A balanced vegetarian diet supports healthy breastfeeding.
Lower levels of environmental toxins are found in milk from women who follow a vegetarian diet. Breastfed children of well-nourished vegetarian mothers grow and develop normally.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Breast milk is best. It provides all the nutrients a growing infant needs in the most digestible form. Breastfeeding is free, convenient and supports mother-child bonding. The most benefits are gained when children are breastfed for at least the first 6 months after birth. Children build stronger immune systems, suffer from less allergies, and have reduced risk of obesity later in life. Mothers reduce their risk of some cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
Calorie Needs and Weight Loss The body uses extra calories when producing breast milk. Increased calorie needs are based on the amount of milk produced. On average, women use 330 more calories each day for the first 6 months of breastfeeding. During the second 6 months, they use an additional 400 calories. While this will aid in healthy weight loss after pregnancy, extra calorie intake will also be needed. To meet higher calorie needs, consume plenty of whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Tandem Nursing When a woman nurses two children of different ages it is called “tandem nursing.” Producing milk for two children requires more calories and nutrients than needed to feed one. High calorie and high nutrient foods in snacks and meals provide good sources of additional calorie intake. Remaining hydrated, by drinking extra water, is also highly recommended.
High calorie, High nutrient foods
- Nuts & nut butters
- Seeds & seed butters
- Dried fruits
- Full-fat soy products
- Bean spreads
- Fruit juices
300-Calorie Snack Ideas
- Whole-grain toast with 1½ tbsp. almond butter topped • with sliced banana and strawberries
- ½ cup hummus with 1 cup of raw carrots and bell peppers•
- Fruit smoothie with 1 cup frozen mango, ½ cup frozen • pineapple, 1 cup soymilk
- ¼ cup guacamole with 1/3 cup baked tortilla chips•
- ¼ cup of trail mix•
Fluid Needs Fluid needs increase while breastfeeding, therefore staying hydrated is key. Drink water throughout the day and while nursing. Low-fat or non-fat milk, 100% fruit juices, and soups are also good sources of fluid.