The mother’s diet must make provisions for her own health, growth and development of her baby and storage of nutrients for breast milk. A wide variety of foods are essential:
- Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals
- Starch – like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, and cereals provide heat and energy
- Lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans and lentils are important nutrients
- Dairy products – milk, cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium – vital for good teeth and bones
- Green leafy vegetables, red meat, dried fruits and nuts contain iron
- Citrus fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, blackcurrants and potatoes contain vitamin C
- Margarine or oily fish e.g. sardines and salmon have vitamin D – essential for absorption of calcium
- Extra folic acid helps prevent spina bifida and other serious problems. Green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and breads contain this vitamin – also available in tablet form.
- Ensure eggs are well cooked – prevents risk of salmonella
- Avoid soft cheeses
- Drink pasteurised milk
- Don’t eat liver, liver pate or sausage as these are high in vitamin A, which could harm your baby. Tea, coffee and cola should be in moderation as too much caffeine can affect your baby’s birth weight.