The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Caring for a newborn can leave you with precious little time or energy to devote to eating right. But it’s important to make good nutrition a priority, especially if you’re breastfeeding—after all, your baby is relying on you to supply all the nutrients he needs. Here are 7 simple shortcuts and guidelines to help you get the maximum nutrition with minimal effort.
Aim for the A Your need for vitamin A skyrockets when you’re nursing—from 770 micrograms a day during pregnancy to 1,300 when breastfeeding. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets. Get your daily quota with … 1 medium sweet potato and 1 cup vegetable juice.
Go for Color As a nursing mom, you need 120 milligrams of vitamin C every day, a significant jump from the 85 milligrams you needed while pregnant. Eating plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables will help you reach this amount. Get your daily quota with … 1 cup orange juice, 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries or 1 1/2 cups broccoli.
Bone up on Calcium Your calcium needs are the same before, during and after pregnancy: 1,000 milligrams per day. But since many women don’t meet the minimum, it’s critical to consume calcium-rich foods such as dairy, calcium-fortified soy milk, calcium-fortified juices and cereals, and dark leafy greens. Get your daily quota with … 1 cup nonfat yogurt, 2 glasses low-fat (1%) milk and 1 slice cheese.
Focus on Folate This nutrient is important even after you have your baby. Getting enough—500 micrograms daily if you’re nursing, a slight decrease from the 600 micrograms you needed when pregnant—from diet alone can be difficult, but eating plenty of dried beans, grains and cereals will make it easier. Get your daily quota with … 1 cup fortified raisin bran cereal, 1/2 cup cooked pinto beans, 1/2 cup spinach, 1 cup orange juice and 1 slice whole-wheat bread.
Eat Your Meat (or Veg-Friendly Protein) Your protein requirement stays the same during pregnancy and lactation: 71 grams per day. Sources include dairy, meat, poultry, fish, tofu, dried beans and whole grains. Get your daily quota with … 2 eggs, 3 ounces roast beef, 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk, 4 ounces cooked salmon and 2 slices whole-wheat bread.
Zone in on Zinc Although your need for this nutrient increases only slightly when nursing—11 milligrams daily when pregnant, 12 milligrams while breastfeeding—zinc is found only in animal foods, so vegetarians should make sure their daily supplement fills the gap. Get your daily quota with … 4 ounces smoked turkey breast meat, 4 ounces beef tenderloin and 2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt.
Drink Up Breast milk is 87 percent water, so be sure to load up on fluids. The latest Dietary Reference Intakes state that all beverages count, including milk, juices, and both caffeinated and caffeine-free soft drinks, tea and coffee. Water and milk are your best bets; if you drink caffeinated coffee, try to limit it to 1 to 3 8-ounce cups a day. As for sodas, limit them to 1 or 2 a day, and opt for diet, caffeine-free varieties. Get your daily quota with … 13 8-ounce glasses of fluids, even more if you are thirsty, are exercising or live in a very hot climate.