Eating Well For Two - The Breastfeeding Mother
It's important for the breastfeeding mother to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, both for her own good and to ensure that her baby is getting the healthiest breastmilk possible. The following are general guidelines for the breastfeeding mother:
- Follow Canada's Food Guide or the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid for good nutrition guidelines.
- Make sure to drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquid daily to replenish the fluids lost during breastfeeding.
- Eat an extra 500 calories a day of nutritious food, to support your supply of breastmilk. The extra calories will not cause you to gain weight. In fact, you may find that you lose weight in spite of your increased food intake.
- It's likely that you will need to take iron supplements to replenish the iron transferred to breastmilk. Consult your physician for advice.
- Avoid foods that seem to be irritating to your baby.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as these are passed on in breastmilk.
- Consult your doctor about taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, as these may pass through your breastmilk to your baby. It's best to avoid taking medications altogether unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Don't smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke. Smoking can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness in your breastfed baby. It may also cause reduced milk production.