As a new mother, breastfeeding is an essential aspect of caring for your newborn. Breastfeeding offers infants essential nutrients that promote growth and development, and it also helps you bond with your baby. However, many mothers struggle with breastfeeding, and some even experience multiple health concerns resulting from the process. Here are six expert tips to help you maintain optimal health while breastfeeding.
1. Start with Proper Nutrition
One of the critical elements of optimal health during breastfeeding is nutrition. Your body needs extra calories to produce milk, and therefore, you need a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. Incorporate foods rich in protein, healthy fats, and calcium. Also, it would be best if you stayed hydrated by drinking enough water and fluids.
2. Maintain Your Gut Health
Your intestinal microbiome is a crucial component in overall health, and it has a profound impact on breastfeeding. Having a healthy gut promotes proper digestion and lowers the chances of recurrent infections.
3. Get Enough Rest
Sleep deprivation is one of the most common challenges that many nursing mothers experience. Your body needs enough rest to repair damaged cells and tissues. Get as much rest as possible when the baby is sleeping.
4. Exercise Moderately
Exercising post-partum helps restore pelvic floor strength, aids in muscle tone, and assists in the release of endorphins that promote overall well-being. However, too strenuous exercises can interfere with your breastfeeding by reducing milk production, so keep your activities moderate.
5. Manage Your Stress Levels
Breastfeeding and motherhood can be stressful. Find ways to deal with stress, such as yoga, meditation, or seeking help from friends and family members.
6. Avoid Substance Use
Alcohol and smoking reduce milk production, and nicotine and other drugs can interfere with your baby’s brain development and health. Avoid substance use entirely when breastfeeding.
The Bottom Line
Breastfeeding is a unique experience for both mother and baby. Maintaining optimal health during breastfeeding can make the experience more enjoyable, beneficial, and memorable.
Q1. How often should I breastfeed my newborn?
A1. Breastfeed your baby every two to three hours or whenever they demand, which is around 8-12 times within a 24-hour period.
Q2. How can I increase my milk supply?
A2. You can enhance your milk supply by nursing frequently, drinking plenty of fluids, using breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories, and having a comfortable and relaxed nursing environment.
Q3. Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding?
A3. You can drink coffee while breastfeeding, but limit it to one or two cups daily. Note that excessive caffeine intake may lead to infant irritability and fussiness.
Q4. Can I breastfeed if I have a cold?
A4. Yes, you can breastfeed even if you have a cold. It can provide your baby with antibodies to protect against the illness.
Q5. How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk?
A5. Monitor your baby’s feeding patterns, diaper output, weight gain, and energy levels. The general rule is that if your baby is satisfied and producing enough wet and dirty diapers, then they are receiving enough milk.