Breastfeeding mothers usually require additional calories above pre-pregnancy needs to maintain their own health and their milk production. Choosing nuts as a healthy protein source can provide needed protein and calories for nursing mothers, without the hassle of cooking or preparation that other foods require.
Types of Nuts
Nursing mothers can choose from many types of nuts while breastfeeding, including whole nuts, nut butters and other nut products. Many breastfeeding mothers are concerned about whether eating nuts or nut products will cause allergies in their babies; however, breastfeeding expert Dr. Jack Newman advises that eating nuts can actually decrease the risk of allergies and food sensitivities in breastfed babies whose mothers eat nuts or nut products, according to TheBump.com website.
Nuts and nut products are widely available at regular grocery stores, health food stores and some farmer’s markets. Breastfeeding mothers who participate in the WIC program can choose nuts or nut products as part of their food package while they nurse their babies. The USDA's MyPlate website suggests breastfeeding mothers frequently choose nuts from the protein group.
Busy new moms often have difficulty taking the time to prepare and eat a meal with both hands free, and nuts are easily eaten one-handed while holding or even nursing the baby. Nuts such as almonds or cashews do not require any special preparation to eat. Some breastfeeding mothers have difficulty getting all the calories they need for themselves and for milk production, and calorie-dense nuts can help mothers increase their calorie intake. Nuts also pack easily into a diaper bag for a quick, easy snack on the go while out and about with baby.
If your baby seems fussy or develops symptoms such as eczema -- red, swollen or itchy skin -- nasal congestion or diarrhea when he nurses within two to six hours after you have eaten nuts, he might have a nut sensitivity or allergy, explains the Baby Center website. If you suspect your baby has a food allergy, speak to your baby's pediatrician as soon as possible. You might need to try an elimination diet, eliminating one food from your usual diet every two to three days to detect what food is causing the symptoms. Before eliminating entire food groups, however, you should speak with your baby’s pediatrician and your physician so neither you nor your nursing baby develop any nutritional deficiencies.