What food is delicious, nutritious, and so versatile that it can be eaten plain, combined with just about anything else, and enjoyed by a breastfeeding mom or her older infant or toddler? Avocados and breastfeeding may not be the first thing that come to mind, but I can think of plenty of reasons why breastfeeding moms should love avocados.
Avocados are exceptionally nutritious.
In our recent podcast interview, registered dietitian and author Allison Childress claims that avocados are “almost a superfood.” She explains that the fats in avocados are a superb source of nutrition for brain growth and eye health. And, avocados are very high in potassium, water soluble vitamins C and B1, and fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
One avocado can contain almost 15 percent of the daily recommended potassium intake. In contrast, you’d need to eat 1½ large bananas (.73 grams) or 2 small bananas (.72 grams) to get that much potassium. And, unquestionably, potassium is important for heart health.
Avocados are a good source of fiber.
Wishing that you had a little more regularity with bowel movements after having your baby? (You’re in good company, trust me!) Someone has probably suggested you eat prunes. But have you thought about avocados?
Avocados are high in fiber; 100 grams of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber. In addition to helping achieve intestinal regularity, the fiber helps to stave off satiety. Adding a half of a Hass avocado at lunch can improve satiety.
Avocados might help you lose weight.
Seemingly every new mother wants to lose her “baby weight.” Some suggest that breastfeeding will help with that. But who remembers to suggest that the avocado can help you to lose weight? It can, because of it contains monosaturated fats.
However, a word of caution. Avocados are also high in calories. So don’t overdo it.
Avocados are versatile.
You can serve avocados plain; just slice them up. Or, you can use them as part of a sweet OR a savory dish. Yes, avocados are a fruit (not a vegetable) that are part of the berry family. In her book with Dr. Allison Childress, Chef Aurora Satler gives numerous recipes that busy breastfeeding mothers can use for themselves, or for their children.
Soups, salads, smoothies, dips, desserts, you name it, the avocado can be in it!
Infants and young children love avocados.
I usually suggest that parents put a little piece of avocado on their end of their finger, and let the baby eat it that way, rather than from a spoon. Its creamy texture is easy for the baby who has few teeth, and they tend to take it very cheerfully.
The avocado has eye appeal, a full flavor, and is easy to digest. What’s not to like?
Avocados can be part of your beauty routine.
Avocados are high in vitamin C, which helps to reduce skin inflammation, soothe dry skin, and promote wound healing (okay, it’s not “beauty” but your episiotomy is a wound!) And, avocado oil might boost collagen production which reduces signs of aging. (That benefit is based on rats who consumed the avocado oil, but it is worth considering!)
A few small down sides.
You’re worried that they will become discolored quickly? Right, that’s a possibility. However, if you douse them with a little lemon juice, you can keep them a bit longer (And some say the acid in vinegar will do the same job, but I’ve honestly never tried that.)
Allergies are a distinct possibility. When I teach my live Comprehensive Lactation Course, I show a very illustrative photo of a young infant who has had an allergic reaction to the avocado. So yes, I do warn parents about that.
However, any child (or any adult, for that matter!) can develop an allergic reaction to any food. So don’t base your decisions on what might happen.
Benefits outweigh cost.
If you live on the east coast, you know how expensive avocados can be. But when you think about the many benefits that avocados offer for yourself or your breastfeeding infant or toddler, you might think it’s worth it.
Have any of your tried any of the recipes (especially the avocado recipes) in The The Ultimate New Mom’s Cookbook from Satler and Childress? Tell me in the comments below!