Breastfeeding Nutrition 101
Breast milk is nature’s perfect food. But to be a “milkmom,” you’ll need to adjust your diet.
Keep eating for two (kinda)
Don’t get too excited. You only need about 200 more calories to meet breastfeeding demands (but it’s okay if those additional calories come from a slice of chocolate cake once in awhile, just as long as you choose a nutrient-dense snack most other times). But it’s also extremely important that you drink enough water for two. You should have an extra (on top of your usual eight) glass of water each time you breast-feed. Nursing mothers need more fluids than ever before!
Load up on protein and calcium
For the first six months of breastfeeding, your body will need an extra five grams of protein and an extra 500mg of calcium per day. Try a frozen fruit and yogurt smoothie or a slice of whole-grain toast with cheese.
Go a little green
Try buying only organic, free-range beef, poultry, and produce whenever you go food shopping. They provide higher levels of important nutrients like vitamins A, D, and B as well as healthy fatty acids. Also, it’s possible that infants are more vulnerable to pesticides and toxins because their immune systems haven’t been fully developed yet.
Give up (or guzzle) caffeine
Less than 15 percent of the caffeine that you consume drinking your coffee or soda will pass into breast milk in about 15 minutes, so one to two cups a day are okay. But if baby seems irritable, you should cut down. Studies reveal poor feeding, interrupted sleep, irritability, and nervousness in infants whose mothers have had over 300 mg of caffeine per day.
Drink before the baby does
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so after a feeding. It clears from breast milk at a rate of one ounce per hour. Wait three hours for five ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. “Pumping and dumping” won’t speed it up.
Fill up on trans-fats
Trans-fatty acids can pass into your breast milk and interfere with baby’s ability to utilize healthy, essential fatty acids.
The Bump Expert: Christina Schmidt, nutrition educator and president of Baby Bistro Brands
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