10 Tips on What to Eat While Breastfeeding

10 Tips on What to Eat While Breastfeeding

It really is true what they say: Breast is best! Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and chronic diseases in both mom and baby. Breastfeeding may also prevent raising a picky eater as tastes are passed through breast milk as with amniotic fluid during pregnancy. Introduce different flavors to your newborn by consuming a variety of healthy foods.

Overall good nutrition is essential, but here are ten tips to get you started on the right track.

  1. Consume balanced, frequent meals to keep up with the demands of milk production.
  2. Do not just focus on the number of calories; focus on the quality of calories. Make every calorie count. Limit processed and sugary “junk” foods.
  3. Make sure you consume a lot of whole grains, high-quality protein, beans/legumes, fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods.
  4. Continue taking a prenatal vitamin and consider taking a B12 and vitamin D supplement if you’re on a vegan diet.  However, do not start taking additional supplements without checking with your doctor first.
  5. Drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 8 glasses per day.
  6. Limit alcohol or avoid it completely. One alcoholic beverage occasionally is acceptable. However, the mother must wait 2 hours before breastfeeding to allow alcohol to clear from her system.
  7. Limit caffeine to no more than two (5oz) servings per day. Some breastfeeding mothers find their baby becomes agitated when they have consumed caffeine. If this is true for you, try to avoid it completely.
  8. Same as when you were pregnant, monitor your mercury intake. Limit exposure by choosing foods low in mercury such as shrimp and salmon. Avoid foods high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
  9. Your body needs extra calories now that you are breastfeeding, even more than when you were pregnant. The amount of calories needed is dependent on maternal fat stores. Typically 400-500 calories extra for the first six months and 200-300 extra for the second 6 months.
  10. Keeping up with the demands of caring for a newborn and making sure you are consuming adequate nutrition can be a bit tricky. Try to have “easy-to-prepare” foods handy. Options include whole-grain toast with nut butter, pre-cut fruit salad, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, and hummus and veggie sticks.

If you have any questions, just contact one of our registered dietitians for a personalized breastfeeding diet. 

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