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Breastfeeding requires a ton of willpower to get right, and a ton of physical resources to continue. All new mothers are told to focus on particular foods, to drink more water and to take extra supplements – but if you already have low blood calcium already, is it even safe to breast feed your new baby?
Breast feeding draws out a lot of the nutrients that you may have painstakingly included in your diet. This liquid gold is going straight to your baby’s gut – a little vulnerable human needs it more than you, right? Well, kind of – but like in an inflight emergency, where you are told to put on your own oxygen mask before you put on your children’s – you need to start making sure you’re in the best of health in order to look after another person’s health.
Low blood calcium can affect your flow of milk, so it is important to keep your blood calcium levels up. However, there are no studies to suggest that it can inhibit the feeding of your baby.
One thing to bear in mind though. According to the National Institutes of Health, women who breastfeed their children lose between 3-5 per cent of bone mass. They recover all this when the baby moves on to solids, but it is a stat that you might bear in mind when you review your diet before nursing your baby.
The same article stated that by simply increasing your calcium intake, say to 1000mg a day, you can provide enough of the mineral for both you and your baby.
If you eat dairy, it is very easy to get your daily amount. If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, it is important to continue a varied and balanced diet full of things like calcium-rich kale, broccoli, tofu, white beans and figs.