Better Nutrition For Nursing Mothers
Mothers who want to be successful at breastfeeding need to eat a well-balanced diet filled with healthful foods and must also drink lots of liquids. But a new study says that most mothers aren't doing anything of the sort.
A University of Granada study found that 94% of new mothers who are breastfeeding their infants, aren't taking care to eat right. They're not getting the recommended daily requirements for iron, fat, or vitamins A and E. On the other hand, they're eating much too much protein.
While an off day or two can happen to anyone, the importance of eating enough calories on a regular basis cannot be underestimated when discussing the nutritional needs of a nursing mother. Because a nursing mom needs extra energy to make milk, the minimum daily number of calories suggested for lactating women comes to 2,000 calories.
There should be a good balance of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, but there should also be generous amounts of vegetables and fruit. A nursing mother also needs to drink extra fluids and a mother should use this opportunity to pack in more nutrients with milk or juice, rather than drinking cola or coffee. Try to drink a glass of something every time you feed your baby. That should be just the right amount of liquid for a nursing mother.
Following these rules won't just benefit your baby, but will also benefit you. A study published by Kaiser Permanente in 2009 found that the longer a mother breastfeeds her child, the more benefits to her health are accrued. Breastfeeding past nine months reduces a mother's risk for metabolic syndrome (several risk factors for heart disease occurring as a cluster) by almost 86% in those women who suffer from gestational diabetes. In women who don't have gestational diabetes, the risk for this syndrome is cut by 56%.
Early Breast Cancer
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds that women who breastfeed their babies probably lower their risk for developing breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Not yet convinced you want to nurse? In August of 2009, researchers reported that women who have a mother, sister, or other type of close relative who suffered from breast cancer cut their risk for developing the disease by 59% if they breastfeed their babies. In any event, women who breastfeed cut their overall risk for early breast cancer (before menopause) in half.