Good Nutrition – Pass It On
The whole point of breastfeeding is to pass on the best nutrients to your baby. Here are some tips for maximizing those nutrients.
Eat with variety
While your body is busy making milk for your baby, it needs even more nourishment and energy. Your amazing body puts your baby first, so even if your eating habits are a bit unbalanced, your body will make nutritious food for your baby. You will want to eat a variety of wholesome foods as you did during your pregnancy to make sure YOU stay healthy during this special bonding time with your new baby. As a matter of fact it is usually recommended to continue to take your prenatal vitamins while you breastfeed.
Eat more calories from nutritious foods
In spite of myths about special foods that increase or decrease the amount of breast milk you are making for your baby, one thing is true: you need to eat enough calories and drink enough water to make the amount of breast milk your baby needs. While you only needed 200-300 extra calories a day during your pregnancy, now you need around 400. Make sure they’re coming from nutrient-dense foods providing iron, folate, calcium, fiber and protein to keep you healthy. Talk to your doctor about what calorie level is appropriate for you. Even if you are not able to breastfeed, keep taking prenatal vitamins for six weeks after delivery to help your body recover from your pregnancy.
Drink more water
A major reason you needed extra water during your pregnancy was to help make sure you and your baby had enough blood. Now you need to make sure you have enough fluid (by drinking low- or no-calorie fluids) to make milk to hydrate your baby. Remember, for the first six months of life she only needs breast milk, so all your baby’s hydration needs are being met by the milk you are making.
Some weight loss is OK
Don’t worry. Some weight loss is possible during the first six months of breastfeeding. The extra calories you are eating are going into making breast milk, so if you eat enough calories to make sure you make enough milk without going overboard a gradual loss of 2-4 pounds a month is possible.
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