Breastfeeding And Iron Intake

If you are breastfeeding, and iron along with other nutrients have been a source of concern, it is important for you to know that the right diet of a healthy breastfeeding mum should ideally contain a well-balanced portion of calcium, iron, minerals and other vitamins.

Breastfeeding and iron deficiency

The cause of concern lies in the fact that even if you are deficient in iron, the breast milk would generally be nutritious enough. Surprisingly, it is the mother who will face the brunt since she will already be low in iron, and breastfeeding will further deplete her of the nutrient, making her anaemic.

Experts in the subject are of the opinion that it is right for the nursing mother to be concerned about her supplies of iron, breastfeeding can cause a problem if iron levels are already low.

Research shows that it is your age that will determine the amount of iron you will need when breastfeeding. To be more specific, it is recommended that you consume around 10 mg of iron a day, if you are between 14 and 18 years of age.

For women in the age group 19 to 50 years, around 9 mg a day is the required dosage.


Our tip: It is always advisable to get your daily iron quotient from your diet. Having it in the form of external supplements could have an adverse effect on your digestive system.


Top Foods to Boost Iron Content

Here, we’ve given a list of the food groups you can include in your diet to ensure that you are fine while breastfeeding, and iron doesn’t remain a concern.

Vegetables

You can include a number of vegetables that are especially high in their iron content. Some of the common vegetables include:

• Peas *

• Beans *

• Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach

• Pumpkin

• Lentils

• Kidney beans *

• Chickpeas

Whole grains and cereals

The likes of iron-fortified cereals, pasta and breads are a good source of whole grains that give a rich supply of iron for breastfeeding mothers.

At times, iron, especially the non-heme one is not absorbed readily by the body. You can improve the absorption of iron by eating fruits that are rich in vitamin C, such as kiwis, grapefruit juice*, oranges* and strawberries.

Meat

Experts vouch for the high iron content contained in meat, especially in organ meat such as liver, carrying something like 5.2 to 9.9 mg of iron per serving. You can also consume more duck, lamb and chicken.

Eggs

Eggs are another source of iron that can be incorporated as an integral part of your diet when nursing. Moms who are breastfeeding can include at least 1 egg a day for breakfast.

Seafood*

Seafood such as shellfish is known to be very high in iron. Just consider the fact that a 3-oz can of clams carries around 23 mg of iron while 3-oz of cooked oysters contain around 10.2 mg of iron.

By Jasmin Pannu


* Foods that could cause colic/gassiness or allergy in some babies. So if your baby does start to show any colicky signs, you will know which foods to start illuminating. Most babies are fine with these foods though.


Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with breastfeeding and iron intake

- Diet guidelines for the nursing mother

- Nausea, headaches and hair loss while nursing

- Fenugreek and oats are rich in Iron and also increase breast milk production

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