After nine months of eating for two, you might think your crazy hunger has subsided. If your first steps into motherhood include breastfeeding, surprise! You're still eating for two.
That's because everything you eat will be providing essential nutrients to the milk you make for your precious baby. In other words, your diet helps your baby grow, thrive and fend off illness, all essential things in this whole motherhood process.
Of course, someone has already extolled the virtues of breastfeeding for you. Rather than convincing you to take part in this beautiful, natural process, I want to share some of my favorite things to eat as a nursing mom. They pack a one-two punch of gentle nutrition for the baby and delicious, flavorful food for mama. Personally, I’d say that’s a win-win.
Let's start with the most important meal of the day — breakfast. Try one of the following six recipes and thank me later for how tasty you (and baby) find them first thing in the morning.
One go-to breakfast ingredient for breastfeeding moms is oatmeal. These little grains contain iron, which is one element known to boost lactation. Plus, there's nothing better than wrapping your hands around a warm bowl of oatmeal. But I have a little secret for you — no matter how you eat it, oats give you this beautiful sense of relaxation.
So, I suggest popping them into your blender with milk, banana and frozen strawberries. You can add vanilla extract and stevia for added sweetness, although the fruit gave me all the flavor I needed. Blend it up, even if your baby's sleeping — you know they need to get used to snoozing with background noise. Then, get sipping.
Raise your hand if you love a good granola bar in the morning. I imagine most of you have your palms very, very high over your heads right now. Everyone loves a grab-and-go breakfast, but these homemade bars are the ideal addition to your breastfeeding diet.
For starters, they contain rolled oats, and we already know how great oats are at filling you up and boosting your milk supply. But pumpkin seeds bring zinc to the table, which facilitates bountiful lactation. Plus, the mineral helps your kids grow to reach healthy heights and weights. It can fortify their immune systems, too.
You can't just drink tea for breakfast, but preparing a kettle full of this specific tea will help boost your breastfeeding output. As the recipe's author writes, some herbs are galactagogues, which means they can increase your milk supply.
Take note of the ingredients — the author has included all of the benefits each contain. Fennel, for instance, is a known digestive aid that has been used to combat colic. Perhaps best of all, you can quickly mix all the suggested herbs, pour them into an airtight container and scoop a tablespoon whenever you need a cuppa, thus saving you prep time.
You might be wondering how to work spinach into your baby's diet. We just touched on colic — won't a dark leafy green make things even gassier? It turns out, spinach won't. Instead, it's a must-have in your diet for all the vitamins and minerals it contains.
These muffins do an excellent job of hiding the spinach-y flavor if you're not a fan. Tropical-tasting papaya and sweetening with applesauce should cover up the taste of greens, so you'll be happy about eating these muffins. Your baby will feel good about it, too.
Again, we've got an oat-filled recipe to get things going in the milk-production department. But that's not the only ingredient here that's known to boost a mama's supply. This bread recipe also contains fenugreek, an herb that has facilitated this whole baby-feeding process since biblical times. In other words, it must work if it has been a staple for this long. And, when it's hiding within sweet, fresh banana bread, you won't have any difficulty adding it into your diet at this pivotal moment.
Sometimes, mama just wants some bacon. This tart recipe is chock-full of the nutrients you need and the bacon you deserve. Kale contains iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and easily digestible calcium, all of which you and your baby need during this critical time. Plus, the eggs and bacon will replenish your muscles, skin and bones.
Kale shouldn't cause discomfort in your baby's belly, but note if they get fussy after you eat this tart. If so, scale back the amount of leafy greens you put into it next time.
Nutrition for Two
Motherhood is a full-time job — you got a glimpse of that during your pregnancy, but now it's for real. These six recipes will help you overhaul your morning meals to make sure they're nutrient-rich enough to keep both of you healthy and happy. Even if you're just now getting the hang of this whole mom thing, you know that health and happiness are what it's all about — so eat well and see just how wonderful both of you feel.