Breast milk is a real vitamin bomb – a real nourishing cocktail for the baby. It consists, among others, of protein, lactose, fat, cholesterol, vitamins, but above all – it is more than 80 per cent water. The quality of food is a reflection of diet of the feeding mother. This is why the midwives during the first meetings often emphasise that not only what we eat is important, but also how we hydrate our body. Katarzyna Stobik – a midwife and a new mum – tells why it is so important and what to pay attention to while choosing water while breast-feeding.
The perfect milk
One can list tens of arguments in favour of breast-feeding. Not without reason the World Health Organisation declared that for the first months of the baby’s life the woman’s food can and even should be the only ingredient of its diet – it combines the most important balanced food characteristics: it nourishes, protects, and builds immunity. – Colostrum or milk produced by the female body in the first days after labour is a natural vaccine for a young body. What’s important – the composition of milk adjusts to the needs of the baby – it is different in the first week, different in the second month – explains Katarzyna Stobik. – The content of the food is also influenced by the duration of pregnancy and lactation, time of day, as well as diet of the feeding mother. The main ingredient of the female milk is water; hence the young mother should pay special attention to the appropriate amount and quality of liquids, which she consumes during lactation.
Greater needs of a young mum
Water is an extremely important part of the diet of every person – especially important during pregnancy and lactation. It hydrates and cleanses the body, improves metabolism and is calorie-free; it contains no artificial additives, and appropriately selected – perfectly complements a well-balanced diet, providing a dose of minerals.
In case of women the optimal consumption is approx. 2 – 3 litres per day; however, in case of nursing mothers the demand for water increases even by 800 ml a day, which gives 3.8 litre. – The female body during lactation, same as during the pregnancy, has more demand for liquids than before. Only with a correct level she is able to function well, appropriate cleanse herself from toxins, maintain the correct balance and hydration – explains the expert. – What’s important, the balanced daily consumption of liquids aids lactation. However, taking care of food given to a child one must pay attention to the amount of consumed drinks, but mainly to their quality.
Recipe for water
It is obvious that everything a woman eats during pregnancy or lactation has its reflection in the development and well-being of the baby – the ingredients of the consumed food penetrate a young mum’s body, influencing its quality. Both doctors and midwives mention the balanced, carefully prepared diet in this period, and this article can be found in almost every issue of a colourful maternity magazine. One of the rules is the amount of consumed during lactation fluids – but which drinks should one choose? It is best to vary them wisely, i.e. one should not drink only fruit juices or water. Diversity and common sense are necessary if we wish to eat healthy and pass such food to our offspring. – Varied drinks – similarly as foods – allow delivering to the body the appropriate amount of nutrients and minerals, at the same time regulating the level of hydration – notes Katarzyna Stobik. – Proportionally the biggest part of consumed liquids should be water, as it does not contain calories, artificial colours and harmful substances.
However, an apple is not equal to another apple – on the shops’ shelves one can find many waters differing in their ingredients. Which one should we reach for and what should influence the choice? – A feeding mum should reach for still water rich in calcium and magnesium, but also with low in minerals and with low sodium content. Mineral bomb which can be provided by some highly mineralised waters may have the effect opposite to that desired. Both while pregnant and during the lactation it is best to give up the tap water completely, as its composition in many cases remains a dangerous mystery – advises the specialist.
Trust the experts
Studying the labels of all waters available on the stores’ shelves for a young, busy mum can be quite cumbersome or even impossible. So it is best to reach for water for special purposes – for children, pregnant women and lactating, e.g. Mammy and me. It is ideal if the manufacturer of water, for which we reach, can show recommendations and positive feedback from the specialist institutions, such as the Child’s Health Centre. It should also be remembered that properly selected water should be consumed not only straight from the bottle to quench thirst. It is also good to use it for cooking or diluting too strong fruit juices.
A breast-feeding woman should pay a lot of attention to both foods and liquids she consumes. Their quality impacts not only well-being and body of a young mum, but mainly the quality of her food, and – what follows – the development of the baby. Even the choice of such simple – on the face of it – diet component as water can have a significant impact on the female milk. Therefore, not only the amount of consumed liquids is important, but mainly their quality.