Breastfeeding & Pregnancy: Steps to Eating Well for a Healthy Baby

Breastfeeding & Pregnancy: Steps to Eating Well for a Healthy Baby
Julie Doherty Naturopathic Physician Hackham, SA

An Accredited Member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, Julie Graduated with distinctions from S.A. College of Botanic Medicine and Natural Therapies Pty Ltd. Professional Qualifications include: Naturopathic Doctor, Herbal & Homoeopathic Practitioner: Diet and Nutritional Medicine: Remedial & Therapeutic... more

Healthy food is the foundation for a healthy life.

There is absolutely no doubt that the steps you take to eat well throughout your pregnancy, not to mention during times of breastfeeding, will build a solid health foundation for your newborn love and for you as well, Mum.

Giving your baby the best start in life begins by implementing healthy eating habits. This is also very important for both you and your baby before you even conceive.

If you are looking for personal one on one help and support to implement or change your eating habits, you can then book for a consultation at my clinic.

It is not necessary to have a referral from your GP, just phone 8384 3722 – Monday-Friday: 11 am – 6 pm. For more information regarding the clinic here is the website for you to check out.

Whether you are pregnant or not, eating a healthy well balanced diet of fresh foods is important. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, extra demands are placed on your body as to supply the baby with nutritional needs so as to develop into a wonderful, healthy little human being.

An understanding of the foods you need to incorporate each day.

Looking at bread, pasta, and rice, it is important for these to be preferably spelt, or gluten free. Rice should be wild rice or brown rice. These can take up 5 – 10% of your daily diet.

Fruit and vegetables – Key vitamins supplied by fruits and vegetables include:

  • Beta carotene for your baby’s cell and tissue development, vision, and immune system
  • Vitamin C for your baby’s bones and teeth as well as the collagen in your baby’s connective tissue
  • Potassium to regulate blood pressure
  • Folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects and promote a healthy birth weight
  • Vegetables need to make up the larger portion of your daily diet, being that of 75%/4-5 different vegetables per day. These can be either cooked such as steamed or baked or eaten raw. These vegetables include: Sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, celery, mushrooms, avocado, cauliflower, capsicum, radishes, broccoli, kale, spinach, peas, beans etc.
  • Fruit – 2-3 pieces of fruit or 1-2 cups of fruit should be eaten each day. The reason for cups is in case you decide to dice your fruit and also in the case of berries. Best fruits are red apples, bananas, kiwi fruit, mangoes, pineapple, red grapes, watermelon and berries.
  • Great foods for calcium:  Organic whole milk yogurt, goats cheese, almond milk, almonds, figs, broccoli, edamame, tofu, okra, canned salmon, sardines, kale and other green vegetables.
  • Protein: 3 portions per day. [Animal protein, portion size to be the size of the palm of your hand]: Lean meat, organic chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, lentils, tofu, quinoa, green peas, beans, chick peas and green vegetables. [Special Note]: If you are vegetarian or vegan then include the 2-3 serves same portion size as animal protein; of quinoa, nuts such as roasted almonds, walnuts, oats, wild rice, tofu beans and so on in addition to your vegetable intake for the day.
  • Iron: Adequate iron intake is important at any time, but you don’t need a great deal to be healthy. The best non animal sources are Nori/seaweed which can be eaten as a snack with your roasted almonds and grated ginger (1-2 teaspoons per day add to your herbal tea or salad dressing). Add one to two tablespoons sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds to a roast vegetable or fresh salad.
  • Iodine: This has been found to possibly boost children’s IQ.  Foods rich in iodine are prawns, canned tuna, organic baked potatoes, turkey breast (also has selenium, cancer prevention benefits), strawberries, Nori/seaweed.
  • Folate: Folate is Vitamin B9 (aka: folate, folicin, folic-acid). It is a water-soluble B vitamin that is easily found in fresh food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 found in fortified foods and supplements. As with most vitamins, the natural form of vitamin B9 (folate) is preferred, and better for absorption. Here I have for you the best food sources for folate: black eyed beans, chick peas, lima beans, mung beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, cos or romaine lettuce, avocado, broccoli, oranges, and mangoes. As you will see, by eating a diet high in plant produce such as vegetables and fruit, it is not difficult to get not just adequate nutrition, but exceptional nutrition. One to two of these foods per day will help you get your daily intake of folate.
  • Water: Drinking 2-2 1/2 liters of water per day has many benefits. Firstly, it assists in cleansing of your body, transport of essential nutrients and vitamins to your organs and tissues. It is also essential for healthy glowing skin along with your daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.

You will notice that there is not mention of fast foods, processed or packaged foods, lollies, soft drinks, processed meats, bought cakes, chips, poor quality chocolate, processed fruit juices or alcohol. The reason being that these foods don’t qualify in any shape or form of a healthy diet and should be avoided at all costs especially during pregnancy and breast feeding.

If you indulge in negative habits in any shape or form, get them out of your life, not just for the duration of your pregnancy but that of your life. Because they will rob both you and your baby of a healthy, happy and vital life together. Here is a link to my E-Book: “Why can’t I give up Smoking?” This will help guide you through the understanding of why you have become a victim maybe not just to smoking but other negative habits, while supporting you through the changes to give up!

Food hygiene and freshness is of optimal significance to prevent food poisoning. Take simple hygiene steps at home in food preparation. Always to use clean cutting boards and utensils, have clean bench tops and cooking utensils, be careful where you eat out, eat out at places that you know or have heard that are good with ultimate hygiene standards. It's always great if you can see in their kitchen.

Avoid supermarkets for purchasing of fresh food items. Supermarkets don’t specialize in obtaining the freshest foods even though some may say they do. You will find your local butcher, fish market, and green grocer are the best when it comes to buying fresh, whole food.

The best fish to eat is wild-caught. Choose from Atlantic Salmon, Sea Perch, Blue Fin Tuna, Orange Ruffy, Oysters and Mackerel. Wild caught Tinned tuna and salmon, preferably in Spring water or Olive oil.

Further support

Acupressure Points – 11 Important Points to Improve Fertility in Women

Are you Getting Adequate Folic acid (folate)- Pre Natal & Pregnancy

Managing Gestational Diabetes with Healthy Food Choices

Women’s Bodies – Women’s Minds: 8 Powerful Steps to Achieving Emotional Health & Balance

Optimal health begins with the food you eat!