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What should I eat while breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding it is essential to eat a well balanced diet as you will need to keep your strength up in order to look after your new little bundle of joy. You should eat small meals often with healthy snacks in between as this is a good way of keeping your hunger at bay and your energy levels up. You should make sure to include the following in your diet; complex carbs like wholegrains and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats that are found in avocados, nuts and seeds. Fish like salmon or halibut are also wonderful sources of healthy fats and are considered low in mercury. It is also essential to include good sources of calcium in your diet as it can be drawn out of your bones while breastfeeding. It can be found in , cheese and yoghurt, oranges, tofu, dark leafy greens like kale. If necessary you can take vitamin D, magnesium or zinc supplements which aid in calcium absorption.
 
After giving birth and while breastfeeding, it is quite common to become a little constipated. Drinking water, eating whole grains and walking should help ease any problems. Vegetables that are high in fibre are also recommended.

If fixing lunch is out of the question, then at least grab some fruit. Fruits contain fibres, vitamins, water and in some cases, like bananas, enough calories to help you cope for an hour or two, or until you can prepare something a little more substantial.

Some mothers feel that eating spicy foods will cause stomach pain in the baby. Others eat spicy foods and don't notice any problems in their baby. But if you notice that your baby is a lot fussier one day and you had some really spicy food the night before, this could be the problem.

If your baby tends to have a lot of gas or suffers from stomach pain, it may be prudent to exclude foods that are known to increase gas production. Such foods include broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
Excluding all cow’s milk from your diet may help if you think that the baby may be suffering from colic. This means all cow's milk, including any small amounts of milk powder added to all sorts of prepared foods. And remember, it may take weeks before you see any improvement in your baby.

Fish in general is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids (studies have shown it has a positive effect on your baby's IQ), but some types of fish are high in mercury. You should not eat more than 12 ounces a week of canned light tuna and other cooked fish. You should avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and white snapper. Make sure you check the guidelines where you live. There may be other fish that you should avoid. Fish that are safe to eat while breastfeeding are salmon, rainbow trout, canned mackerel, shrimp, pollock and catfish.

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