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Why nutrition is just as important for mom as it is for baby after birth

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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

(BPT) - After baby arrives, all of the attention goes to him, especially when it comes to eating, but many moms may not realize how important it is for them to eat well during this critical time – especially if they are breastfeeding. 

Nutrition needs are greater during breastfeeding than any other time in a woman’s life, including pregnancy. Yet, new research from Abbott reveals that diet alone may not be enough to meet the high nutritional needs of breastfeeding moms and their babies.

“Moms are encouraged to focus on their diet to obtain the ideal amounts of nutritious foods,” says Abbott Research Scientist Christina Sherry, who led the study. ″But as demonstrated by our study, the reality is many women may find it difficult to eat a well-balanced diet while adjusting to caring for a newborn.″

Researchers worked with breastfeeding moms to see what they were eating as compared to the Dietary Reference Intakes. The study revealed that the average diet of breastfeeding women does not provide desirable amounts of key nutrients like DHA, lutein and vitamin E, which are important for brain and eye development.

So what are these nutrients and how can you get them?

DHA: DHA is a fatty acid essential for brain development. Breastfeeding women should consume at least 200 milligrams of DHA a day, the equivalent of eating 12 ounces of salmon a week (four 3 ounce servings, the size of a check book).

Lutein: Lutein is a carotenoid that supports eye health and a new study shows that when it comes to lutein what mom gets baby gets through her breast milk. A desired level of lutein intake is 4-7 milligrams a day, which would be the equivalent of eating 2 cups of broccoli or 1/4 cup of cooked spinach or kale daily.

Vitamin E: Research shows that vitamin E is an important antioxidant found in breast milk to support developing cells and immune health. It's recommended for breastfeeding moms to eat 19 milligrams a day. For example, that would be eating 1 ounce (the size of a golf ball) of almonds, hazelnuts or peanuts, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/2 cup of cooked spinach a day.

For breastfeeding moms who want to ensure that they are getting enough of these nutrients, the Similac Breastfeeding Supplement is designed to enhance breast milk quality by increasing the levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E in breast milk. In a clinical study, moms who took one Similac Breastfeeding Supplement a day had increased levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E in their breast milk, compared to mothers who did not take the supplement. For more information, visit www.Similac.com.

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