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Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

“Breastfeeding nutrition can be confusing. How much should you eat? Are there foods you should avoid? How does what you eat affect your baby? These tips can help you answer these questions.”

1. Up your calories: You do need to eat a little more, about 330-400 calories a day to keep your energy up while breastfeeding. To get these extra calories, try to choose nutrient-rich foods like a medium banana or apple, or about 8oz. of yogurt.

2. Choose foods that fuel milk production: Focus on making healthy choices to help fuel your milk production. Opt for protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs, dairy, beans, and seafood low in mercury. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables.

3. Eat a variety of foods to vary up flavor: Eating a variety of different foods while breastfeeding will change the flavor of your breast milk. This will also expose your baby to different tastes, which could help him/her more easily accept solid foods later.

4. Drink frequently: Drink frequently, preferably before you feel thirsty. Drink more especially if your urine appears dark yellow. Have a glass of water nearby when you breastfeed your baby. Be wary of sugary drinks and juices because too much sugar can cause weight gain (does not aid in losing baby weight). Too much caffeine is also not preferable because in your breast milk, it might agitate your baby or interfere with your baby's sleep.

5. And if you are Vegetarian…Choose foods rich in iron, protein, and calcium like lentils, enriched cereals, peas, dark leafy greens, eggs and dairy, nuts, tofu, and whole-grain products. You also may want to consider a B-12 and/or omega-3 supplement to aid in your baby's brain development

6. Avoid/limit certain foods: Certain foods and drinks deserve caution while breastfeeding. These items are:

  • Alcohol: there is no level of alcohol that is considered safe for a baby. If you do drink, wait to breastfeed until the alcohol has completely cleared your breast milk. This typically takes 2-3 hours for 12 oz of 5% beer, 5 oz. of 11% wine or 1.5oz of 40% liquor depending on your body weight.

  • Caffeine: Avoid drinking more than 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks a day.

  • Fish: Seafood can be a great source of protein and omega 3, but a lot of seafood contains mercury or other contaminants. Exposure to a lot of mercury in breast milk can pose risk to the baby’s developing nervous system. To reduce risk, avoid seafood like swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish.

7. Consider allergies: Certain foods or drinks in your diet could cause your baby to become irritable or have an allergic reaction. If your baby becomes fussy or develops a rash, diarrhea, or c

ongestion after breastfeeding, consult your baby's doctor. Remember, there's no need to go on a special diet while breastfeeding. Just focus on making healthy choices and your baby will reap the rewards.

Source: Mayo Clinic, 2019

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