4 Beneficial Foods for Breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding a newborn child is the way to go. If possible, it is recommended for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life, as there have been many medical and scientific benefits that stem from this practice.

According to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, “breast is best” when it comes to cognitive development and brain function. According to their studies, children who had been fed breast milk scored higher on an intelligence test than those who did not.

For mothers, breastfeeding can be boosted by consuming certain foods, which can enhance lactation and provide the baby with beneficial nutrients. Here are a few breastfeeding superfoods to try.

Foods for Breastfeeding Mothers

1. Red Meat
Credit: Wilson Hui/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Breastfeeding mothers can become zinc deficient, which can lead to issues in breast function and breast milk production.

Beef is an excellent, natural source of zinc, containing over six milligrams of this nutrient in every 100 grams of meat.

2. Salmon

Salmon is full of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which come with a host of benefits for mother and child. Omega-3s can help ward off postpartum depression and may also be linked to increased visual acuity in the child.

3. Oatmeal

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According to traditional wisdom, oatmeal is the food to eat for an increased milk supply. However, this has not been proven by research. Nonetheless, whole grains are a healthy choice, as oatmeal is high in fiber and can promote relaxation due to the release of serotonin, promoting milk flow.

4. Leafy Greens

Folic acid is an important nutrient for nursing mothers, as deficiency in folate can lead to slow growth and development. While it is under debate as to whether folate can produce metabolic and development benefits in the child, the absence of it can lead to certain problems.

What to Avoid

The above foods are just a few that can benefit nursing mothers, with their rich nutritional profile and benefits for both the mother and child. However, there are beverages that should be avoided due to the potential harmful effects.

Beer
Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

This may seem like common knowledge to some, but in certain traditional wisdoms, beer is hailed as an old wives’ remedy for low milk supply. However, research shows that it may have the adverse effect and actually decrease the intake of milk by the child.

Coffee

A morning cup of coffee is an addiction for some but is best left alone for the breastfeeding mother. The Journal of Caffeine Research states that caffeine consumption can lead to irritability and wakefulness in the baby.

All in all, it is important to eat a healthy diet and to restrict foods that seem to disagree with the baby. Otherwise, it is recommended to continue eating a typical diet, as long as it contains nutrient-rich foods that nourish the child.

Related: Breast Milk Establishes Gut Microbiomes of Babies

Marissa DiPietro
Marissa is a health and fitness writer from the Tampa Bay area. In addition to researching the latest trending topics, she enjoys instructing kickboxing classes and posting incessantly to her Instagram account.