Nourishing your body is essential for nourishing your baby. Fortunately, it’s easy… you just eat wholesome food and it all goes to your child. I am talking about nourishment, not diet.
Here’s some simple guidance. One of my teachers called this the ‘No C.R.A.P’ plan. Make the most of what you put in your body and make most of your dollars. It’s very practical: no expensive or hard-to-find products and a variety of things to enjoy.
There are only four things to limit.
C: caffeine • Instead of caffeine, try Nettle tea. It’s high in vitamins and minerals, is diuretic and a good tonic for the whole body. And if you’re tired, especially early postpartum, close your eyes for 15 minutes if you are tired. Do that while your baby rests. Your body and your brain need that rejuvenation time.
R: refined foods (white sugar, white rice, white flour, alcohol) Refined foods do not provide you with complete nutrients.
A: additives and
P: processed foods. • Preservatives and Additives are chemicals your body is not designed to absorb and process and do not add to your nourishment.
What about allergies? An allergic reaction or intolerance usually shows up within a few minutes or within a few hours. You may notice something like a red rash, itchiness, swelling. Sometimes it’s a more general malaise… a bloating, a general irritation, maybe diarrhea or constipation. This can happen to an adult or a child. It could be transitory reaction, though if it’s a strong reaction or persistent, that demands more attention. It depends on how much and how often that particular food is eaten.
Pay attention to what seems to trigger it. Chances are good that if you feel okay, have no allergies yourself or in your family, your child may be just fine. You can monitor how your baby’s system responds to the food you eat.
Your first defense against allergens, bacteria and viruses is your healthy gut. An impermeable gut membrane keeps those from getting into your system. Here are two easy ways to boost your own healthy gut.
• Onions and garlic (preferably certified organic so there’s less chemical residue.) These are inexpensive and easy to find.
• Fermented foods are excellent. That includes yogurt (without sugar), kefir, kim chee and sauerkraut.
If you have concerns about breastfeeding for you and/or your baby, have a conversation with an IBCLC lactation consultant. Your nutrition is one of many things that influence breastfeeding,
It’s good to know your infant will always benefit from breast milk. That has prebiotics, probiotics and provides the immune and growth factors for your baby’s maturing gut membrane. See? You provide for yourself and your child at the same time.
“Treat the mother, treat the child” is the tried and true advice. Nourish yourself and nourish your child. The goal is to enjoy your food and enjoy breastfeeding.
• Breastfeeding and Human Lactation fifth edition Karen Wamback and Jan Riordan
Jones and Bartlett Learning.
• Food Sensitivities in the Breastfed Baby: Optimizing Prevention and Treatment Through Maternal Diet. presentation by Lindsey Hurd Reeves, MS, RD, LDN, IBCLC, CD (DONA)