You know the saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away?" Well in the case of breastfeeding mothers, it isn't just any old apple. Or any old fruit, in fact. Nope. All fruits are not created equal. Your needs as a breastfeeding mother are different than they used to be. And so, there are some stand-out fruits to eat when you're breastfeeding.
As many new moms know, one of the most important goals during breastfeeding is maintaining an adequate milk supply. As dietician and nutritionist, Brigitte Zeitlin, founder of BZ Nutrition, explains to Romper, eating lean proteins, a wide array of veggies, and whole grains is imperative for breastfeeding moms and can really help keep up that milk supply. In addition to those foods, adding two servings (around two cups) of fruit per day can provide new moms and their babies with even more crucial nutrients. But as mentioned, not all fruits are created equal when it comes to breastfeeding benefits. Some fall into the category of "galactagogues." From the Greek “galacta,” meaning milk, galactagogues are foods that are thought to help increase milk production, according to Healthline. And while there's "little medical evidence to support the idea that any single food can boost milk production," anecdotal evidence is strong. Plus, "some of the foods anecdotally believed to be galactagogues fall in line with a healthy diet" anyway, and fresh fruit definitely qualifies as a beneficial addition to your daily menu.
As a new mom, it may feel hard to find time to do anything during the day... even eat. So make sure you're really maximizing your meal and snack times. The great thing about eating a diet chock full of breastfeeding-geared nutrients is that both mama and baby will get exactly what they need. So if you're looking for fruits that'll help with your flow, here are nine of the best picks for breastfeeding moms.
"These citrus gems are an excellent source of vitamin C which breastfeeding moms need a lot of, even more than when you were pregnant," says Zeitlin. As Kid's Health reported, vitamin C plays a crucial role in growing healthy teeth and muscles in all children, including newborns. Zeitlin says it can also help boost tissue growth and repair in breastfeeding moms. She also adds that new moms should aim for about 120 milligrams of vitamin C per day, which would be about two small oranges.
These smooth and sweet cuties pack some serious phytoestrogens, which mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. As Zietlin says, phytoestrogens help regulate milk producing hormones in the body and can increase lactation. Apricots are also full of calcium, potassium and vitamins C and A — all of which contribute to the optimal health for you and your baby.
3. Green Papaya
"Green papaya is a great source of galactogogue which helps induce lactation-enhancing milk production," Zeitlin says. She recommends adding 1/2 cup of green papaya to a smoothie with other galactogogue-rich foods like spinach and carrots. Add some unsweetened almond milk with 1/2 cup of greek yogurt and voila: a delicious breakfast for breastfeeding mamas.
The stand-out benefit of blueberries is their antioxidant properties. Blueberries have the highest potency of antioxidants of any fruit, according to WebMD. Although the amount that passes through breastmilk is largely unknown, it's been confirmed that antioxidants do indeed pass through to the baby, which may help prevent disease in infancy according to a study in the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition.
Strawberries are a serious vitamin C powerhouse, and will help new moms meet their recommended 120 milligrams per day. Additionally, Zietlin says strawberries have a high water content, which helps with hydration. It's imperative breastfeeding mothers stay hydrated and healthy for themselves, and for their baby. Not getting enough water won't necessarily impact how much milk a mother makes. But, according to Dr. Sears' website, if you're not getting enough fluids you could become fatigued.
Potassium is super important for pregnant women, but maintaining high levels of potassium is still crucial while breastfeeding. And actually, you need more of it as a breastfeeding mom, as it will help you maintain your fluid and electrolyte balance. As per Baby Center, the recommended amount of potassium is 5,100 milligrams.
One medium banana contains about 450 milligrams of potassium, but don't think you have to turn into a monkey. The crucial mineral is found in several foods, including potatoes, which are the super-potassium packers.
Many people think avocados are a vegetable. But, despite their outward appearance, they're actually a fruit. Avocados pack a lot of potassium (more than the banana) at around 975 milligrams in a single avocado, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Additionally, avocados are a protein-filled fruit at four grams per serving, as shown by the USDA's nutrient database. Avocados are also a great source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and essential in cell growth for moms and babies.
This is a more of an exotic offering, but sapodillas won't disappoint when it comes to taste. Sapodilla is a higher-calorie fruit, according to USDA nutrient calculations, which is good for new moms and breastfeeding moms needing to make up the calories they are burning through breastfeeding (around 500 calories are burned per day through breastfeeding.) The fruit is also super high in fiber, which will help moms feel fuller and aid in preventing constipation.
Cantaloupes have 50 grams of Vitamin C, according to the USDA, which is roughly half of a breastfeeding mom's recommended daily amount. They also have a high water content right up there with strawberries and watermelon which again, helps breastfeeding moms stay hydrated with the amount of fluid they're losing.
Eating nutrient-rich foods, including these fruits, will go a long way in healing the mother after child-birth, giving her the energy she needs and providing the best possible growth and development environment for her newborn.
Arun Mamachan Xavier, Kavita Rai, and Amitha M. Hegde (2011) Total Antioxidant Concentrations of Breastmilk—An Eye-opener to the Negligent. The Journal of Health, Population & Nutrition https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259723/
Brigitte Zeitlin, founder of BZ Nutrition
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