Eating for Pregnancy & Breastfeeding – the right diet

Its a full time job growing a babe by feeding the bump!

Its a full time job growing a babe by feeding the bump!

Getting the right nutrients in your diet when pregnant or breastfeeding

It is very important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding to get the right nutritional balance in your daily diet. Forums and your health nurse may tell you that you just need to follow a normal healthy diet – and this is true to an extent. But, you are the sole source of food for a growing person, at the prime time of their mental and beginning of their physical development. If you don’t eat enough, your milk supply may reduce or one or both of you may not get all the nutrients you need.

Aside from all that, if you don’t eat right your nutrition will suffer and you’ll become undernourished or just extra tired. So to get the most for baby, you need to eat the right balance of foods so that both of you stay healthy.

Things may be more complicated if you yourself or baby has any special dietary requirement. For easy and tasty dairy free alternatives see my earlier posts on ‘Dairy Free Delights‘ and how to adapt family favourites into dairy free meals everyone will enjoy.

For more information on milk production and diet, you can read this very informative and well researched article by the Weston A. Price Foundation “Successful Breastfeeding …And Successful Alternatives” .

Eating your 5+ a day… making the impossible possible

If you try to eat everything that you are ‘supposed to’… 5 vegetables, two fruit, 3 serves of dairy, three portions of protein, fish three times a week, something high iron and vitamin C plus get sunshine daily… well its a bit overwhelming and not physically possible to eat that much in one day unless you are on a very strict regime. Have a piece of toast for breakfast and all of a sudden you are behind!

The ideal diet for pregnancy and breastfeeding nourishes both mother and baby. The best way to get a large amount of nutrients and vitamins in one hit is to have a super smoothie for breakfast. Make a smoothie with your favourite flavours. Mix it up by having something different, or just stick to the same one every day, whatever works for you.

Important ingredients to include during pregnancy and lactation are:

Cod Liver Oil

  • to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day

Whole milk

  • preferably organic unhomogenised

Good fats and oils

  • like virgin coconut,macadamia or olive oil

Eggs yolk

  • preferably from pastured chickens or organic

Lacto-fermented ingredient

  • yoghurt, kefir or other live bacteria products

Soaked whole grains

  • Such as oats, barley, rye, Kamut, wheat and tritacle

Fresh vegetables and fruits

  • It is important to get a varied balance of fruit and vege in every colour
  • If you are queasy during pregnancy then cook the vegetables well to make them easier to digest and more gentle on your tummy. You can cook your fruit too – think apple sauce and bananas baked in the oven with cinnamon and ginger

Some examples of smoothies including these essential ingredients are below.

Chocoholics Smoothie

Full of antioxidants, there is nothing to feel guilty about with this super delish and very healthy smoothie.
1 cup full cream milk
1/2 cup plain live yoghurt
1 green apple or ripe pear, diced
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2-4 squares dark chocolate
1 egg yolk – cooked if pregnant
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Enjoying a smoothie and the flowers my MIL sent me when I started maternity leave.

Enjoying a smoothie and the flowers my MIL sent me when I started maternity leave.

Very Berry Blast Smoothie

Full of antioxidants and berry good for you!
1 cup kefir or 1/2 cup each milk and yoghurt
1 cup frozen organic berries
1/2 small cucumber diced or an apple
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 egg yolk – cooked if pregnant

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Oats so Fast Smoothie

Or as I like to think of it: blended bircher muesli
1/4 cup traditional or porridge oats
1/2 cup apple or orange juice
1/2 cup yoghurt or kefir
1 apple, diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 egg yolk – cooked if pregnant
1 tablespoon honey

Soak the oats overnight in the juice. In the morning combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with cinnamon and extra honey or with fresh berries if you like.

Add cod liver oil to any of the smoothies if you can. Soaked oats can be added to any of them as well, for a thicker, creamier and more filling meal.

Always make sure eggs are very fresh and preferably organic, but at least free range.

If you are feeling a little queasy during pregnancy you could get someone else to make the smoothie for you, so you don’t have to see egg yolk going in. If you are concerned about raw egg yolk then cook by boiling a whole egg for 3-5 minutes then removing the yolk. Cooked yolk will still blend smooth. You can also make the smoothie for lunch or dinner if you cannot face it in the morning.

Other important foods to eat during pregnancy and lactation

3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week

  • particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs
  • Its as easy as taking a small tin of tuna or salmon for lunch or a snack with crackers and vege sticks or even keeping some in your drawer or car

Fresh beef or lamb daily

  • Always consumed with the fat
  • We have been taught that fat is bad, but pasture fed (grass fed) animals have omegas in their fat, essential to you and your growing bub

Oily fish or lard daily

  • For vitamin D
  • Especially important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding during winter and you don’t get enough sunlight to keep up your vitamin D levels

Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces

  • For collagen and other nutrients
  • I make a plain stock weekly, then serve a simple soup before dinner each night. This way you stimulate your appetite with something light and very healthy and are not ravenous when dinner is in front of you.

I hope you find this informative and useful. I know that it was great to have some of this info when I was pregnant, as I was too nauseated with morning sickness to do much or eat as much as I needed. So taking a flask of smoothie to work and a flask of nourishing soup as well, really helped. I couldn’t even drink plain water for nearly six months without retching! So a liquid diet kept me and bub nourished and hydrated. As well as a splash of pure, unsweetened cranberry juice in my water for a refreshing taste and urinary tract health.

Be well.


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