piece PJ’s
  • 2 blanket sleepers for winter nights (these are like little wearable sleeping bags, very handy for drafty daytimes, too)
  • 1-3 rompers or other “dressy” outfits
  • 4 pairs of socks, or booties (I find that socks often fall off and get lost. You’re better off with footsie pajamas if it’s cold weather)
  • 2-3 hats (sun-hats with brims for summer baby, warm  hats that cover ears for winter baby)
  • Bunting bag or fleece suit for winter outing

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image credit

Nursery

You can skip some of this for a while if you plan on keeping baby nearby (which is best in my personal opinion), either in a bedside bassinetter or in your own bed.

  • Crib, cradle or bassinet (follow safety guidelines)
  • Firm, flat mattress that fits snugly into crib
  • 2 washable mattress pads
  • 2-4 fitted sheets
  • 4 soft, light receiving blankets
  • 1-2 heavier blankets for winter
  • Comfy chair for nursing, or pillows to prop yourself up in bed
  • Baby monitor, if you will out of hearing range of baby’s room
  • Nightlight (this is for you, to make nighttime feeding and changing easier)
  • Dresser for storing baby clothes and paraphernalia
  • Swing or bouncy chair

Diapering station

It’s nice to have a changing station where you have everything handy for changing your baby. But you can always improvise by putting a changing pad down on your bed or on top of a dresser (never leave baby alone there, of course).

  • Changing table or cushioned changing pad
  • Changing table pad cover
  • Diaper pail and liners (optional but handy)
  • Diaper cream
  • Unscented baby wipes (these are supposed to cause less irritation, although simply rinsing baby’s bottom in the sink is even better!)
  • Disposable newborn-size diapers, or 6-10 dozen cloth diapers and 6-8 diaper covers

Bath

Again, you can improvise when baby is small by plugging up a  bathroom sink,  lining it with a towel (to keep baby from slipping around) and filling it with warm water.

  • Baby bathtub
  • Baby shampoo (can use for hair and body)
  • 2-4 soft towels/hooded baby towels
  • 2-4 soft washcloths

Feeding

For nursing moms:

  • 1-3 nursing bras (Start with one size larger than your maternity bra, as breasts swell right after birth. After a couple weeks you can purchase additional bras.)
  • Nursing pads (bra inserts that protect you if you leak)
  • Nipple cream (alleviates soreness for beginner breast feeders)
  • Nursing pillow (props baby up so you don’t hurt your back by curling up over him)
  • Pump and milk storage bags (in case you ever need to leave baby for an extended amount of time)

For bottle feeding mothers:

  • 10-16 bottles and nipples, both four and eight ounce
  • Liners, for disposable bottles
  • Bottle warmer (cuts down on nighttime trips to and from the kitchen)
  • Bottle sterilizer (some dishwashers have one)
  • Bottle brush
  • Formula (if not nursing)
  • 4-8 bibs
  • Burp cloths/cloth diapers
  • High chair (not necessary until baby can sit up on his own)
  • 2-4 pacifiers

Medicine Cabinet

  • Baby nail clippers
  • Cotton balls (to clean baby’s nose, ears, umbilical cord)
  • Baby thermometer
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator
  • Infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) and medicine dropper
  • Antibiotic cream and sterile gauze (for circumcision care)

Travel

  • Infant or convertible car seat
  • Stroller (reclining for infants)
  • Diaper bag
  • Changing pad
  • Baby carrier/sling

If you can check off most of the things on these lists, then  you are probably ready for for the stork’s special delivery. Congratulations!!

The Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding

Nursing your baby provides many opportunities for bonding, and the benefits for mom and baby extend into the toddler years. But how can you silence the critics who exclaim, “You’re still nursing?”

Q. I’m still nursing my two-year-old daughter. We both love the bond created by breastfeeding, and neither of us is ready to give it up. However, most of my friends and family strongly think it’s time to wean her. How can I cope with the disapproval?

Dr. William Sears answers this question on Parenting.com. In spite of today’s health-conscious, natural-is-better attitude, people still find it odd to breastfeed a baby beyond the “infant” stage.  But Dr. Sears is on this mom’s side, saying, “If it’s working for you and your child, and your mothering instinct tells you it’s right  — it’s right! In my opinion, you’re a health-savvy, modern mom, and it seems that your friends and relatives are old-fashioned and misinformed. As a pediatrician and parent, it grieves me to hear well-meaning critics ask a breastfeeding mother, “You’re still nursing?”

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photo: Breastfeeding Moms Unite

Extended breastfeeding is indeed a wise, long-term investment in your child’s future. Here are a few things to remember when discussing this issue:

Science backs Breastfeeding. Many medical journals carry articles proving the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding. The incidence of many illnesses, both childhood and adult, are lowered by breastfeeding, including diabetes, heart disease, and central nervous system degenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis). The most fascinating studies show that the longer and more frequently a mom nurses her baby, the smarter her child is likely to become. The brain grows more during the first two years of life than any other time, nearly tripling in size from birth to two years of age. During this crucial time of brain development, the “smart fats” unique to mom’s breast milk (namely, omega-3 fatty acid, also known as DHA) seem to provide an intellectual advantage for breastfed babies.

Babies who breastfeed for extended periods of time are healthier overall.  These other health benefits include:

  • Leaner bodies with less risk of obesity.
  • Improved vision, since the eye is similar to the brain in regards to nervous tissue.
  • Better hearing due to a lower incidence of ear infections.
  • Their dental health is generally good, since the natural sucking action of the breastfed infant helps incoming teeth align properly.
  • Intestinal health is also much better than those of non-breastfed babies, as breast milk is easier to digest, reducing spit-up, reflux, and constipation.
  • A toddler’s immune system functions much better since breastmilk contains an immunoglobulin (IGA) which coats the lining of the intestines, which helps prevent germs from penetrating through.
  • Even the skin of these babies is smoother and more supple.

World opinion is on your side. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recommends mothers breastfeed until three years of age. (Yes, you did read that right!) Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers should breastfeed “at least until one year of age and then as long as baby and mother mutually want to.”

It’s better for Mom’s health. Extended breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers. Breastfeeding women also have a lower incidence of osteoporosis later in life.

It’s better for your toddler’s behavior. Dr. Sears has observed many extended breastfeeders in his pediatric practice, and knows that breastfed toddlers are easier to discipline. Breastfeeding is an exercise in baby reading, which enables a mother to more easily read her baby’s cues and intervene before a discipline situation gets out of hand. Nursing is also a wonderful calming tool for both Mom and baby.

Blame it on your doctor. One of the easiest ways to silence critics is the phrase: “My doctor advised me to.” You can go on to explain that your doctor (yes, Dr. Sears counts!) told you about all the recent research extolling the benefits of extended breastfeeding.

Let your child silence the critics. Once your friends and relatives see the benefits of your breastfeeding bond, your growth as a mother, and the emotional, intellectual and physical health of your child, they will serve as convincing testimonies to the value of extended breastfeeding.

Read more at Parenting.com and Ask Dr. Sears

The “Stuffing Baby at Bedtime” Syndrome

I bet there’s no parent out there who hasn’t heard the advice to “stuff” your baby with cereal or baby food before bedtime to help him sleep better (by which they mean, not wake up as much during the night.)  But not only does this filler fallacy not work, it may actually create early problems in appetite control, leading to later-on obesity.

Between the ages of six to nine months, babies can begin to taste “real” food, such as mashed banana and rice cereal. But up to a year of age, all the nutrients a baby needs are obtained through breast milk or formula. For a baby that’s nursing, there’s no reason to rush into solid food, which will only be taking the place of more nutritious breast milk.

Despite this fact, there are those who think that solids will fill your baby’s tummy better because they are more, well, solid than milk.  It would be logical to think that baby will wake less often to nurse if his tummy feels fuller. Nevertheless, controlled studies show that infants who are fed solids before bedtime do not sleep through the night any sooner than infants who do not get this extra meal.

Instead of focusing on ways to get your baby to sleep through the night (which, by the way, is defined by five hours of uninterrupted sleep–not eight or ten!) it would help to understand your infant’s sleep patterns, and why frequent night waking is actually beneficial to your baby’s health!  All babies reach the milestone of “sleeping through the night,”  but it is something that will happen when baby is ready.

Source: The Baby Book. See also Dr. Sears online

feature image: WebMD: Common Baby Feeding Problems

Sales on Stylish, Sensible Nursing Cover-ups

Whether or not it’s OK to nurse in public seems to be debatable for some people, but I see nothing wrong with it– as long as you are covered up. Moms with nursing babies need to get out of the house, too, and when you are your baby’s sole source of food, you simply don’t have a choice NOT to breastfeed when the need arises.

I also don’t think Mom’s should have to duck into the nearest bathroom when baby gets hungry. Besides for the fact that it’s just plain yucky and often uncomfortable, the fact is that sometimes a private spot is just not available! So that’s why you may want to invest in a snazzy little cover-up to give you a bit of privacy when you’re nursing on the go.  It will even come in handy at home, when you have company and don’t want to miss any of the action!

Udder Covers

Great for the stylish cow–I mean woman!
Rigid neckline gives you direct eye contact with baby.
Made of 100% breathable cotton.
Stainless steel d-rings allow fully adjustable neckline.
Machine washable.

YOU CAN GET ONE FREE (just pay shipping) if you enter the code “BACKORDER” when ordering! I don’t know how long this will last, so if you want one, grab it now!

Get yours at uddercovers.com

Under Wraps Nursing Poncho

This is a great thing if you want all-around coverage!

  • Uniquely designed to be worn during pregnancy, while breastfeeding or just because.
  • Wear it while nursing or even as a fashion piece.
  • Neck line design allows mom to latch baby easily without exposing anything!

Get yours here for $39.99.

Under Wraps Nursing Poncho ™ by Victoria Laurin  & Baby-Breastfeeding, nursing cover, nursing wrap, nursing cover  up

Hooter Hiders

If the name alone is not enough to make you want one, maybe the buy-one-get-one-free offer will (good until June 28)!

Hooter Hiders Logo

Head Rush Nursing Covers

Breastfeeding in public can now be a pleasant experience with these lightweight, cotton, nursing cover. Plus, you get $10 off their Spring Styles!

  • Complete 360-degree coverage
  • Front pockets for pacifiers, nursing pads, etc.
  • Lace panel in front for ventilation and eye contact.
  • Burp cloth and drawstring bag included.
  • Can be used as a stroller canopy and baby blanket!
  • 100% cotton and machine washable.

Hot Pink Nursing Cover Blue and Pink Flowers Nursing Cover Black  Nursing Cover Light Brown With Flowers Nursing Cover

Breastfeeding, Dieting, and Weight Loss

Congratulations, you have a new baby! Amidst all the excitement and exhaustion, we know there’s one thought niggling at the back of your mind… when will I get out of these maternity clothes and back into clothes my “real” size?! Ah, have patience… Remember that your pregnancy weight wasn’t gained overnight. And for many moms, it won’t disappear that quickly, either.

The extra weight is there for a reason!

La Leche League points out that one reason you gained extra weight during pregnancy is so you would have plenty of reserves for feeding your baby. This is particularly reassuring for nursing mothers because it means that breastfeeding help in shedding these extra pounds, as the “reserve” are converted into nutritious breast milk for you baby.

Breastfeeding helps with weight loss

You may be surprised at how much weight you can loose in the early months by simply following a normal diet and eating when you’re hungry. The LLLI BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK says, “Breastfeeding mothers tend to lose more weight when their babies are three to six months old than formula-feeding mothers who consume fewer calories… Another study of mothers at one month postpartum found that mothers who breastfed (either exclusively or partially) had slimmer hips and weighed less than women whose babies received only formula…” (Yet another good reason to nurse your baby!)

Breastfeeding mothers can loose about one pound per week, while still consuming 1500 to 1800 calories per day.  The BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board says that most nursing moms actually need more like 2,000 to 2,700 calories per day! It’s very important to eat well in order to feel good, prevent mood swings, and have energy to care for your baby (especially if you are compensating for lack of sleep!).

It’s interesting to note that the composition of your milk really does not vary much with your diet. LLLI points out that mothers in famine conditions can produce perfectly nutritious milk for their babies. The main reason it’s important to eat well during lactation is for yourself– your health may suffer if too many of your own reserves are used to provide milk. Be sure to take care of yourself by “eating to hunger” and “drinking to thirst.”

Exercise and Dieting

If you feel like to need to actively work to lose weight, it is best to wait at least 2 months for your body to recover from childbirth and establish a good milk supply. Starting a diet too soon after giving birth can delay your recovery, affect your milk supply, and make you feel more tired (and no one with a newborn needs to feel MORE tired!). Always check with your doctor about increasing your activity level or reducing your calorie intake.

Exercise, not just calorie-counting, is important if you want to loose weight.  Try to be more active, whether it means hitting the gym or just walking your baby in the stroller instead of driving everywhere.

Don’t skip meals in an attempt to lose weight. It won’t help because you’ll be more likely to eat more at other meals. All you’ll accomplish is probably making yourself feel tired and grouchy. Breakfast really is important in helping you stay active and energized throughout the day. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 78% of successful dieters eat breakfast daily.

Go Slow

BabyCenter explains another danger of strict, restrictive diets. Too-rapid weight loss can release toxins that are stored in your body fat into your bloodstream and milk supply. These toxins include environmental contaminants like the heavy metals lead and mercury, persistent organic pollutants like PCBs and dioxins, and solvents.

Be realistic about weight loss

You should know that not everyone is able to return to their exact pre-pregnancy weight or shape. Pregnancy often causes permanent changes such as a softer belly, a larger waistline, and wider hips. With this in mind, you might want to adjust your goals a bit. (For a reality check, see Baby Center’s photo gallery of real post-baby bellies.)

Make good food choices

Some good food choices include:

  • low-fat milk and dairy products
  • whole grain products like whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal
  • high-fiber, low fat fruits (like apples, oranges, and berries)
  • raw vegetables (like carrots, jicama, and red pepper strips)
  • broiled or baked foods rather than fried foods
  • limit sweets and processed snack foods
  • choose “good” fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) like olive oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like salmon.
  • cut calories by drinking water instead of juice, soda, and coffee

Some suggestions for squeezing more fruits and veggies into your diet:

  • Make fruit (or veggie) smoothies
  • use fruit or vegetable salsas or sauces made from puréed vegetables over fish or chicken
  • add shredded carrots to your sandwich
  • try grilled vegetables,
  • try puréed vegetable soups. Puréeing gives you a creamy soup without having to add cream.

feature image from www.indidenim.com

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