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Food For Breastfeeding Mother And Baby

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

The period of time that a mother lactates to feed her young is called the lactation period. Breastfeeding is an art, something mother and baby have to learn. Sometimes this learning process may be accompanied by challenges and problems that have to be solved.

What is Lactation Period?

Lactation is the process of milk secretion from the mammary glands of a mother soon after childbirth. The milk, thus produced provides nutrition and immunity to the young one. Galactopoiesis is the stage that maintains milk production and requires prolactin and oxytocin.

Preparation for Lactation

The female is ready to produce milk during the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy. During the later stages of pregnancy, the female enters the first stage of lactogenesis. At this stage, the breasts make colostrum, a thick, yellow fluid, also known as the first milk a baby receives.

Colostrum is highly rich in immunoglobulin A that boosts the immunity of the newborn. It prevents any pathogens from invading the baby’s body and also prevents food allergies.

Lactation Process

  1. Due to the impact of ovarian hormones and placental hormones, breast growth begins during the period of pregnancy and it continues to get larger in size after the childbirth.

  2. During this period, a certain amount of milk is produced in the breast.

  3. The milk secretion increases only after the baby’s birth.

  4. During the process of lactation, the milk is secreted from the mammary glands.

Breast-feeding nutrition can be confusing. You might have questions, about what foods and drinks are best for you — and how your diet might affect your breast milk and your baby.

Understand the basics of breast-feeding nutrition :

  • Protein

Growing babies use a lot of protein, so you'll need to eat additional dietary protein to meet their needs. Protein is vital for the growth, maintenance and repair of cells.

Sources :

Meat,(Poultry & fish), Seafood,Eggs,Cheese,Milk and yogurt,Cottage cheese,Tofu,Legumes (such as beans, pulses and soy products)

  • Calcium

Calcium is required for the fetal skeletal development,plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems. During lactation, calcium is very essential for milk production.

Sources : Milk,Yogurt,Hard cheeses,Calcium-fortified orange juice,Calcium-fortified tofu

(At least 500 ml milk or milk products per day must be taken to meet the calcium requirement and the remaining requirements should be met from other food stuff like ragi, Bengal gram (whole), soybean, amaranth, fenugreek leaves, radish leaves, sesame seeds, tamarind, fish etc.)

  • Iron

Iron helps maintain energy and prevent fatigue inbreast-feeding mothers. It is necessary to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in red blood cells to all parts of the body. It also supports proper neurological development during infancy and early childhood.

Sources :

Poultry, Seafood, Dried fruit, Egg yolks, Lean meats, fortified cereals, legumes (beans, split peas, and lentils)

  • Vitamins

- Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps develop a baby's heart, eyes, and immune system. Vitamins should not contain more than 1,500 micrograms.


milk, cheese, eggs, fruits (orange, mango, apricots) vegetables (such as cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, spinach and broccoli)

- Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps form a baby's red blood cells; breaks down protein, fat and carbohydrates; and is needed for normal brain development and function.

Sources :

poultry, fish, whole grains, fortified cereals, brussels sprouts, green peas, beans and bananas.

- Vitamin C

Vitamin C increase the supply of breast milk and for mothers who are already healthy, it will aid them to provide a steady flow of breast milk. If strengthens teeth,bones and immune system.

Sources :

Citrus fruits, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, Potato, Bell pepper, Tomato, Kiwi, Cauliflower, Cabbage

  • Folic acid

Folic acid helps the healthy development of a baby's brain and spinal cord. It's also needed to make red blood cells and white blood cells. Sources : fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and nuts.

  • Liquids

While breast-feeding you should drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Have a glass of water each time you nurse your baby.

Sources :

Juice, milk, broths, herb teas and soups.


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