Nutrition for the Breastfeeding Mom
Healthy and Well Balanced Diet
- Increase your daily calorie intake by approximately 500 calories per day.
- Stick to a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy and water.
- Aim for gradual weight loss, rather than quick, harsh exercise regimes and dieting.
- Drink according to thirst. Your body knows if it needs more fluids and and it will tell you by making your feel thirsty. Follow guidelines inside for general rule.
Common Breastfeeding Myths
- Avoid cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, garlic and onions while nursing or the baby will get gas.
Truth: The list of foods that will cause your baby gas are endless and varies from culture to culture. Though some babies are more upset by certain foods that would typically give gas to an adult, every baby reacts differently to their mother’s diet. There is no universal rule as to what might upset a child’s stomach.
- Spice and citrus fruits irritate the baby’s stomach and change the taste of the mother’s milk.
Truth: There is no scientific data that proves this. The taste of breast milk changes according to the mother’s diet and by eating a varied diet including spicy food and citrus. The mother is introducing her baby to different tastes. It is important to keep an eye open for possible food allergies when trying new foods while you are nursing. And remember, that moderation is the key.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many extra calories do I need while breastfeeding?
You should consume 500 more calories per day while breastfeeding
What additional vitamins and minerals do I need while breastfeeding?
Continue with your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding to meet additional vitamin and mineral needs. There are higher calcium needs for teens and women who are breastfeeding multiple babies. Consume 5-6 servings of calcium rich food per day, including milk, milk products, cheese and yogurt. You will also need more vitamin D during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Eat fortified foods with vitamin D such as cereals, orange juice and some yogurts. Also fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackeral contain vitamin D. Small amounts of sun exposure also help with vitamin D.
How much fluid do I need?
You should have about 8-12 8-oz glasses per day. Drink caffeine-free fluids to avoid thirst and dehydration. Strive to drink eight ounces of caffeine-free fluids each time you nurse the baby. Also drink additional fluids with meals.
Should I avoid alcohol, caffeine and artifical sweetners?
Alcohol is not recommended while breastfeeding, because it can be passed to the baby. If you choose to drink alcohol, it’s best to pump your breast milk and throw that milk away. Limit the use of caffeine while breastfeeding can also be passed to the baby. Caffeine can increase the restlessness and irrability the baby. Regarding artificial, the effects are unknown, but it wouldn’t hurt to limit the intake while breastfeeding.