Breastfeeding: what you should and should not eat

The mother's diet during breastfeeding must be balanced and varied, so it is important to eat foods such as fruits, whole grains, dairy products, legumes and vegetables, avoiding the consumption of industrialized and high-fat foods, which they do not provide nutritional value for both mother and baby.
During breastfeeding, the mother loses an average of 1 to 2 kg per month, slowly and gradually, due to the amount of energy that is used for the production of breast milk from the fat that was stored during pregnancy. 800 calories a day are needed to produce a liter of milk; 500 calories are provided by the diet and 300 are taken from the maternal deposits that formed during pregnancy. 

What to eat while breastfeeding 

During breastfeeding, women need a higher supply of energy and protein, which can be obtained with a balanced diet that includes all food groups. In addition to this, you need to make sure you meet the proper servings of dairy products to meet your calcium needs during this phase. Some tips to facilitate the feeding of the mother are to consume: 
·         At least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily;
·         Protein such as well cooked chicken or turkey and eggs;
·         Fish should be consumed 2 to 3 times a week, and those low in mercury such as sardines, tuna, trout and salmon should be consumed;  
·         The carbohydrates of preference should be whole grains such as rice, pasta, cereals, toasts and bread to increase fiber consumption, in addition to consuming grains;
·         2 or 3 servings of dairy per day such as 1 glass of skim or semi-skim milk, 1 slice of white cheese and 1 plain yogurt, for example. 
In addition to this, it is essential that during lactation the mother ingest a good amount of liquids to promote the production of breast milk, which should be around 3L of liquids per day. This amount includes the water that is present in fruits, soups and juices, so water and tea should be drunk at least 2L a day. 

Micronutrients needed during this phase

During breastfeeding, adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is important, through the consumption of foods rich in iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium and omega-3. The table below indicates what the daily requirement of these vitamins is for a breastfeeding mother and what foods they are in: 
Daily requirement
Food where they are
15 mg / d
Meat and fish, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans, chickpea, lentils, avocados.
Folic acid
500 mcg / d
Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, parsley, Brussels sprouts, beans, tomatoes. 
19 mg / d
Beans, Brazil nut and nuts.
1100 mg / d
Yogurts, milk, cheeses, dark vegetables, sesame, sesame seeds and nuts.
Vitamin C
90 mg / d
Citrus fruits, yellow paprika, orange juice, papaya, guava, melon, mango. 
Omega 3
300-600 mg / d DHA
Flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, chia, avocado, salmon and trout.
B12 vitamin
2.8 mcg / d
Meats, milk, fish and cheese.
Vitamin A
800 mcg
Eggs, milk, yogurt, carrot, squash, mango, broccoli.

Can you drink coffee during breastfeeding?

Caffeine is a stimulant of the nervous system and the baby does not manage to metabolize it, however some studies show that the consumption of 300 mg of caffeine per day does not cause any problems in the baby, so that the lactating woman can drink between 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day. 

What not to eat while breastfeeding

Foods that should be avoided in breastfeeding by the mother are foods such as fried foods, cold cuts, fatty cheeses, soft drinks, cakes or cookies because they have large amounts of fats and sugars.
In families with an allergic history, it has been found beneficial for the mother to suspend potentially allergenic foods such as eggs and peanuts, for example, however, this is not a rule, it varies from one individual to another, and should always consult the pediatrician or nutritionist. 
In addition to this, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited, because alcohol passes to the baby through breast milk.

Sample 3-day menu

In the table below you can see an example menu of a balanced and varied diet that you can do while breastfeeding:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
2 corn tortillas with 2 slices of white cheese + 1 pear 
Spinach omelet + 1 glass (200 ml) of orange juice
2 slices of whole wheat bread + 2 slices of white cheese + 1 glass (200 ml) of watermelon juice
Morning snack
240 ml of yogurt with 1/2 cup of chopped fruit
1 glass (200 ml) of papaya juice + 1 package of whole-grain soda cracker
1 medium banana
Lunch dinner
140 g of Grilled salmon + 1 cup of brown rice + 1 cup of green beans or cooked carrots + 1 tsp of olive oil + 1 mandarin
100 grams of chicken strips with paprika and onion + 1/2 cup of brown rice + 1/2 cup of lentils + 1 cup of raw salad + 1 tsp of olive oil + 1 apple
100 g of medium turkey breast + 2 pcs of medium potatoes + 2 cups of raw salad + 1 tsp of olive oil + 1 slice of melon
Afternoon snack
1 pc medium apple
1/2 cup of muesli cereal + 240 ml of skim milk
1 rye bread + 1 slice of cheese + 2 slice of avocado
Some ideas for snacks are consuming fresh fruits, a rye bread with cheese and vegetables, yogurt (200 mL), chickpea cream with vegetable sticks, cereal with milk, 1 glass of juice with a maria cookie.

How to avoid baby colic while breastfeeding

In the event that the baby suffers from colic, the mother may have to make some adjustments to her diet, however this varies from baby to baby, and she must be vigilant if the baby suffers from colic when eating a specific food, and in these cases that food must be removed from the mother's diet. 
Some foods that have been linked to colic in babies are chocolate and gas-causing foods such as beans, peas, turnips, broccoli, paprika, cucumber, or cauliflower. Also, combining two carbohydrates like beans and cabbage, for example, could cause gas. 
In some cases, cow's milk could cause colic in the baby, and it may be necessary for the mother to drink lactose-free milk or even eliminate cow's milk from her diet, replacing it with vegetable milk such as coconut, almond or rice. However, if this does not cause colic in the baby, the mother should take the daily dairy recommendation above. 
In addition to this, the intake of some teas such as ginseng, kava kava or carqueja, can also cause colic in the baby.

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