Have you been told that a new mum should start dieting immediately, even if she is breastfeeding, in order to quickly shed the pregnancy weight?
The fact is, post-natal mothers should consume plenty of fluids and a balanced diet for nutrition, says Mrs Wong Boh Boi, a senior lactation consultant and assistant director (clinical) at Thomson ParentCraft Centre.
Ideally, they should not diet at all, because their body needs extra nutrients at this stage to produce enough milk for her baby, she says. A woman’s metabolic rate usually increases by 25 per cent during this period.
Nursing mothers burn about 500 more calories per day, and would need to consume three main meals and two snacks daily. Her diet should preferably be light and include fish, chicken or pork.
She should also choose whole grains, instead of starchy grains, to obtain the necessary energy required for breastfeeding, Mrs Wong adds.
The amount of fluid intake depends on the mother’s needs – she can take extra fluids as long as she feels thirsty. Warm water or beverages, as well as soup, can help increase vascularity and aid in lactation, Mrs Wong says.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.