A suitable balanced diet for a nursing mother shall contain the same kind of food as those recommended during pregnancy, but slightly increased quantities. Twin factors of physical activity and active production of breast milk make additional demands for energy yielding foods, proteins and other nutrients.
In general, most women who are breastfeeding need about 500 calories more than a woman who is non-pregnant and non- lactating; that is a total of 2,500 to 2,700 calories per day depending on her physical activity. A mother’s capacity to produce milk of sufficient quantity and quality to support infant growth is resilient and remarkably resistant to nutritional deprivation, however, milk production normally affects maternal body composition and nutritional status, and lactating women have increased nutrient demands.
RECOMMENDED DIET FOR A NURSING MOTHER
- Seasonal fruits may be included depending on availability and cost.
- Nuts such as cashew nuts, walnuts or almonds can help the mother meet her extra
requirements for important nutrients such as folate, iron, calcium and MUFA and PUFA
such as omega-3 fats and also supply a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. They are
rich in fibre as well. They are a great source of protein for vegetarians. Nuts are nutrient
dense and therefore must be consumed in moderation. A portion of energy from oils or
cereals can be replaced with nuts. The table below shows the average meal plan for
pregnant women doing sedentary work