Nourishing Your Body, Nourishing Your Baby
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Eating well when you are breastfeeding is good for you and good for your baby. Check out these tips on how to care for your body and your baby while breastfeeding.
What You Eat
Your body uses more calories and needs more vitamins and minerals to support breastfeeding. You can create your own daily food plan to know how much and what types of foods to eat. As a general rule, listen to your body, and eat when you are hungry. Stock up on the good stuff like fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
What about broccoli? Or onions? Or spicy food? Often breastfeeding moms are given advice that certain foods could make a difference in how breastmilk tastes or how their baby will react to it. If you were eating these foods during pregnancy, chances are your baby has already been exposed to the flavors. But, if you notice your baby is reacting negatively to a particular food or flavor in your diet, talk to your baby’s doctor. He or she might suggest reducing or eliminating some foods or flavors from your diet for a little while. It’s important to work with your doctor and your baby’s doctor to work around these glitches to maintain your own health and keep your baby breastfeeding.
What You Drink
Although drinking a lot of water (or milk, juice, or other beverages) won’t necessarily increase your milk supply, it is important to keep your body hydrated. Your need for fluids is higher while you are breastfeeding. You may also notice that you are thirstier than before. There are lots of different recommendations out there about exactly how much you should drink. How much you need to drink to stay hydrated will depend on a lot of things—the weather where you live, how physically active you are, and just your own personal needs. The color of your urine is often the best way to tell if you are getting enough water and other fluids—it should be pale yellow.
Caffeine, Alcohol, and Smoking
Although both caffeine and alcohol can be consumed in small amounts while you are breastfeeding, keep in mind that they can pass from your bloodstream into your breast milk and to your baby. Drinking a moderate amount of coffee or other caffeinated beverages—2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) per day—is usually OK. However, if you find that your baby is particularly fussy after your morning cup of joe, then try making some adjustments like going to half-decaf/half regular coffee. Also remember that other beverages (such as sodas and teas) and foods (such as chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream) may also contain caffeine.
You can continue to breastfeed and occasionally have an alcoholic beverage (1 drink = 4 oz glass of wine, 12 oz of beer, or 1 oz of hard liquor like vodka, tequila, bourbon, or gin). But moderate or heavy drinking while you are breastfeeding is not recommended. If you’d like to have an occasional drink, here are some guidelines:
Wait until your baby has a routine breastfeeding pattern, at least 3 months of age.
Wait at least four hours after having a single alcoholic drink before breastfeeding or pump before having a drink and use the milk you pumped before drinking to feed your baby.
Nicotine and other chemicals can also get into your milk supply—another good reason to stay Smokefree after pregnancy! Even if you’re not able to stay Smokefree the entire time you’re breastfeeding, it’s still good for your baby to continue breastfeeding.
Paying attention to what you eat and drink will help your body to stay strong and capable of making all of the breastmilk that your baby needs. Plus, you’ll be taking a huge step toward your own health as you support the health and well-being of your baby!