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Introducing, The Breastfeeding Diet

  Tired of eating like an expectant hawk? Then you’ll be happy to hear that your breastfeeding diet is in many ways similar to your pregnancy diet — with much more relaxed rules. That’s because although you are often what you eat, your breast milk isn’t, so much. The basic fat-protein-carb combo of human milk isn’t directly dependent on what foods and drinks you put into your body. Even women who aren’t well-fed can feed their babies well, since if a mom doesn’t consume enough nutrients to produce milk, her body will tap into its own stores to fuel milk production. That said, you'll still be aiming for plenty of nutrient-dense foods and steering clear of less healthy ones. The good news: Lots of your favorites are back on the menu. How many calories do you need when you're breastfeeding? Just because you can make milk on a less-than-adequate diet doesn’t mean you should. The goal when you’re nursing should never be to deplete your body’s store of nutrients. That’s too risky for your short- and long-term health, and it will short-change you on much-needed energy as well as potentially interfere with your milk supply. Your body generally burns around 300 to 500 extra calories a day while you're breastfeeding depending on whether you're nursing exclusively or not (if you are, it's typically up to 450 to 500). So while you don't need to be hyper-vigilant about counting calories and consuming more, definitely keep your extra nutritional needs while nursing in mind. As long as you stayed within your doctor's recommended weight gain during pregnancy and your postpartum weight is within normal ranges, you shouldn't have to take in any more or less than that, but check with your pracitioner if you're not sure. What to eat when you’re breastfeeding Eating well when you’re nursing means getting a variety of nutritious foods. And since a varied diet changes the taste and smell of your milk, it will expose your baby to many different flavors (so the carrots, Thai or salsa you’re eating today may have your baby reaching for those foods in the future). In fact, expanding your little one’s culinary horizons well before she starts solids might even minimize the potential for pickiness. Here’s what to aim to consume each day to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need and offering your baby a taste for the healthy stuff early on: Protein: 3 servings Calcium: 5 servings (or between 1,000 and 1,500 mg — especially important since breastfeeding draws from your calcium reserves) Iron-rich foods: 1 or more servings Vitamin C: 2 servings Leafy green and yellow vegetables/fruits: 3 to 4 servings Other fruits and veggies: 1 or more servings Whole grains and complex carbohydrates: 3 or more servings High-fat foods: Small amounts (you don't need as much as you did during pregnancy) Omega 3s: 2 to 3 servings a week to promote baby's brain growth (that’s at least 8 ounces a week of low-mercury fish like wild salmon and sardines; you can also get omega 3s in DHA-enriched eggs) Prenatal vitamin: Daily How much water to drink Aim to drink more water than usual a day, so at least 8 cups along with fluids from fruits, vegetables and other sources — especially in the weeks after birth, since it will help your body recover. To ensure you’re getting enough, a good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water at every nursing session. In all, you'll need about 128 ounces of fluids a day from all sources (so don't worry, you don't have to down 16 glasses of water daily while you're breastfeeding). Keep in mind that your milk supply won’t be affected unless you’re seriously dehydrated, but your urine will become darker and scanter. Not drinking enough can also set you up for health issues including urinary tract infections (UTIs), constipation and fatigue. So just be sure to drink whenever you're thirsty, which will likely be often when you're breastfeeding!

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Should I Wake My Sleeping Baby For Breastfeeding?

It’s understandable for you to be reluctant to wake your slumbering son. Afterall, it’s not easy trying to disturb a sleeping baby while they are looking so peaceful. Some parents consider it a crime to wake up their own baby who sleeps soundly after a considerable amount of time they spent awake and crying. However, there are things which were considered important that could justify why you should wake him up. Why do we need to wake them up One word, feeding.  Feeding is an important element of development and growth. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends waking your sleeping baby if they have slept for more than 4 hours during the first two weeks. There are a few reasons why it’s important for you to disturb your child while they were slumbering in order to feed them. #1 Their tummy empties easily One of the most crucial facts you need to know about baby’s feeding is breast milk can be digested more easily and quickly compared to formula milks. As your child’s tummy is only slightly bigger than a ping pong ball when they are younger than 2 weeks, they need to be attended once every two to three hours. If they are formula-fed babies, then it can go three to four hours before they need to be fed during the first month of life. #2 They tend to snooze through hunger When they are awake, your baby would be able to send signals indicating they are hungry or need to be fed at a certain point of time. They can send out a few hunger cues such as rooting, smacking and sucking their own fingers.  The most obvious of all is to cry as hard they can to garner some attention. However, when they are asleep, there are no cues and your baby tends to snooze through their feeding alarm. #3 They need to gain weight Depriving your child from a proper caloric intake can hinder their weight gain. Depending on their delivery method, newborns can lose between 5 to 10 percent of their birth weight in the days after birth. That’s why, it’s so important to feed them frequently for the first few weeks to sustain their own body weight. Depriving your child from their own feeding schedule can lead to complications related to jaundice and low blood sugar. #4 Frequent feeding can help you boost your own milk supply Your breast milk supply varies according to how frequent you feed your child. Those who rarely breastfeed their child would have some problems in establishing an adequate amount of breast milk. It’s important to note that your breast milk would be established upon the demand and supply concept. If you breastfeed your child at a frequent interval, your body would keep pumping out the perfect amount of milk to meet your baby’s requirement for growth. How should you wake your baby for a feed There are a few tricks you can practise to wake your baby up during their feeding hours. If your baby is sleepy, you can try feeding them when they are in an active sleep period. You can recognise this phase as your baby will change their facial expressions, flutter their eyelids and mover their arms. Slowly, unswaddle or undress them. Change their diapers, stroke their hands and feet and don’t forget to sing a song so they would feel relaxed. Hold your baby in an upright position. Sometimes, this can cause them to open their eyes wide open. Try to dim the lights but not to the point they are more motivated to sleep than chugging your breast. Talk and sing to your baby. Make eye contact if their eyes are wide open. Massage their hands, arms, shoulders or feet.