Nutrition

 

Eating Right for You and Baby

The good news about breastfeeding is that you don’t have to eat specific foods to make high quality breast milk for your baby. Mothers from all over the world, eating many different diets, have all been nursing successfully for thousands of years. However, a healthy, balanced diet will increase the quality of your breast milk and will help you as well. Nutritious foods help you to heal from childbirth and give you more energy to meet the needs of your growing baby. Most doctors recommend that a nursing mom eat about 250 to 500 extra calories a day.

Should I Take Prenatal Supplement While Breastfeeding?

Many doctors recommend that breastfeeding mothers continue to take a prenatal supplement. In theory, if you eat a well-balanced diet, you should be able to get all the nutrients your body needs. In reality, however; it can be hard to be sure you are eating enough of the right foods each and every day.

Weight Loss by Breastfeeding

One of the many ways that breastfeeding can benefit mom is that it can help you to lose weight. Because it takes an extra 500 calories to make breast milk, you have a 500 calorie head start on moms who are formula feeding.

Getting Your Body Back into Shape

Many women are anxious to start an exercise program after giving birth. Once your body has healed from childbirth (at least 8 weeks postpartum), there is no reason you cannot start a fitness program. Moderate exercise will not change the taste or quality of your breast milk. There has been some concern that the lactic acid that builds up during high-intensity physical activity could change the taste of breast milk. While this is possible, the change would only be minor, would be harmless to baby, and would only occur with very high levels of exercise - above the aerobic threshold.

Breastfeeding and Alcohol

Many women miss having the occasional glass of wine during pregnancy and look forward to being able to drink again once baby is born. Breastfeeding moms need not completely abstain from alcohol, but there are good reasons to keep drinking to a minimum.

Breastfeeding and Caffeine

Being a mom, especially a new mom is a tiring job. Many moms really enjoy -some even say need, that morning cup of coffee. If you are one of those moms, there is good news. Most moms don’t have to give up caffeinated beverages while breastfeeding. It seems that even a moderate amount of coffee does not have much effect on most babies.

Breastfeeding and Smoking

Of course, it is better for baby if you don’t smoke. However, if you will not or cannot quit smoking, it is still better to breastfeed than to feed baby with formula. Even if you cannot quit, cutting down can help a lot. The effects of nicotine on your milk and your baby decrease significantly if you can keep to less than 15 cigarettes a day. You can also minimize the effect your smoking has on your baby by timing your smoking. It takes 95 minutes for half of the nicotine to leave your body.

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