Breastfeeding Moms Need a Healthy Diet

NorthBay Medical Center
A Baby-Friendly Hospital

NorthBay Medical Center’s status as a Baby-Friendly hospital means that a mother’s right to breastfeed is not only supported, it’s encouraged. That means all staff in Women’s and Children’s Services are available to answer questions and provide materials, and that lactation consultants are ready to provide techniques and tips.

One key to success is a healthy diet for mom. Although breastfeeding does not require a special diet, it is important that new moms eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of liquids. Here are a few tips:

Drink enough liquids. You may be thirsty during the first few days after delivery as your body sheds excess fluid accumulated during the pregnancy. After that, the body will balance out to a thirst based on your body’s needs. However, most mothers do notice they are thirstier when breastfeeding. Drink plenty of liquids, such as juice, water, milk, and soup to quench your thirst. Liquids can be in any form, but limit your intake of any with caffeine.

Eat a variety of healthy foods. The best guide as to how much to eat should be your own appetite. In general, mothers are hungrier during the first several months of breastfeeding, and you should not ignore feelings of hunger when producing milk for your baby. Get the calories, vitamins, and minerals you need to remain healthy. A minimum intake of at least 2,000 calories per day, with an optimal intake of 500 calories above a nonpregnant caloric intake of 1,800 to 2,200 calories, is recommended.

careful Weight Loss. Although shedding those extra pounds gained during pregnancy may be a big concern, strict weight-loss programs are not recommended, especially during the first few months of breastfeeding.

Spicy or gas-producing foods. Common in the diets of many cultures, these kinds of foods do not bother most babies. A few babies will develop gas or seem uncomfortable when their mothers eat certain foods. However, there are no certain foods that create problems for all babies. Unless you notice that your baby reacts within six hours every time you eat a certain food, there is no need to avoid any particular foods.

supplement Vegetarian Diet. You will want to be sure that your diet includes complete proteins, so eat a wide variety of foods. Many vegetarians, including some lacto-ovo vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products, may require supplementary vitamin D, iron, and calcium during lactation. In addition, the milk of women eating vegan or macrobiotic diets may be deficient in vitamin B12 and these mothers often require supplements of vitamin B12 so their breast milk will contain a sufficient amount.

Caffeine Caution. You may drink caffeinated beverages; however, caffeine may make your baby jittery, irritable, or have difficulty sleeping. If you enjoy caffeinated beverages, limit your intake to about two eight-ounce servings per day.

Limit alcohol. If you plan to have an alcoholic beverage, breastfeed beforehand and allow an hour or two before breastfeeding afterward.

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