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Nutrition During Lactation and its Benefits:

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Breast milk is a liquid food source that the human body generates to nourish newborns. In response to pregnancy and breastfeeding, the body produces it. However, individuals who have not been pregnant can also breastfeed with the help of hormones, medications, and stimulation like pumping.

Breast milk not only provides a child with enough nourishment, but it also boosts immunity. Nursing offers many benefits for both parents and children, and many of these benefits continue long after the breastfeeding period is over.

It’s amazing how flexible breast milk is; depending on the baby and the breastfeeding parent, its composition, color, volume, and flavor may all alter.

Nutrition during lactation:

In order to provide you and your child with the nourishment they require while you are lactating, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet. When breastfeeding, additional protein and calories are required. Eat three meals that are well-balanced and a few healthy snacks to meet your nutritional needs. Increase your intake of lean protein sources, fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains. Continue eating three servings of foods from the milk group each day to preserve your own bones and get the calcium needed for your baby’s bones.

Advantages of breastfeeding:

For baby:

  • It provides the liquids and nutrients needed for the first six months of life and is easier to digest than formula.
  • It may also offer some protection from allergies, ear infections, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, and SIDS.
  • It passes immunity from the mother to the child to help with illness prevention.
  • Lowers the risk of childhood obesity, diabetes, leukaemia, and lymphoma.
  • Some studies have found a correlation between IQ levels and later childhood.

For mom:

  • Helps the uterus return to normal size, may gradually assist with postpartum weight loss, and is more practical and inexpensive than formula.
  • Could reduce your risk of developing uterine and breast cancer
  • Deepens your relationship with your child

Nutrients requirements during lactation:

Carbohydrates:

The recommended daily limit for breastfeeding mothers is 210 grammes of carbs, according to the Institute of Medicine. Breastfeeding women who regularly exercise may require more carbohydrates because they are the body’s main source of energy during physical activity. As long as you are getting at least 210 grammes of carbohydrates per day from wholesome sources, you can start reducing or eliminating harmful carbs from your diet.

Protein:

Protein requirements for breastfeeding women are higher than for non-lactating women. For lactations lasting 0 to 6 months and 6 to 12 months, respectively, the recommended daily quantities should be raised by 16.8g and 12g, respectively.

The diet should carefully contain adequate amounts of high-quality protein for optimum milk production (milk, cheese, paneer, curds, poultry, eggs, cereal pulse combinations, nuts).

A diet lacking in protein and energy will result in a decrease in milk volume. The amount of casein (milk protein), however, may also decline if very little protein is taken.

Fat:

It is recommended to eat extra fat in order to meet the essential fatty acid requirements. The energy density provided by this amount of fat in the diet would be sufficient to meet the higher energy needs of breastfeeding women.

Calcium:

Breast milk has about 30 milligrammes of calcium per 100 millilitres. On the basis of an optimal output of 850 ml, milk releases 300 mg of calcium every day. Additional calcium must be ingested in order to allow for the daily release of an additional 300 mg of calcium. A mother needs 1000 mg of calcium per day at this time to meet both her own needs and the calcium required for milk production.

The daily minimum amount of 500 ml of milk or milk products must be consumed to provide the calcium need, with the remaining requirements being met by other food items such ragi, Bengal gramme (whole), soybean, amaranth, fenugreek leaves, radish leaves, sesame seeds, tamarind, fish, etc.

Comparison of nutrient requirements in pregnancy and lactation

Nutrient 

Normal
recommended
intake 

Recommended intake during pregnancy

Recommended intake during lactation

Energy (kcal)

2000

2450

2500

Protein(g)

46

71

71

Vitamin A(mcg)

700

770

1300

Iron

18

27

9

Folic acid(mcg)

400

600

500

Iodine(mcg)

150

220

290

Calcium(mg)

1000

1000

1000

Zinc(mg)

8

11

12

Vitamin b12

2.4

2.6

2.8

Conclusion:

Most moms who give birth to babies have enough food reserves to nurse their babies. The maternal diet may have an effect on the quantity of milk produced, the protein content, the water-soluble vitamin content, and the fatty acid composition.

Supplementing the diet of the mother with vitamins and minerals may not be necessary, with the exception of strict vegetarian mothers or mothers who are undernourished. Many doctors encourage the nursing mother to continue taking prenatal vitamins because it may be challenging to assess the quality of the mother’s diet while lactating. If suggested dietary adjustments are made for the mother, special conditions like diabetes, digestive problems, and inborn metabolic faults do not prohibit nursing. breastfeeding could be wholly or babies with special needs or those weighing less than 1500 g must have their nutritional requirements fully met. It could be required to alter the mother’s or the child’s diet in some ways.

Breast milk may possibly expose the newborn to contagious illnesses such hepatitis, herpes, TB, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It could be suggested to temporarily or permanently quit nursing. The only absolute contraindication to nursing is newborn galactosemia.

When a mother or newborn requires dietary modifications on either end, breastfeeding may be discouraged. This chapter’s specific recommendations are aimed to help a determined mother who wants to nurse her infant in meeting their nutritional demands. These recommendations aim to promote breastfeeding rather than discourage it.

Dn.Sadia Fatima is Director and Co-Founder of SDNO. She is a great nutrition entrepreneur and leader. Her actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. She can be reached at @nutracare21_.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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