Post Partum and lactation

Posted on July 30, 2009. Filed under: Pregnancy recipes | Tags: , , , , , |

You’re now a mummy!!

Labour will leave you with a lot of mixed emotions. It can be a long and tiring process for some moms, while some might have it really easy. It will leave you contented, blissful and exhausted.
Once your young one arrives, your entire world will be bustling and bubbling with effervescence, exuberance and joy. It will be a time for you to shower your baby with unconditional love, which will be your primary motto.

The period after delivery/ labour is called postpartum and lactation. The term lactation means secretion of milk by the mammary glands (breasts). During the first few days after birth, a cloudy fluid called colostrum will be secreted in place of milk. This fluid is very beneficial for the child as it has important antibodies to protect your little one from infections and diseases. Colostrum provides adequate nutrition to the infant until the appearance of true milk. Breast feeding is very important as it helps to build a strong bond between you and your baby. It is the best form of nourishment for your newborn infant.

There is no need to panic if you do not produce a lot of milk to feed the baby immediately after you have delivered. It will gradually increase as you start feeding your baby more frequently. Your state of mind along with your diet influences the quantity of milk you produce. The more relaxed you are, the more milk you will produce.

The quantity and quality of milk produced is in no way related to the size of your breast but is dependent on the amount of fluids you consume . So drink plenty of juices, milk shakes, buttermilk, soups, water etc. Consume approximately 4 litres of fluid per day. The amount of milk produced also depends on the frequency at which your baby feeds. The more often the baby feeds, the more milk will be produced. If you don’t breast feed often, the milk won’t be produced efficiently. This is nature’s way of adapting to new changes. Let your feeding be guided by the baby’s hunger pangs. Don’t fix any rigid timing to feed your little one. It will cry when it is hungry.

Breast Feeding & Its Importance

Breast feeding your little one is one of the most invaluable gifts God has bestowed upon you. Grannys, mothers and even gynaecologist today encourage breast feeding. Breast milk; natural, pure and unadulterated is a must for your young one. It provides antibodies to your baby which is why it is superior to formula feeds or cow’s milk. So, breast feeding your baby is one of the wisest decisions you can make. Read beyond this to know the goodness of mother’s milk………….

1. Breast feeding is an experience that nurtures the emotional bonding between the mother and child. The feeding position will make your baby feel “safe” as the physical closeness will be similar to that he had in your womb for 9 months
2. It is a very convenient way to feed your baby at any place and time.
3. The breast fed baby does not require any vitamin supplements as breast milk fulfils all the child’s requirements. The nutritional quality of breast milk is much higher than that of cow’s milk or buffalo’s milk as it contains more lactose (milk sugar), more vitamin A, C and E than cow’s milk or buffalo’s milk. Fat and iron present in breast milk is better absorbed than the iron in cow’s milk.
4. Fats and protein in the breast milk are more easily digested, which is why the danger of gastro-intestinal problems is low in newborn babies.
5. There is also a reduced likelihood of allergic reactions as breast milk contains protein which don’t cause allergies. Several protein in breast milk help to strengthen the infant’s immune system and make it stronger to fight colds, coughs and other infections.
6. The act of sucking on the breast promotes development of the jaw, facial muscles and teeth of your baby.
7. Premature babies should also be fed on breast milk as it is very nourishing and healthy for their growth and development.

Your Diet While Breast Feeding

Listed below are the nutrients with their recommended daily allowance for lactating mums.

While you’re breast feeding, you will require far more calories than you did during your pregnancy. This is because breast feeding your baby will make you burn 3500 kcal per day. However you need to consume only 2400-2700 kcal per day during the first 6 months of lactation, if you are exclusively breast feeding your baby. You may wonder where all the extra calories are going to come from; this is when you will start to burn up all the maternal stores that were accumulated during your pregnancy, in preparation for lactation.
Stay off the ghee laden postpartum dishes and feast on a balanced diet while ensuring that you have a daily intake of at least 4 litres of fluid.

Most doctors recommend that you breast-feed for 1 year. Out of this period, your baby should exclusively be breast fed 4 to 6 months and then gradually you can start weaning by slowly introducing your baby to a variety of foods so that it is no longer completely dependent on you at the end of one year.

During the last 6 months of lactation, your energy requirements will decrease to about 2250 to 2550 kcal per day as you will now begin to wean your little one gradually.

Protein requirements during the first 6 months of lactation are 75 gm/day. During the last 6 months of lactation, the protein requirements change to 68 gm/day. A good combination of cereals and pulses along with vegetables like given in the recipe of Wholesome Khichdi includes rice (cereal), moong dal (pulse) and vegetables (lauki and carrot).
Fat is a concentrated source of energy and 45 gm/day of it is required while you’re lactating. Fat is also required in moderation to supplement your maternal stores to achieve optimal secretion of breast milk.
Calcium (1000 mg/day) is required for the baby’s development of bones. Breast milk is a great source of calcium. Depriving yourself of calcium won’t change your calcium levels in breast milk. But in that case unfortunately the breast milk will draw its calcium level from your bones making them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Iron (30 mg/day) is an essential component of haemoglobin that supplies oxygen to each cell of the human body. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia. Breast milk is not considered to be the best source of iron but it does supply iron in moderate quantity which is then absorbed by the infant.
Folic Acid
Folic acid (150 mcg/day) is essential for the growth and development of the brain and spine of the baby. It also helps in the formation of new cells in the baby’s body. Folic acid deficiency leads to anaemia in the mother.
Vitamin C
Vitamin C (80 mg/day) is required for the formation of collagen and also for immunity against infections and diseases. Have vegetables in their raw form in these delicious recipes like Cabbage and Moong Dal Salad and Fruit and Lettuce Salad.
Vitamin A
Vitamin A (Beta-carotene – 3800 mcg/day) is required for clear vision, skin and immunity. The requirement for vitamin A increases during lactation as the breast milk has appreciable amounts of this vitamin for the growing infant. Try Carrot Pancakes to satisfy your sweet tooth and fulfil your requirements of this vitamin.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is necessary as it aids the absorption of calcium in the body. As sunlight is a good source of vitamin D, dietary supplements are not required.
Vitamin B12
As compared to non-vegetarian foods, vegetarian diets are deficient in Vitamin B12. But don’t worry, as soya milk provides an appreciable amount of Vitamin B12.
Galactagogue Foods
Your diet should also include almonds, garlic, milk and garden cress (subza) seeds and methi (fenugreek) as these foods stimulate the production of breast milk and so are named as galactogogue foods Baked Methi Puris, Garlic Roti and Badam Sheera can be good foods during this phase.
A few words of caution from me — Things you shouldn’t do
Try to avoid carbonated drinks as these drinks provide empty kilocalories that are void of nutrients and only help increase your weight. Don’t forget that medication, caffeine and some other food substances pass through breast milk very easily and can affect your child’s health. For that reason, check with your doctor/physician about the safety of the drugs you consume. Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol as it proves to be detrimental for your baby’s health.

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