"Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants' health, growth, immunity and development."
August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, an observance that helps to educate the public on the benefits of breastfeeding. Research suggests that breast fed infants benefit greatly from their mother’s milk, which is a unique nutritional resource that simply can’t be replaced by any other food─including infant formula.
Breast-fed children are more resistant to disease and infection than formula-fed children, and less likely to face certain health problems later, including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Nursing moms have a better chance of defying osteoporosis later in life, face a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer, and are more likely to drop weight gained during pregnancy.
Yet astonishingly, breastfeeding is often devalued, both in the U.S. and abroad, given the emphasis on the “convenience” of formula. Well, any nursing mom can tell you that nothing is more convenient than a continually available supply of warm, nourishing, impeccably perfect infant fuel. Have breast, will travel!
Nursing moms do face some unique nutritional needs, however. For starters, you require more calories while breastfeeding, with an emphasis on healthy foods. Your “product” reflects what goes into it, after all. So play it smart with a daily array of fresh, whole foods, starting with your morning whey protein shake including a scoop of green superfoods that equates to 5 green veggie servings.
Not only is this shake a low-calorie, nutritional powerhouse, but the easily absorbed, highly satiating, complete protein lays a powerful foundation, anchoring blood sugar levels and helping to curb the inclination for junk snacks later in the day.
In addition to your morning shake, targeting lean protein, fresh produce, nuts and seeds, and intact grains will create superior fuel for your infant─not to mention boosting your energy and overall wellness during an often exhausting time.
Health-conscious nursing mothers will also stay on track with their prenatal multi-nutrient formula, which is extremely important to ensure that your own needs are covered, since many of the nutrients you consume are channeled towards milk production. Equally important is to continue fish oil supplementation, as those important omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, play crucial roles in developing brains and bodies.
These health-optimizing tactics will help mothers and babies feel great throughout the nursing phase─and beyond. It’s a natural!