World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year for a week from August 1 through 7. World Breastfeeding Week aims at encouraging breastfeeding and improving infant health around the world. The history dates back to August 1990 when government policy makers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations began to work to wards protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. It is important to know the history, theme and why it is important for World Breastfeeding Week. However, it is also important to understand and prioritise the health and lifestyle of breastfeeding mothers during the lactation period for both the baby and mother.  If you are a breastfeeding mother, you must follow a balanced diet plan that includes a mix of healthy foods. A balanced diet includes the following:

  • Starchy foods, such as rice, bread, whole grain bread, potatoes, oats, semolina and pasta.
  • Choose whole grain varieties of starchy foods made from cereals. This will give you extra nutrition and fiber.
  • Certain dairy products, such as a glass of milk or yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant, ask your doctor what you can eat.
  • Certain proteins such as pulses, eggs, fish and fat-free meats.
  • Fruits and vegetables in sufficient quantity.

In addition, you will also need the following nutrients:

Iron: Your doctor will ask you to take an iron supplement to keep your iron levels high. However, it is important that you also get iron from your diet. Vegetarian sources of iron (non-heme iron) include pulses, sprouted pulses, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Low-fat red meat, fish and poultry (poultry) are some of the non-vegetarian sources. Eggs are also a good source of iron.

Calcium: Eat three servings of calcium-rich foods each day, such as milk, other dairy products, fish, green leafy vegetables, almonds, or calcium-fortified foods such as cereals, juices and soy.

Vitamin D: This is important for the development and overall health of your bones. It helps in the absorption of calcium in the body. Sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, but most women don't get enough sunlight to make enough vitamin D. Its good sources are oily fishes such as ravas and bangra. Red meat, egg yolks and fortified breakfast cereals also provide some vitamin D.

Vitamin C: It helps in better absorption of iron too. Citrus fruits, amla, guava and papaya are good sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin A: Carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, paprika, peas, tomatoes and mangoes contain good amounts of vitamin A.

Traditionally, lactating mothers are given lots of nuts, ghee and sweets. These high calorie foods are usually given to the new mother to supplement the traditional khichdi diet given to her after the birth of the baby. If, you are eating normal food, then you do not need to eat extra ghee and sweets.

(This article is written for an informative purpose and should not be substituted for medical advice. Kindly consult your doctor before trying any tips.)

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 02, 2021 12:59 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website