Breastfeeding and Eating Right

Apart of being a Postpartum Doula is having information and resources ready to go for my clients. The majority of my clients do choose to breastfeed and whether or not they are breastfeeding they often feel an urge to get back to normal, especially with their health and feeling healthy. As a mom myself I can relate to that urge of wanting to feel healthy, however it hasn’t been easy because I love carbs and sweets and tend to forget my fruits and vegetables. When I met Allegra Gast of Aloha Nutrition she was exactly the person I needed to meet to teach me that I can breastfeed and still be healthy (even with a treat or two). Allegra is an IBCLC (Internatal Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and Registered Dietician. She specializes in helping breastfeeding mothers’ create diet/nutrition plans based on their needs and wants. On top of that she stays connected with her clients to help them stay accountable towards their goals. Whether or not you are a mom she can help you out! I have the honor of her being a guest blogger today! Read all about what she does below and don’t forget to check out the coupon she has provided……

Ever wondered how your diet affected your baby during pregnancy or during breastfeeding? As a registered dietitian, I help mothers create a personalized nutrition plan for the family and for their baby. Whether the mother is pregnant or breastfeeding, nutrition does matter.

During pregnancy, mom and baby share the same blood stream, so what mom eats, affects the baby. If mom’s blood sugar spikes, then baby’s blood sugar spikes. Since breastmilk is made by the bloodstream, baby will get everything she needs even to the mom’s expense. If mom isn’t getting it from her diet, then baby will take it from her, because the baby becomes priority. If moms aren’t fueling themselves properly, they will become tired, fatigue, and even their immune system can be jeopardized making them sick.

There are many instances when a breastfeeding mother has to cut something out from her diet, which means she’ll need to be monitored to ensure she is meeting all of her vitamin and mineral requirements. Typically they must cut out dairy, soy, peanuts, or eggs.

Now there’s no perfect diet out there. Being pregnant is challenging as your hormones are all over the place and you’re miraculously creating a human being. And while diet can help with symptoms, everyone is different so what works for one mom might not work for someone else. My job as a dietitian is to help moms find that diet that works specifically for them. As pregnant and breastfeeding women, we all generally need the key nutrients such as calcium, folate, iron, DHA, vitamin D etc, but how we get those nutrients are different, because not everyone likes the same foods.

A lot of women think that they can eat whatever they want, as long as they take their prenatal vitamins. Well prenatal vitamins are supplements, which means they supplement the diet – they fill in the gaps for what foods might be lower in those nutrients. Prenatal vitamins are not meal replacers, they must go hand in hand with a well balanced diet.

Now what does a well balanced diet mean? Well a well balanced diet is defined as a diet that contains the proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water necessary to maintain good health. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created this visual to help us understand how we should build our plate. A quarter fruit, quarter vegetables, quarter protein, quarter grains, and a side of dairy.

You probably won’t eat all five food groups at every meal, but a well balanced diet at a meal should contain at least 3 of these food groups. For example breakfast you could have oatmeal (whole grain), milk (dairy), and berries (fruit). Dinner could be sweet potato (vegetable), brown rice (whole grain), and salmon (protein).

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will help ensure you’re meeting all your vitamins and minerals, which will help maintain proper nutrition in life in general but especially to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

This is the one time where your diet directly affects another human being, so why not make that the excuse to eating healthy. If you’re not sure where to start or not sure what nutrients to take, contact me at aloha-nutrition.com. Every client I see is different, so I will help cater something that will work for YOU. Congrats momma!

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