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Diet Plan for Indian Breastfeeding Moms
Feeling hungry very often like never before? Yes because your baby is growing day by day and he is dependent on you during first 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Modern ways say eat anything as before. Your mom has given you list of tradition items to have like laddoos and panjiris. Wonder how does a perfect breastfeeding diet plan should be? Lets see how we can combine modern and traditional ways to make a perfect diet plan for Indian breastfeeding mommy.
Most Important Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
1. Have Lots of Porridge
Why? Because they are easy to digest. According to Indian traditional method, nursing women are given kheers/soups more than usual food, though your dietitian will tell you, eat whatever you want. You have to eat a lot and digest it too. These special porridge prepared for Indian women by their moms has many galactogouges like Cumin, fenugreek seeds, poppy seeds, Ghee, almonds etc. You will not get bored of eating.
2. Stay Away from Spicy and Oily Foods
Though they say whatever you eat has no direct impact on baby, it is not true. Your baby will show you how your eating affects him/her. The spicy and oily food upsets baby’s stomach, and provides no significant amount of nutrients.
Also, what you eat impacts the taste of your breast milk and hence you may not want your baby to reject your breast milk at times. If your stomach is delicate and you are sensitive to the strong smell of spicy foods then you are more likely to suffer from some health issues like morning sickness and acid reflux. So, it’s better to put a break on your spicy cravings and follow a healthy diet during breastfeeding.
3. Eat Short Meals Frequently
After having a baby, there is always this dilemma that whether to eat more or eat less. The thing is, cutting down on your diet will affect the amount of breast milk production and eating too much will hamper your digestion process. So, what’s the escape? If you eat heavy 2-3 meals, your digestive system will suffer.
If you eat heavy 2-3 meals, your digestive system will suffer. so take small meals with increased frequency.
4. Early Morning and Late Night Kheer
Take one bowl of kheer at night just before sleeping and also one more just after getting up. The Date Kheer/Almond Kheer/Aliv Kheer are best for nursing mothers. Eating a special diet during breastfeeding is not important but to have a balanced diet where you get enough nutrition that aids to the production of your breast milk is what really matters. Lactating mom special kheer are nutritious and contain galactogogues, milk and dry fruits – a complete powerhouse of nutrition. Explore this blog for recipes for Breastfeeding moms special recipes.
List of Foods Must to Have: Secret of Successful Breastfeeding
Below are the foods you should include in your diet.
For details on Healthy Foods for Breastfeeding these click here
1. Fenugreek Seeds
Indians are lucky to get fresh fenugreek Leaves and Seeds, in rest of the world nursing mom take fenugreek supplements. The sprouted seeds are blessing for you during 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Add fenugreek sprouts to your regular subzi everyday. Or just try stir fry of it with onion and garlic. They do not taste bitter due to sprouting.
Garlic is known for promoting lactation. Well, you can’t completely deny the fact that eating too much of garlic can make your breast milk taste intense or your baby may find it intolerable. But, if you are having garlic in small amounts in various recipes, the ball will be in your court only. Garlic also improves your cardiac health and dilates blood vessels.
Use Garlic in all your curries and soups
3. Cumin Seeds, Poppy Seeds and Fennel Seed
Cumin seeds are well known for boosting breast milk production whereas poppy seeds keep a nursing mom stress-free and calm. Talking about the fennel seeds, these herbal elements have properties like estrogen and aids to the production of breast milk. These are traditional Galactogogues
4. Bottle Gourds
Bottle gourds are rich in fibers. Also, it contains a huge amount of water which keeps you hydrated during breastfeeding and adds to the milk production. These milk inducers can be used in curries or halwa or many other recipes.
Gourds help to boost milk production. Learn here
5. Dill Leaves
Dill leaves have lactogenic property. These leaves are a powerhouse of essential nutrients like vitamin, iron, potassium, folate, fiber, zinc and phosphorus. Zinc is well known for boosting prolactin, an essential hormone known for regulating breast milk production. Fresh Dill leaves are healthy for you and baby.
Almonds are known as the brain foods and they are really nutritious for new moms and babies. Nursing moms can avail the benefits like strong bones, better digestion, added immunity and relief from inflammation by eating almonds. This superfood has a great taste and can aid to breast milk production.
Soak them in water overnight and have them in morning, make your baby more intelligent.
7. Coconut Water
Coconut water is a great source of energy. It contains lauric acid which has a great nutritional value. It contains many minerals and vitamins including potassium, sodium, calcium, manganese etc. It is full of nutrients and keeps you hydrated. More hydration means more breast milk production.
8. Milk and Desi Ghee
9. Edible gum/ Dink (Gondh)
They make yours and baby’s bones stronger
11. Whole Grains Sprouted
They are super healthy. Find details here.
Try Shatawari Kalp after first 3-4 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Let your body make milk from the healthy regular food before you try any supplements.
We can divide breastfeeding period in 3 stages as below:
Stage 1. First 40 days
Stage 2. After 40 days to 6 months (Remaining exclusive breastfeeding period)
Stage 3. Extended breastfeeding (ideally till 2 yrs)
Diet Plan for First 40 days of Breastfeeding:
First 40 days are very important for you and baby. You experience hormonal and physical changes in your body. Your body is healing; regaining strength, making milk.
While selecting food for upcoming 4 weeks you want to select not only nutrient dense food but the food which is digested easily. You might get different advice about food from different people. Your mother or grandmother will tell you to eat selected foods while doctor mostly will tell you that you can eat anything as long as it’s healthy. So to make a best diet plan let’s see how can you combine best of both ways: traditional way and modern way.
1. Select all traditional galactagogue foods in your diet
2. Widen the limit, by adding healthy foods which may not be traditional foods e.g. curd or fermented foods like Idli and Dosa but make sure they are not sour i.e. fermented for short time
3. Include all liquid diet like Kheer, Panjiri and porridge in your diet as they get digested easily but do not limit diet to it. Include regular healthy meals too. (i.e. Chapatti, dal rice, salad)
4. Select nutrition rich foods as you have to fulfill nutritional requirement of 2 bodies.
5. Traditionally breastfeeding mother’s food plate is loaded with ghee and nuts, you don’t have to eat too much of it. But as these are nutrients rich food items you don’t want to skip it from daily intake.
6. Very early morning breakfast and late night milk is very important as your baby will feed during night also. Your body has to be prepared for anytime breast milk need.
7. You surely want to avoid chilly, spices, extra oil, junk food not only because its unhealthy for you but also because it may upset your baby’s stomach. Same way you should avoid: Potato, dal except moong dal, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli. As written above you should include nutrient rich foods in every meal as you are only having food for requirement of two i.e. you and your baby. So you should not include empty calories food.
Sample diet plan for first 40 days:
- 6:00 AM Early morning breakfast
- One portion of any of : Kheer/Panjiri/Gondh Laddoo/Porridge/Date milk shake/Almond Milk (Milk + Almonds paste, Almonds soaked overnight)
- Herbal tea made up of galactagogues.
- 8:00 AM Breakfast
- Poha/Veg Upma (any non spicy regular breakfast, make use of sprouted fenugreek seeds)
- 1 cup of milk
- Non citric fruit
- 10:00 AM Porridge
(made up of whole grain atta like Raggi/Nachani or wheat or rice or bajara or jowar or shingada) Recipe here
- 12:30 PM Lunch
- Green veg curry (Methi-Fenugreek/Spinach/ curry made with jeera/cumin and garlic)
- Moon dal curry
- Whole wheat Chapati/bajara (Pearl millet) roti,
- 4:00 PM Afternoon snack
- Gondh Laddoo/Dry fruit kheer/Porridge,
- Hearbal tea
- 8:00 PM Dinner
- Green veg curry (Methi-Fenugreek/Spinach/Dill leaves curry made with jeera/cumin and garlic)
- Moon dal curry
- Whole whar Chapati/Bajara (Pearl millet) roti
- 1 cup of Milk with protein powder or date syrup
1. Non vegetarian should include Fish curry or meat curry in meal but do not use chilly or spices in it. You should avoid eat meat; you should just use the soup in curry. You can boil meat for a long time for better extract of meat. Have Egg whites in breakfast.
2. You need to keep yourself hydrated, drink water or any healthy drink regularly. Most of times while breastfeeding you will get thirsty so it’s a good practice to drink 1 glass of water just before you start breastfeeding the baby.
3. You may use simple herbal tea instead of plain water.
4. Use jaggery instead of sugar wherever possible. Jaggery is source of iron.
See some recipes here for breastfeeding moms.
Stage 2: After 40 days till baby is 6 months old
After first very caring 40 days of your baby’s life, he/she is now ready to try new tastes in breast milk.
You still have to continue same diet plan with an addition of variety in food.
For 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding you need to eat enough food as your baby is daily developing physically and mentally.
You may go on slowly introducing different vegetables, fruits, Chicken/mutton to your diet still avoiding spicy, oily and junk foods.
Do not take more than one new food in your diet in a day because you want to see if baby is ok with it (Like baby is not colic and passes motion as usual).
Once baby is 5 months old, you can eat all kinds of beans, potatoes, citric fruits, idli/dosa made up of well fermented batter, onion, even moderate chilies/spices. You can use black pepper in moderate in place of chilies. As you are going to start solids once baby is 6 months old so having all types of food through breast milk now can make her digestive system ready for direct solids.
Once baby is of 5 months old, you can skip all extra breakfasts or snacks slowly, because in this last month of exclusive breastfeeding, you can use the reserves from your body which are stored during pregnancy and last 5 months. But go slowly on dieting else it may affect breast milk production and your health too. Remember exclusive breastfeeding itself is working for your weight loss.
Stage 3: 7 months to 2 years
Now you can have your regular but still healthy diet. (You should have diet same as you had in pregnancy.)
Even after you started solids to baby you still have to breastfeed same quantity of milk for at least next one month. So go easy on dieting for weight loss, you still need energy and nutrients.
You don’t need the extra snacks in between your meals, so you can skip them.
After baby is around 7-8 months you may change your baby’s diet more on solids and less on breast milk.
Your baby is directly having energy/fat rich foods like ghee so you can reduce that in your own diet.
Read Weight loss after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
NOTE: During breastfeeding period you must avoid alcohol/smoking.
Essential Tips Every Woman Must know About Breastfeeding
• Try to feed your baby at frequent intervals since as more as you feed your newborn baby the production of milk increases, especially night feeds are vital to set up breastfeeding and to uphold milk production.
• Since breast milk is a complete food, so it is sufficient for your baby for the first six months. That means there is not any need of any additional supplement like water or juice. However, mothers can consume additional supplements to increase the production and nutrients of the breast milk.
• To give proper nourishment to your young one, it is imperative that you must intake adequate amount of liquid products such as soups, juices, milk and most important water.
• Expose your nipples to light or air after every feed you give during first few days of breastfeeding. Let a little amount breast milk to dry up on your nipples as it has anti-infective properties.
• If your breasts get distended and engorged then try out cold compresses as it helps in diminishing swelling, after that gently massage and take the warm shower to regulate the flow of milk.
• Do not worry if you put on weight and don’t begin to cut out your diets or start exercises at least for three months to lose the extra kilos. At this time your baby is entirely dependent on your diet and fat & carbs of your body are required for baby’s good health.
• If you are working women, you can store your breast milk but warm up the breast milk only by placing the bottle of breast milk in hot water. Do not directly heat the milk as it might leads in losing of Vitamin C contents from milk.
Use the above guide to make the best choices when planning your diet. Having food timely helps in sufficient milk production so stick to the diet plan throughout the exclusive breastfeeding time. Eating variety of nutritious foods helps meet your extra nutrients need. Learn more about diet for breastfeeding mothers to increase milk here.