Healthy Hollywood: Ask Keri Glassman — How Many Calories Does One Need When Breastfeeding?
First Published: April 19, 2012 2:36 PM EDT Credit: Access Hollywood
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.
Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything!
Keri will choose one great question a week to be answered Thursday in our Healthy Hollywood column.
To submit questions for Keri, click HERE!
This week’s question is from reader Jody — How many total daily calories does someone need if breastfeeding?
Congrats on your new baby, Jody! It’s so important to take care of your nutrition now more than ever as you’re caring for you and your new baby!
Most mothers require roughly 500 extra calories per day during lactation to keep up with the demands of breastfeeding. However, you may already be consuming adequate calories. I like to focus more on meeting nutrient needs and listening to your body (your hunger quotient will guide you!) versus counting calories. Although, “dieting” during lactation is not appropriate because you need to recover and your baby needs proper nutrition, you can still lose weight while eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, proper nutrition is important for your recovery from a long nine months! An extra benefit of eating a healthy diet is that proper nutrition will help you cope better with the inevitable fatigue (and even those mood swings!) that new demands of motherhood bring on.
Specific nutrients to focus on:
- Calcium: Your calcium stores were diminished during pregnancy to help your baby grow and develop. Make sure to eat plenty of calcium rich foods to replenish your stores. Try bok choy, spinach, kale, canned salmon, and of course your usual suspects, milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Omega 3s: Omega 3s are critical for your baby’s brain and eye development. If you are breastfeeding, try to incorporate foods high in omega 3s, such as fish and fish oils, walnuts, and flaxseed. Studies have shown that omega 3s also play a role in weight loss. Other foods to try include hemp milk, tofu and fortified eggs.
- Antioxidants: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the necessary antioxidants to help keep your body as healthy as possible. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, preventing cellular damage involved in aging, cancer, and a variety of other diseases. Try getting your antioxidant punch from sweet potato, kale, cantaloupe, and artichokes.
- B Vitamins: Eat plenty of whole grains and dark greens to ensure your body gets the B vitamins it needs to maintain proper metabolic pathways. B vitamins play an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, red blood cell formation, and work to promote healthy nerves. A few of my favorite grains are quinoa, amaranth, barley and brown rice.
- Fluids: Make sure to drink a lot of fluid (water especially). If you are breastfeeding, you may be depleting your fluids through the milk you are producing. Try a splash of fresh lemon or sliced fruits like strawberries or oranges for added flavor.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and medications (speak to your MD): Most everything you eat or drink goes directly to your baby through breast milk. Don’t eat or drink anything you wouldn’t want your baby to have!
--Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
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