Breastfeeding is not just a way to feed your baby. It is also a bonding process. Breastfeeding gives a newborn comfort and nourishment. It is instinctive. It is nature’s way of keeping your newborn healthy and happy.
But breastfeeding takes a lot of effort, energy, and sacrifice. What you eat can pass on to your baby through breast milk. That is why many mothers alter their diets keeping their infants in mind. Yes, you may have to stay off your favorite wine till you are breastfeeding. But it is worth the sacrifice.
The world has recently woken up to the goodness of probiotics. It has now become a part and parcel of healthy eating. But are probiotics for breastfeeding moms considered safe?
What Is Probiotic?
You can’t see them, but they are there! Your body is home to trillions of microorganisms. Now, don’t feel icky! These microscopic organisms help your body stay healthy and fit. Your gut is the place to find over 400 diverse bacterial species. These are the good bact
But the junk we eat today and the chemicals we pump into our body destroys a large portion of this bacteria population. This leaves our digestive system weak. But you can repopulate your gut with these friendly bacteria by taking probiotics. A probiotic contains an abundant number of gut-friendly bacteria and can alter gut microflora.
[ Read: Breastfeeding And Thrush ]
Benefits Of Probiotics During Breastfeeding:
Your infant is born with a fragile immune system. Your breast milk is the building block that helps strengthen your newborn’s body. If you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of her life, you are already helping her future health (1).
But when you add probiotics to your diet, you give your baby something extra. Here are some of the benefits of probiotics during breastfeeding:
1. Benefits For Mom:
Breastfeeding leaches away a lot of nutrients off your body. This can leave your immune system weakened. Consuming probiotic-rich foods or supplements can help strengthen your immunity. It is also a great way to regulate your fluctuating metabolism.
2. Builds Infant’s Immune System:
The gut makes up 60-70% of the body’s immune system. When you add probiotic to your diet, you pass on some good bacteria to your baby. This helps strengthen your infant’s immune system. Just breast milk does the job too. But add probiotic to it, and you help your newborn’s immune system mature faster.
3. Prevents Eczema:
Eczema is a common problem among newborns and babies. By adding probiotic to your diet, you can ensure your baby stays free of eczema during the first two years of her life (2).
[ Read: Toxins In Breastmilk ]
4. Keeps Colic Away:
Mothers with colicky babies will do well to include probiotic to their daily menu! Babies with colic have inflamed guts and need a dose of the friendly bacteria. Make friends with probiotics and let your baby be colic free.
5. Produces B Vitamins:
Your baby and you both need a healthy dose of vitamin B. This group of vitamins helps in food metabolism, prevents anemia and keeps skin and nervous system healthy. Probiotics while pregnant are known to produce vitamin B in the body and keep your overall health at its optimum.
Foods Rich In Probiotics:
So you need to add probiotics in your diet. But where do you find them? You can easily buy probiotic supplements from the market. But the cheaper option will be to consume probiotic rich foods instead. Most fermented foods contain probiotics. Here are a few food ideas for your menu:
Cheap and best! Yogurt is the best source of probiotic you can come cross. You can make yogurt at home or buy it from the market. If you are going for packaged yogurt, look for brands that come with extra probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Yogurt made of goat’s milk will be a better option.
[ Read: Breastfeeding After Breast Augmentation ]
Kefir is made of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains. Apart from probiotics, kefir is also a rich source of antioxidants. For an added boost to your baby’s immune system, try kefir!
Sauerkraut is a rich source of gut-friendly bacteria. It can also reduce allergy symptoms and come packed with vitamins A, B.C, and E.
4. Dark Chocolate:
This will top your list, for sure! Yes, you can eat chocolate. But only the dark variety!
Our oceans are teaming with probiotic-rich foods. Microalgae like spirulina and blue-green algae can give your body a good dose of probiotics.
6. Miso Soup:
Japanese medicine makes use of miso soup frequently to treat a number of digestive disorders. A mix of fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, miso is a great source of probiotic for you.
Pickles are a tasty source of probiotics. You can even make some at home!
[ Read: Breastfeeding And Diabetes ]
You have heard of tofu, now try tempeh! You can try a number of tempeh recipes to reap the benefits of this probiotic source.
Kimchi is spicy and great for your gut! It is made of fermented cabbage and is a stable in many a Korean menu. Not just probiotics, kimchi is also a great source of calcium, iron, and vitamins. If you are fond of spicy food, kimchi will be perfect for you!
10. Kombucha Tea:
Do you like tea? How about a cup of fermented tea? This probiotic drink has years of history behind it. But if you have candida, avoid kombucha tea.
If you think these probiotic sources are a bit too ‘exotic’, you can try buying some probiotic supplements. They come in many varieties and are easily available. And don’t worry about probiotics harming your baby. Probiotics are perfectly safe – both for you and your little one (3).
When you feel like giving up breastfeeding, remind yourself of what you are giving your baby. You are giving her good health and comfort. That will take you through a few more sleepless nights! And don’t forget to add some probiotic to your diet to build your and your baby’s immune system and health.
What is your favorite source of probiotics? Or do you keep it simple and pick a bottle of probiotic off the shelf? Tell us in the comments section below!
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