Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Baby
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Good nutrition is always good for you. When you are breastfeeding, eating well is especially important for both you and your baby. Paying attention to what you eat and drink will help your body stay strong and help you make the breast milk your baby needs.
When you breastfeed, your body uses more calories and needs more vitamins and minerals than usual. You can make a daily food plan to know what types of food and how much to eat to get the nutrients you need. Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. Have fruit, veggies, and whole grains on hand for healthy meals and snacks.
Certain foods may make a difference in how breast milk tastes and how your baby reacts to it. For example, broccoli, onions, and spicy foods can affect the taste of breast milk. If you ate these foods during pregnancy, your baby already knows these flavors and probably won't mind them. But if you notice your baby has a negative reaction if you include a particular food or flavor in your diet, talk to your baby’s doctor. He or she might suggest reducing or cutting out some foods or flavors from your diet for a little while. Work with your doctor and your baby’s doctor to find ways for you to eat healthy and keep your baby breastfeeding.
When you breastfeed, the water in your body gets used up faster than usual. So, it’s important to replace it by drinking fluids (water, juice, or other beverages). You may find that you often feel thirsty. How much you need to drink will depend on many things, including how physically active you are, the weather where you live, and your own personal needs. The color of your urine is often the best way to tell if you’re getting enough water and other fluids—it should be pale yellow.
Caffeine and Alcohol
You can have caffeine and alcohol during the time you are breastfeeding, but keep in mind that the caffeine and alcohol that you drink can pass into your breast milk and then to your baby.
Drinking a moderate amount of coffee or other caffeine beverages is usually okay. Try to stick to 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 ounces) or less per day. If your baby is particularly fussy after you drink coffee, try making some small changes like drinking coffee that’s half-decaf and half-regular. Remember that teas, sodas, and many other beverages may also have caffeine. Chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream, and other foods may too.
You can continue to breastfeed and have a drink of wine or other alcoholic beverage once in a while. Consider one drink to be four ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, or one ounce of hard liquor (such as vodka, tequila, bourbon, or gin). Moderate or heavy drinking while you’re breastfeeding is not recommended. If you have a drink, wait at least four hours before you breastfeed or before pumping your milk to breastfeed your baby. Or pump before you have a drink so you will have alcohol-free milk to give your baby at feeding time.