Healthy Nutrition While Breastfeeding

In about your 7th month of pregnancy, your baby growing in your belly is finally old enough to actually start tasting some of the foods that you are consuming. By the time you start breastfeeding, your newborn will have an even better idea of the types of food mommy likes best.

On average while you are breastfeeding your newborn, your body should be producing on average 23-27 ounces of milk each day. So while you are breastfeeding, you need to up your daily caloric intake by about 500 additional calories per day.

Not only does your calories need to go up, you also need to be consuming at least 2.5-3 quarts of water per day. You will probably realize you are a lot thirstier while you are nursing anyway. Why, you ask? Because the water you are consuming goes right into producing milk, but don’t drink more than 3 quarts each day if possible. If you drink more than that amount it can actually reduce the amount of milk you are producing.

Like I said earlier, your calories need to go up. So just adjust your daily caloric intake to about 2500 calories per day or even more if you are thinking of breastfeeding for longer than 90 days. But the additional calories shouldn’t come from food that isn’t healthy. Foods such as sweets and chips are actually just empty calories and don’t add any nutrition to you or your baby. Protein is key. The rule we teach and I personally follow, breastfeeding or not, is 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight each day. Example: if you are weighing in at 140 lbs, you need to eat at least 140 grams of protein each and every day.

You really need to be eating at least 5-6 meals a day as well. You should have started this while you were pregnant, but if not, start now. How does this work? Eat breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and then an evening snack. This is so important while you are nursing because your body is constantly making milk so you want to make sure you are getting enough calories to support this process.

Obviously there are some foods you really want to stay away from during pregnancy and while you are nursing; since a majority of the foods you consume pass through the milk to your baby. This is also why if your baby is colic that your doctor may ask you what you have been eating. You may not realize this, but chocolate has been the blame of colic in a lot of cases because it can cause your newborn to have an upset tummy. If your baby is really fussy with a tummy ache, think about what you have eaten throughout the day – see if you possibly consumed a chocolate candy bar or possibly a cookie a couple hours before you nursed. Sadly, if you’re a chocolate love like me, the best advice is to just avoid chocolate when you are breastfeeding.

Also, avoid spice and greasy foods while you are nursing. You know how greasy foods can sometimes cause you to have an upset stomach, can you even imagine what it does to a newborn tummy? Our advice…wait until your newborn is no longer breastfeeding before hitting those fast food joints. In fact, just try to avoid those throughout your lifetime – nursing or not, they aren’t good for you.

A couple more foods you might want to avoid are onions and garlic. These 2 foods can make your breast milk taste unpleasant to your baby and they may not nurse at all. Don’t forget it does take several hours for the food you have consumed to enter your milk, so just because you may eat one of these foods and then immediately¬† nurse your baby and have no effects, it could be the next feeding that will cause issues.

Also keep in mind that not only does your milk taste like what you eat, but also like what you drink. I’m sure while you were pregnant you stayed away from consuming a lot of caffeine…you need to continue this practice while nursing. We realize you may need that energy boost just to keep your eyes open, so a cup or 2 of coffee will not hurt your baby, but too much is what you need to avoid. I’m sure you have experienced the shakes or a jittery feeling when you’ve consumed too much caffeine, well, it does the same thing to your baby.

Last, but certainly not least, you have made the best choice by deciding to breastfeed your baby. It is what is going to keep you and your baby the healthiest. Keep up the good work by also making excellent food choices.

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