Balanced and Healthy Diet for Lactating Mothers

I recommend lactating mothers to eat a well-balanced diet with sufficient carbohydrate foods like bread, chapati, rice, etc. and protein, foods like milk, curds, dhal, pulses, egg, fish, chicken, etc. The protein need at this time is higher and it could be met by increasing ones milk intake to 750 ml to 1 ltr/day i.e. 3-4 glasses (incl. Coffee, tea and curds, etc.) Please note you need only more protein and not more fat. Please remove as much cream and malai as possible from the milk by boiling for a longer time. Besides protein, there is also a greater need for vitamins and minerals. So include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

The next important factor is more fluid. I would say that drinking milk is a must during the nursing months. Daily the mother produces 600-800 ml of milk on an average. The protein, calcium and vitamins for this must be supplied from the motherís diet and body. I would therefore recommend the consumption of 3-4 glasses of skimmed or low fat milk daily and 10-12 glasses (2.5-3 liters) of water at least. Besides this, try to ensure that you take 2 fruits, 1 cup of cooked vegetables, 1-2 cups of dhal and the required bread, rice and chapati daily. An egg and 1-2 pcs. of chicken or fish may also be eaten per day. Those who wish to can also include 1-2 cups of fresh salad daily.

Therefore, I would like to emphasize the fact that we do not need to give fatty foods like ghee, butter, mutton, mutton soup, laddu, etc., to increase the milk production for the new mother.

Even women from the weaker sections and those who are undernourished are able to produce plenty of milk without eating fatty foods. Putting the baby to the breast at regular intervals (once in 2-3 hrs) and allowing her to suck at the breast is what stimulates the free flow of milk. If you are overweight after your delivery you must be careful with your diet from the beginning. You must eat properly balanced meals as mentioned above and completely avoid fatty foods. Regular walking for 25-30 min a day may be started from 6-8 weeks after the delivery.

Time Interval for Breast Feeding

Put the baby to the right breast allow her to drink for five minutes burp her. Then put her to your left breast and allow her to drink for as long she wants (10-15 mins). Try not to feed again for at least 2 hrs. This time limit is essential for milk to be produced and stored in the breast. When it is time for the next feed, start at the left breast for 5 mins burp and then place at right breast for the longer duration. One more important factor is to ensure that the baby's mouth is properly placed on the breast and not on the nipple otherwise the nipples will crack and the breast-feeding will be very painful and difficult.

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