Are you a vegan breastfeeding mom? If your answer is a definite yes, then you are on the right page. The journey of breastfeeding your infant determines the total health of the baby. As a mom, you carry the life of your toddler.
So, who is a vegan? The explanation is simple. A vegan is that individual who does not use or eat any animal products. A vegan breastfeeding mother will follow a particular type of food as she feeds her baby.
Breastfeeding is a sure way of transferring nutrients from the mother’s milk to the child. In this regard, it sounds reasonable that you maintain a proper diet as a vegan mom. You can still use dietary supplements if your vegan diet fails to meet the nutritional needs.
World Health Organization recommends that a mother breastfeed baby to six months purely. The practice does not end there. As a loving mother, you can breastfeed your child for a comfortable period of two years.
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Effects of Your Diet to Your Breast Milk
Breast milk nearly contains all types of nutrients. What does that mean? The milk features water, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, and minerals. You will find these nutrients in the breast milk regardless of what you eat.
However, the kicker is this: Most of these nutrients come from the mothers’ body. Alternatively, others come from the mother’s diets. Therefore, your diet plays a critical role in what your baby will consume to gain good health.
For instance, your diet may lack calcium as you breastfeed, right? Don’t get afraid. In most cases, your breast milk will always have enough calcium to keep the baby. So, how does your body balance in case of any deficiency? Read on!
The mother’s body draws calcium from bone and transfers it into the bloodstream. Scientists refer to this process as calcium resorption. On the other hand, the kidney adjusts by releasing less calcium in the urine and cause more to be present in the milk.
But, for your better health, you need to consume calcium-rich foods that will see you have strong bones and teeth. Furthermore, you have to spice up your diet with other supplements that enrich the calcium content in your body.
The simple truth is that, even if you take calcium oriented foods in the right measure, the calcium content in the milk remains unaffected. You will be taking it for your good as a routine to balance the nutrients in your body.
So, what affects the nutritional content of breast milk? Indeed, the precise answer is in that specific diet that lacks those nutrients which your body cannot make. Also, those nutrients that your body fails to store in large quantities like iron, vitamin b12, and zinc.
A good example is when you lack vitamin 12, the same deficiency will reflect in the bay’s health. As a vegan, you can supplement your diet with vitamin B12. The action will shield your baby from being deficient in it.
How do you tell if your body is deficient in specific nutrients?
There are some situations where you may be consuming inadequate vitamins, minerals, and proteins, and calories. It is better to consult your dietician, doctor, or nutritionist and share your eating habits.
Alternatively, the specialist can test your body for specific nutrients and advise accordingly. Some of the nutrients that you need in your body may include the following:
1. Vitamin B12
Do you know that vitamin b12 majorly exists in animal protein? In this case, we are dealing with a vegan. So, how do you solve this misery? You use meat substitutes like fortified foods that have vitamin b12 like soy foods.
Or even better, as you continue to take fortified foods with vitamin B12, a supplement of the same is necessary. As a breastfeeding mom, a standard measure is to take 0.4g daily. You should talk to your pediatrician to determine if your toddler may require a Vitamin B12 supplement.
2. Vitamin D
Female gender requires at least 600 units of Vitamin D daily. Notably, if a breastfeeding mother lacks vitamin D, the effects will reflect in the baby. You can get vitamin D by spending considerable time in the sun. Avoid excess exposure to the same sunlight as it is dangerous.
The following are examples of the foods which are rich in Vitamin D. The list includes soy milk, orange juice, and cereals.
It is crucial to consult the doctor on particular consumptions of vitamin D. The specialist will advise you on when to take the supplement or not. Most importantly, your doctor should determine if the breastfeeding baby requires vitamin B supplements or not.
Typically, your body stores calcium in large quantities. However, your body does not produce calcium nutrients. That implies that you can only obtain calcium by taking proper diets. Suppose you don’t take dairy products, then get calcium from alternative sources.
As a breastfeeding mother, an average intake of calcium should be 1300 milligrams daily. There are so many sources of calcium like dark green leafy vegetables, soy products, and fortified orange juice. You can also consume calcium supplements.
Iodine is an essential nutrient in your body, which makes sure the thyroid gland remains in good form. A further recommendation from the American Thyroid Association for nursing mothers is as follows. That they consume a supplement that has 150mcg of iodine daily.
The primary sources of iodine include seeing weed or iodized salt. For those mothers that do not consume the named products, they can take advantage of the supplements instead. You have to consult a specialist who will determine the amount of iodine you may require in your diet.
DHA is an acronym that stands for Docosahexaenoic acid. It is an omega 3 in the class of essential fatty acids which thrives mainly in fish. So, what is its purpose? Babies need this nutrient for the development of eyes and brains.
You can get omega 3 from plant sources such as hempseed, flaxseed, and walnuts. Walnuts also have alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). It the responsibility of your body to convert ALA into DHA. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the conversion is always in small amounts.
The recommended standard of daily intake of DHA should be at least 1500 milligrams. During the breasting period, it is vital to know the amount of omega 3 for your daily intake. You can get the correct advice from the doctor.
Zinc is an essential component that your body needs to function well. Your body maintains a constant level of zinc in breast milk supplying it with its zinc nutrients. You may require at least 12 milligrams in your daily diet to meet your zinc demands and your baby’s.
There are various plants and animal products that contain zinc. The secret lies in consuming many plants that contain zinc daily. The primary source s of zinc include beans, seeds, nuts, grains, and leafy vegetables. You can also take fortified foods.
A breastfeeding mother will require protein for both her health and the baby. A better standard is to consume at least two to three meals per day that have protein components in them. The critical source of protein are beans, nuts, lentils, and dark green vegetables.
The nursing mothers require 65 grams of proteins daily for six months. Furthermore, they will later need 62 grams of protein per day from 6 months to twelve months. A vegan mother should also take soy products to supplement the protein in the body.
How to Improve the Milk Supply from Vegan Breastfeeding Meal Plan
Your baby desperately needs breast milk to grow and further develop. The first exam lies in your breastfeeding meal plan as you nurse your baby. The type of diet you may be consuming during this period should ensure you have a reliable supply of milk.
Breastfeeding is never an easy exercise. You need a better strategy to have nutritious meals that will ensure optimal calories for better health. The type of food you consume will nourish the baby and assist in the postpartum recovery.
There is also much food that has a significant influence on the amount of milk one can produce. The biting question is, which are the best food for a vegan breastfeeding mother? Firstly, if you want to improve on milk products, then consume a warm bowl of oatmeal.
You can increase more oats in your meal by making yourself granola. Do you want an afternoon boost? You simply add the oatmeal into coconut yogurt.
Another option is to use garlic, which proves to be a milk booster. Interestingly, garlic improves the entire flavor of your meal. You can take a grain garlic bread as you experience tremendous results.
Other food sources have milk boosting properties. They include sesame, fennel, and fenugreek. Still, there are different classes of vegetables that come with other health benefits. They include carrots, dark leafy greens, and yams.
Foods to Avoid as a Vegan Mom
A strictly vegan individual will avoid animal foods or any blend of food that has animal food. Let’s check examples from the following section.
- Dairy: They include milk and other related products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter.
- Animal-based ingredients: They may include fish-derived omega 3, egg white albumen, casein, and whey.
- Meat and Poultry: The best examples are chicken, duck quail, and turkey. In this category are beef, pork, and lamb.
- Seafood and fish: They include all types of fish. You can also avoid the crabs, mussels, calamari, shrimp, and lobster.
- Eggs: The list consists of all eggs from chicken, ostrich, duck, and quails.
- Bee products: They are honey, royal jelly, and bee pollen.
How to Manage Veganism
At this point, it is clear that a vegan is that individual who tries to avoid any animal products. Moreover, veganism can either come naturally or a voluntary decision. Some may choose a vegan lifestyle due to their religious affiliations.
Are there any benefits to a vegan lifestyle? One of the key advantages of such a lifestyle is weight loss. As a practicing vegan, one must take extra caution to make sure that she does not lack vital nutrients in the diet. A breastfeeding mother needs proper diet for the healthy development of the baby.
You can only succeed in maintaining a vegan lifestyle by consulting a dietician or a doctor. The specialist will assist you in consuming the correct amount of food and related supplements.
Technology is an ever-transforming modern society. You can manage your veganism by using some apps which will be offering constant reminders and healthy eating tips. Their action will make you accountable as you will get reminders on what steps to take for successful living.
Advantages of a Vegan Lifestyle
- It makes one lose weight, which is a health benefit.
- The lifestyle lowers cholesterol levels in the body, thereby reducing the chances of having a heart disease.
- It lowers the A1C levels, which is useful in managing diabetes.
- Keeping a vegan lifestyle will lower the chances of having specific types of complications like colon cancer.
A vegan mother should consider her nutritional needs as she breastfeeds her baby. More concern should go to the baby as what you consume will directly affect the overall health of the baby.
As you breastfeed, it could better if you consulted the health practitioner to guide on proper dieting. The instructions will make sure that you are nourishing yourself well and the baby. Nothing puts a smile on your face like having your baby in proper health.
Veganism is not an inferior lifestyle. The only caution to a breastfeeding mother is to ensure that she follows the correct eating habits for her to succeed. Indeed, there is more hope if you follow the details in this write-up.
Don’t shy away; the proven and tested procedures, as captured in this article, are reliable. Follow them keenly, and you won’t regret it. Happy breastfeeding!