Breastfeeding and your Diet

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lenny Montana

The fact that you’ve chosen to breastfeed means you’re concerned about your baby, and want the best for her. To be sure, bottle-fed babies can grow just as normally and healthy as a breastfed baby, but there are benefits to breastfeeding you’ve decided are best for you and your child. While you’re breastfeeding, though, you need to keep an eye on your own diet if you want your baby to get the nutrition she needs.

Here are some basic dietary principles to follow while you’re breastfeeding:

  • Eat to stay healthy. If you eat a healthy diet, your baby will get the nutrients he needs. Eat a balanced meal – just like you should if you aren’t breastfeeding. That’s the best way to insure that your baby gets what he needs to grow.
  • Don’t try to drop those pregnancy pounds quick. Slow and steady weight loss is always the best approach, breastfeeding or not. When you’re breastfeeding, you need enough extra calories to sustain your baby, so don’t get hung up on calorie counts. A balanced diet combined with exercise is the best way to drop that baby weight. And, by doing so slowly, you’re more likely to keep it off, too.
  • Watch out for alcohol. Alcohol can pass through breast milk. While an occasional glass of wine won’t hurt you or your baby, much more than that can cause issues.
  • Stay hydrated. The best way to keep up your milk supply and keep baby’s belly full is by taking in plenty of fluids yourself.
  • Consider nutritional supplements. There are vitamins and other nutritional supplements specifically designed to help the breastfeeding mom. Look into what’s out there, and consider adding in a supplement or two to help get baby what she needs.
  • Planning is key. Ultimately, good nutrition rests on planning. Design your meals to be balanced. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein, vegetables, good fats, and complex  carbohydrates. Try to avoid processed foods, fast food restaurant fare, and the kinds of low-nutrition food that’s all too common in our day.

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