Nutrition While Breastfeeding

Nutrition While Breastfeeding

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Nutrition While Breastfeeding

Your body needs fuel to make breastmilk, so eat your fill of a variety of foods. Breastfeeding isn’t an excuse to eat and drink everything you want, but it’s not a reason to avoid favorite foods either. You don't have to eat a special diet to produce enough milk for your baby. A healthy diet is recommended for all women and offers many benefits to the new mother. Choosing a variety of healthy foods creates a pattern for the entire family, and each family member benefits. Women who are breastfeeding need about 500 extra calories per day. this is an approximate range. Some women might need more, while others might need less. When choosing foods, use the nutrition chart below as a guide.

Woman eating fruit salad.

REMEMBER: alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs also affect your breastmilk and your baby.

Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (eat 6–7 servings a day)

Vegetables (eat 3–5 servings a day)

Fruit (eat 2–4 servings a day)

Milk, yogurt, and cheese (eat 2–3 servings a day)

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts (eat 5–7 servings a day)

Fats, oils, and sweets (use sparingly)

What’s Good for You

  • Drink 8 ounces of liquid, such as water or diluted juice, every time you feed the baby. Your body needs this fluid to make milk.

  • Be sure to eat breads, leafy vegetables, and fruits, as well as milk products, meats, and fish.

  • Snack on fruit or low-fat dairy products if you’re hungry between meals.

  • If your health care provider recommends it, keep taking prenatal vitamins.

What’s Not Good for You

  • It's always good to follow healthy eating guidelines and limit fatty foods and foods that are high in sugar (cookies, cakes, etc.).

  • Be aware that what enters your body may pass into your breastmilk. Limit caffeine—which is not just in coffee but is also in cola, tea, and chocolate.

  • Consult your doctor before taking any medications. It is important to let your doctor know that you are nursing. Some medications are not safe with breastfeeding.

  • Illegal drugs are not recommended under any circumstance. Illegal drugs are particularly not recommended while breastfeeding.