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Breastfeeding diet myths

Sadly, but today the opinions of majority woman about breastfeeding are based on various prejudices and myths that are passed from "generation to generation." The most common myth is that a breastfeeding mother has to be obsessive about what she eats.
Breastfeeding is a natural process and it would be strange if its success depended directly on the special nutrition. In such a situation in less developed countries few children would survive. According to current researches the amount of fat, minerals and vitamins in the milk does not depend on the breastfeeding mother’s nutrition.

Diet of breastfeeding mother

A nursing mother can keep her usual menu, because a pregnancy, childbirth and baby feeding are natural physiological processes and their success cannot be associated with diet only. As a proof, no mammal does change its nutrition after had given a birth! A human being, who belongs to the mammal classification, differs little from them in this sense.
Pregnant woman, of course, need to keep a certain diet. You should select the ultimate and varied menu that includes a large amount of natural products. You can keep the selected diet while breastfeeding.
One of the most persistent misconceptions is that a nursing mother should eat for two or the baby will not have enough milk. The statistics show clearly that the increase in calorie intake has no effect on the amount of milk produced. The amount of milk produced depends on how often the baby is breastfed. With properly organized breastfeeding process mother’s body quickly adapts to the needs of the child and produces as much milk as it is needed.

Specific products

You may ask, what about those products which irritate the baby's stomach? The list of these products includes beans, cabbage, grapes, brown bread etc. In addition, eggs, strawberries, nuts, citrus, honey, even milk are considered to be dangerous as they are potential allergens.
In fact, there is no direct connection between what a nursing mother eats and the composition of milk. Indeed, mother's milk has a rather complicated structure, and concentration of elements in the milk is determined by the internal lactation mechanisms. Namely, milk is produced from the lymph and blood components. Only artificial additives (preservatives, coloring agents, stabilizers) and certain drugs can enter in a breast milk without any changes. The breastfeeding mother should pay attention to so-called E-additives and medicines and try to avoid taking them.

If the problems appeared

What happens when the baby reacts to a food? In some cases, the objective assessment of the situation shows that there was not a response to a specific product. Baby reacted to something else. The reasons for problems that may be associated with breastfeeding, usually, not connected with mother’s menu but with other factors. That can be a tense atmosphere in the family, difficulties with adaptation, problems with the development of the immune system and/or child's gastrointestinal tract.
In some cases, in fact, there can be an allergic reaction to a food, but the source of the reaction is mother, not a baby. Thus, the mother should bear in mind that if she has an adverse reaction to particular food it is very likely that a baby will also have it.

Taste of the mother's milk

There are products that can change the taste of milk. For example garlic, onions, cauliflower, radish, spices etc. Recent studies confirmed that these products may affect the smell and taste of milk, however, it has no influence on child's appetite. At the same time, if the mother took alcohol just before breastfeeding, children were sluggish or refused to nurse. We do not recommend breastfeeding mothers to drink alcohol, even in small quantities.

Fluid intake

A number of scientists suggest increasing significantly water intake in the first month of lactation. In addition, if you add fluids which your body obtains during a meal… We recommend that the mother should drink according to her thirst. The mother's body knows if she needs more fluids, and tells her by making her feel thirsty.

Fat content of mother’s milk

Previously, doctors said that the level of fat content of milk depends on the amount of calories taken by mother with food. In fact, the fat content of milk depends upon a number of factors and the diet is one of the most insignificant factors.
Firstly, the breastfeeding mother's body responds to the needs of the baby. Secondly, the environment and the daypart play important role (in summer calorie concentration decreases; in evening fat content of milk increases). The duration of nursing from each breast is crucial. At the beginning of breastfeeding baby gets more liquid milk (called drinking), and the most dense fat milk (food) baby gets at the end. Therefore it is extremely important not to offer your baby the other breast until baby finish the first side. Tips for fat content of a food are common. Do not eat the food with high content of fat and fat-free food as these diets are not healthy.

Allergic reactions 

If a child's parents are allergic it may affect the child. A baby may be affected by nursing mother’s allergic reaction to food, cats, dust, odors and strong smell, poplar fluff etc. If a baby tends to be allergic then breastfeeding mother should adhere to certain restrictions. Usually, in the first weeks of breastfeeding some products are excluded from the mother’s menu, such as chicken, cow milk, fish, eggs, nuts, pork, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, citrus fruits. In some cases, the list could be much longer.
Later the food should be introduced one at a time into a nursing mother’s menu. If your baby reacts to the product you should exclude it from the menu for one month. After one month try the product again. It is extremely important to include products which caused the allergic reaction again in mother’s diet. Experts argue that the addition of allergens in milk in small doses is an efficient way to stop the further development of allergies. Breast milk helps the baby to adapt better to the allergic product.

Do I need a special diet?

Do not be afraid of breastfeeding because of some dietary restrictions. Keep yourself within limits, take care of your health, and thus you will take care of your baby’s health. Keep in mind that there is no milk formula which can fully replace mother's milk. If you need personal advice regarding breastfeeding you should contact the experts.