You’ve probably heard of the old saying that you should be eating for two during pregnancy – even though there is some truth to this advice, you shouldn’t take it literally. One study has shown that excessive intake of food can in fact turn gestational diabetes into diabetes type 2, so it is important that your diet provides your body with what it needs while pregnant – but no more than that.
The rules are similar during the breastfeeding period. You should provide your body with a healthy, balanced diet that includes a wide variety of nutritious ingredients, in the amounts that suffice your body’s needs. While breastfeeding, you may be using up to 500 calories a day more than usual, so depending on the amount of weight you gained during pregnancy, your metabolism and other factors, you may or may not need to increase the amount of food you eat. The safest way to accomplish a healthy diet is to listen to your own body – eat when you’re hungry and have smaller, but healthy meals. However, if you experience a loss in appetite, it may be a good idea to consult your physician as this can sometimes be a sign of postnatal depression.
The key is in variety. By eating different kinds of foods, the taste of your breast milk will change, allowing your baby to adapt and accept different flavors long before they even start eating solids. A healthy nutrition will be based on real foods, instead of industrially processed products which not only have fewer nutrients, but also contain many ingredients that your body doesn’t need, such as artificial coloring and flavor enhancers. When it comes to types of food you should have on your plate, the goal should be to eat ingredients from all the groups described below, on a daily basis: