What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Your baby is finally here, so you can ingest whatever you want, right? Actually, breastfeeding moms need to think carefully about their diet. A nursing infant requires a healthy mom, and you may decide to avoid foods that your baby doesn’t like!
Transcript: A curry or a glass of wine taste great-but are your nutritional choices preventing your baby from getting the BEST breast milk possible? If you choose to breastfeed, your milk may be your baby’s sole source of nutrients. Therefore, good nutrition is even more important after birth than it was during your pregnancy! To ensure the most nutritious breast milk, experts once recommended increasing your caloric intake by about 500 calories a day. But when you get those calories from empty foods, like chips or candy bars, your baby may not benefit. That’s why it’s now advised that you focus more on WHAT you eat and worry less about HOW much. Enjoy a diet similar to the one you ate while pregnant, full of complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. If you’re eating a balanced diet of this nature, you probably won’t need to supplement with additional vitamins or minerals. Your doctor may recommend that you continue to take your pre-natal vitamin just to be safe, and that’s fine. Of course, a healthy diet also means eliminating-or at least scaling back-on certain foods. For example, you should avoid mercury-rich fish, like mackerel, swordfish and shark, and keep tuna -both canned and otherwise-to a minimum. If an allergy to a certain food runs in your family, it’s best to avoid eating it now. Meanwhile-whether it’s hot spices, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, or cow’s milk-if you find a food that upsets your little one, avoid it! What you drink is important, too. Because breastfeeding causes you to lose fluid, rehydrate with at least eight glasses of water a day. If you like coffee in the morning, you can stick to your tradition as long as you don’t consume more than about 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. There are about 100 mg of caffeine in the average cup of coffee, and about 75 mg of caffeine in 20 oz. soda bottles. If, however, your baby seems bothered or overly stimulated by caffeine, you should cut it out altogether. It’s also wise to reduce or eliminate alcohol intake, as it can enter your milk and may irritate or tire your baby. In fact, studies have found that babies consume less milk when their mothers have even one drink a day. The alcohol may also interfere with your body’s milk let-down reflex. On the other hand, the occasional celebratory cocktail doesn’t seem to harm an infant over time. Just remember that alcohol will be most potent in your milk about one hour post-consumption. So if you have a drink, enjoy it immediately AFTER a feeding. In fact, this rule holds true for many foods that you really want, but that you worry might negatively affect your baby. And don’t get too uptight about your breastfeeding diet-your little one will DEFINITELY let you know if you’ve made a bad food decision!

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