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A nutritious, balanced diet helps you stay energetic and make plenty of milk for your baby. No foods are banned while breastfeeding. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important at all stages of life. Breastfeeding is no exception.Making milk will use about 500 extra calories a day, so you might have a bigger appetite while you are breastfeeding.
Making healthy food choices—along with regular physical activity—will keep you healthy while you breastfeed. Choose a variety of foods and beverages to build your own healthy eating style. Include foods from all food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods.
It’s important to focus on eating healthy, rather than losing baby weight, while you’re breastfeeding. Slow weight loss over several months is safest.
Babies love the flavors of foods that come through your milk. Sometimes a baby may be sensitive to something you eat, such as eggs or dairy products like milk and cheese. Watch your baby for the symptoms listed below, which could mean that your baby has an allergy or sensitivity to something you eat:
These signs do not mean your baby is allergic to your milk, only to something that you ate. You may need to stop eating whatever is bothering your baby or eat less of it. You may find that after a few months you can eat the food again with better results.
Talk with your baby’s doctor if your baby has any of the symptoms listed above. If your baby ever has problems breathing, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Source: USDA WIC Breastfeeding Support
|Daily Food Guide||Amount Needed|
|Food Group||Food Choices||Pregnant / Breastfeeding Under 18||Pregnant / Breastfeeding Over 18||Non-Pregnant Under 18||Non-Pregnant Over 18|
|Grains||1 slice bread, 6” tortilla, small biscuit or muffin = 1 oz.||5-8 oz.||5-8 oz.||6 oz.||5-6 oz.|
|1 hot dog or hamburger bun, 8″ tortilla = 2 oz.|
|1 cup cold cereal = 1 oz.|
|½ cup cooked cereal= 1 oz.|
|½ cup cooked noodles, pasta, or rice = 1 oz.|
|3 cups popcorn = 1 oz.|
|5 whole wheat or 7 square or round crackers = 1 oz.|
|Vegetables||Raw leafy vegetables (2 cups = 1 serving or cup)||3 or more cups||3 or more cups||2 1/2 cups||2-2 1/2 cups|
|Cooked, chopped or raw vegetable|
|100% vegetable juice|
|Fruits||100% fruit juice||2 or more cups||2 or more cups||1 1/2 cups||1 1/2-2 cups|
|1 medium whole fruit|
|Cooked, chopped or canned fruit (drained)
Dried fruit (½ cup = 1 serving or cup)
|Dairy (Milk, Yogurt & Cheese)||Milk, yogurt (choose low-fat or fat-free dairy)||Pregnant 3-4 cups
Breastfeeding 3 cups
|3 cups||3 cups||3 cups|
|½ cup cottage cheese = ¼ cup milk|
|1½ oz. cheese (size of 6 dice) = 1 cup of milk|
|Protein (Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Beans and Nuts)||Cooked meat, fish, or poultry||5-6 ½ oz.||5-7 oz.||5 oz.||5-5½ oz.|
|Cooked dried/canned beans, peas, lentils ( ¼ cup = 1 oz.)|
|1 egg = 1 oz.|
|1 tbsp. peanut butter = 1. oz .|
|Oils||Olive oil, canola oil, other vegetable oils.|
|Soft vegetable oil spreads.|
|Salad dressing, mayonnaise without trans fats.|
|Other Calories||Additional calories including butter, margarine, sugar, candy,||These foods provide calories, with few nutrients.|
|jam, syrup, soft drinks, cake, cookies, pie, chips, etc.|
|Water/Other Liquids||Water, 100% juice (no more than 8 oz/day), milk, soup||8-10 cups||8-10 cups||6-8 cups||6-8 cups|
*Source: USDA MyPlate and Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Nutrition Care Manual
Drink enough fluids to satisfy your thirst. You might be thirstier than before you started breastfeeding. Water, non-far or low-fat milk, and 100% juice are good choices. You will know that you are drinking enough liquids if your urine is clear or pale yellow in color.
Source: Breastfeeding: Keep It Simple Amy Spangler, MN, RN, IBCLC
Like when you were pregnant, there are things you should limit or avoid while you are breastfeeding to keep your baby happy and healthy.
Limit caffeine. Drinking a small amount of coffee (up to 2 cups a day) or other drinks with caffeine is okay while breastfeeding. Too much caffeine can make your baby fussy or keep baby awake.
Avoid alcohol. It’s best to avoid alcohol while you are breastfeeding. Alcohol can enter your breast milk, and it can cause you to make less milk. If you choose to drink, you may have a single alcoholic drink once in a while if your baby’s breastfeeding routine is well established—and your baby is at least 3 months old. Then, be sure to wait at least 4 hours before nursing. You can also express milk before you drink to feed your baby later. It’s best to talk with your doctor before drinking alcohol.
If you smoke, it is best for you and your baby if you quit as soon as possible. Smoking can cause low milk supply, colic, and milk let-down issues.
If you do continue to smoke, you should still breastfeed. Your milk can protect your baby from breathing problems, sudden infant death (SIDS), and poor weight gain. Wait as much time as possible between smoking and breastfeeding. This will lower the amount of nicotine in your milk while nursing.
Be sure to smoke away from your baby and change your clothes to keep your baby away from the chemicals smoking leaves behind. Other people smoking around your baby (secondhand smoke) can also harm your baby’s health.
Electronic cigarettes, also known as “e-cigarettes,” “e-cigs,” “vapes,” or “vape pens,” may also harm your baby’s health. These devices deliver nicotine, flavorings, and other additives through an inhaled aerosol. There is limited research about the safety and health effects of e-cigarettes.
Ask your doctor for advice on quitting smoking.
Stay drug-free while breastfeeding. Anything that gets you high can harm your baby and can pass to your baby through your breast milk. Avoid using marijuana, crack, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, meth, and other street drugs.
Misusing prescription drugs can also harm your baby. This includes taking your own prescription drugs in a way not intended by your doctor and taking a prescription drug meant for someone else. Taking drugs while breastfeeding could make your baby have seizures, vomit, and have trouble feeding.
Drug use can also impact your family in many ways. It may be linked with poor parenting, child neglect, and abuse. Parents with drug use disorders may not be able to care for their children well.
If you are taking drugs, speak with your doctor or find a treatment center right away to get help. Stopping drugs suddenly without a doctor’s help can cause serious withdrawal and health problems for you and your baby.
Source: USDA WIC Breastfeeding Support
Exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing! But, once your doctor says it’s okay, regular exercise can help you feel less tired. Try to get out for a walk every day with your baby, even if it’s just around the block.
You can also fit several 10-minute mini-workouts in your day. Try doing jumping jacks, sit ups, or pushups, or you can jog in place, jump rope, or lift weights.
Source: USDA WIC Breastfeeding Support
Since babies often wake up every 2-3 hours to be fed and changed, it’s no surprise moms get tired quickly! Here are some good ways to get more rest:
Remember, this phase when the baby wakes several times a night won’t last forever. As your baby gets older, they will sleep for longer stretches, and you will, too!
After having your baby, you may feel sad, worried, and overwhelmed for a few days. Lots of new moms have these feelings after giving birth. Changing hormones, anxiety about caring for your baby, and a lack of sleep all affect your emotions.
Go easy on yourself. These feelings are normal and usually go away in a week or two. If your feelings are extreme or interfere with your ability to care for your baby and yourself, talk to your doctor. You can also call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or find help and other resources online.
Here are other ways to take care of yourself:
This post was last updated on December 1st, 2020 at 8:29 PM
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