Ms Shivani Bavalekar, Senior Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Navi Mumbai
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a lactating woman’s diet. While lactating, you might wonder whether you can eat citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime, amla or not. As there are various myths saying that consumption of citrus food or fruit can curdle the mother’s milk, the acidic nature of citrus fruit will cause acidity to the baby or milk taste may change to tangy flavor which the baby doesn’t drink it. But the fact is citrus fruits are a rich source of Vitamin C, flavonoids and fiber and eating them can instantly uplift your mood, make you feel refreshed and also provides essential nutrients. Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing, improve gastrointestinal function and energy. The body does not make vitamin C by itself, so daily intake is compulsory.
With respect to a lactating mother, it is recommended to eat 3-4 fruits per day, out of which 2 should be citrus fruit to gain the below benefits, but we should also keep in mind that excess amount of any food will irritate the baby, so the portion size should be controlled.
Below are few Effects of Citrus fruit in lactating mothers:
- It helps to increase the haemoglobin level of the mother, by helping in iron absorption. Always have citrus –lime along with iron-rich meal.
- It keeps the mother hydrated especially when she is breastfeeding
- It helps in wound healing post-partum.
- It helps improve your immune function so that the baby can get a good amount of antioxidants and anti-bodies.
- It may also play a role in preventing stretch mark post-delivery due to the collagen producing property.
- It helps to cure the digestive problems like bloating when taken in combination such as lime +mint water, amla juice etc.
- It also helps to reduce the inflammation in the body.
- On consuming citrus juice such as lemon water while breastfeeding it not only makes you feel refreshed but also hydrates you. This helps in producing adequate milk supply for your baby.
Few recipes which can improve your milk secretion and can provide essential nutrients to your little one:
- Grape fruit and kiwi fruit salad: combination of grapefruit and kiwi is rich source of vitamin C and fiber. It helps accelerate digestion and immune system, boosts your metabolism, reduce cholesterol, and helps in wound healing.
- Tomato rasam: It is packed with rich dietary fibers, which adds bulk to your stool and enables smoother bowel regularity. Rasam is rich in thiamin, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and this will help to increase you breast milk and give good amount of essential nutrients to the baby .
- Lemon +mint water: This combination is good for our digestion as well as to reduce the bloating issues caused post-delivery.
- Orange/kiwi/sweet lime smoothie: lactation smoothies are the best to consume as easy to make and are with full on nutrients which help improving breast milk, as they are easy to make and are filled with nutrients. Flavoring your water with vitamin C rich agents like lemon, amla etc. can be a good option to consume vitamin C on daily basis. This will help you to stay hydrated.