Fact Sheets : Breastfeeding - Eating For Two

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 breast milk possible. The following are general guidelines for 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 breast milk 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.
     
  • Breastfed newborns will have anywhere from 1 to 12 bowel movements each day. They tend to eat more often and have more bowel movements than bottle-fed babies.
     
  • Eat an extra 500 calories a day of nutritious food, to support your supply of breast milk. 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 is likely that you will need to take iron supplements to replenish the iron transferred to breast milk. Consult your physician for advice.
     
  • Avoid foods that seem to be irritating your baby.
     
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as these are passed on in breast milk.
     
  • Consult your doctor about taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, as these may pass through your breast milk to your baby. It's best to avoid taking medications altogether unless it is absolutely necessary.