Feeding Your Baby Through Pregnancy
When you think of feeding a baby, you will probably think first of breast feeding and bottle feeding with baby formula, and then the time when solid foods are introduced. Those phases, though, are not the first phase of baby feeding. That takes place from the moment of conception through to birth.
Feeding your baby in the womb is as important as after the baby is born. This means, of course, feeding yourself well during pregnancy. The equation is simple when it comes to feeding a dependent baby inside the womb. A good, healthy, well-balanced diet for mum will mean a good healthy balanced diet for the growing offspring.
The pregnant mother’s nutritional requirements do change a little during pregnancy, and this is something you should discuss with your midwife or doctor on your first visit. In many countries, you will receive leaflets about your pregnancy and what to expect, and you should take particular note of the dietary aspects so you get into some good eating, and drinking, habits, right at the start.
It really is worthwhile getting your diet right during pregnancy, and you will probably be advised on supplementation. When my wife announced she was pregnant a couple of years ago (I was still sleepy when she came back in the bedroom and thrust the test kit before my eyes with its positive result!), I was at the pharmacy within a few hours getting a woman’s supplement with extra folic acid.
My wife already had an excellent diet with a lot of fruit, vegetables, and fish, and is fortunately a great cook who enjoys cooking. Then, a pregnancy spanner was thrown in the works. Morning sickness came quite soon, although it was in the evenings. Maybe this was some kind of time difference problem with us being in the Philippines and my genes being English, an 8-hour time difference?
That is just fanciful, of course. Morning sickness can occur any time, though morning is the most “popular”. But the sickness was accompanied by something a bit more drastic: she could not tolerate even cooking her favorite foods, let alone eating them.
We managed to struggle thorough a couple of months with that problem, then things started to return to normal. Fresh vegetable soup became a mainstay of the diet, with extra milk and the supplements, which our doctor approved of at the first clinic visit. She confirmed extra folic acid was a must.
My wife is one of the healthiest people I have ever come across, so she stood a good chance of producing a healthy baby in a country where child birth problems are distressingly high. She was food conscious throughout, and that certainly paid off once the baby was born. She was a healthy baby from birth, and her mum had a prolific supply of breast milk.
That is another important aspect of the pregnancy diet, you are not just feeding the baby in the womb, you are preparing for the post birth period when you will need to produce breast milk. The benefits of breast milk over formula are substantial, especially for the baby’s immune system.
So, the basic message for a pregnancy diet is:
1. Get your doctor’s or midwife’s advice on diet and supplements.
2. Stick religiously to a healthy balanced diet.
3. Deal with any food fads or dislikes as best you can.