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Breastfeeding your new baby can be a great bonding experience.
and won’t require any great changes in your diet.
You can still enjoy many of the foods you used to
but there are a few that you should avoid or limit.
By making your diet as healthy as you can, you can also help keep your baby’s diet healthy.
Avoiding Certain Foods
Don’t consume alcohol when your baby is feeding.
No amount of alcohol is acceptable or safe for your baby to consume.
Breastfeeding after you have had any alcoholic beverage will potentially transfer some of that alcohol to your baby, which is dangerous.
Always wait for your body to fully process and remove the alcohol before breastfeeding your baby.
Generally you will need to wait around two hours per drink before you can safely breastfeed again.
One drink is considered 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz or liquor.
You cannot “pump and dump” to remove the alcohol from your breast milk.
Only time will remove the alcohol from your body.
Never drink while you are caring for any baby.
Cut out any allergens that you notice.
Eating certain foods and then breastfeeding may cause an allergic reaction in your baby.
Carefully watch your baby for any signs of allergic reactions after breastfeeding.
If you notice any allergic reactions, think back to any foods you may have recently eaten or any new foods in your diet.
These foods will need to be removed from your diet.
The most common symptom of an allergic reaction can be found in your baby’s stool.
Any stool that is mucous-like, green, and blood-specked will indicate a potential allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions may also cause your baby to become fussy, develop a rash, get diarrhea, become constipated, or in some extreme cases may cause difficulty breathing.
If you notice any signs of allergic reaction, take your child to the pediatrician as soon as possible.
Common foods that may cause allergic reactions are peanuts, soy, wheat, cow’s milk, corn or eggs.
Keep a food diary to have an accurate list of what you have eaten recently.
This will allow you to discover which foods might be responsible for the allergy.
Learn your baby's preferences.
Your baby may simply not enjoy the taste that some foods can add to breast milk.
Food and drink that have naturally strong flavors or taste can transfer these flavors into breast milk, causing your baby to not want to eat.
Keep track of what you are eating and when your baby seems to react to learn which foods your baby doesn’t like.
Try keeping a food log so that you can more easily remember what you ate, when you ate it, and which foods you might want to stop eating.
Limiting Certain Foods
Watch the level of spice in your diet.
Eating spicy foods won’t cause any harm to your baby when you are breastfeeding.
However, some of that spicy flavor may transfer into your breast milk and your baby might not enjoy it as much as you do.
If you notice your baby becoming fussy or refusing to eat after you’ve eaten something spicy, try eliminating those spices from your diet.
Eat the right kinds of fish.
While fish can be a great addition to your diet, providing omega-3 fatty acids and protein, some fish can also contain contaminants.
Eating these fish can cause contaminants, such as mercury, to enter your breast milk.
Since your baby will be extremely sensitive to these contaminants, you will want to avoid consuming large amounts of certain types of fish.
The main types of fish to avoid are tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish.
Eat no more than 6 ounces of fish a week.
Contaminants such as mercury can affect your baby’s nervous system.
Cut back on caffeine.
While the levels that can be found in breast milk are not considered to be harmful to your baby, they can still have an effect.
Babies who are consuming caffeine through breast milk can have difficulty sleeping or become agitated.
Limit the amount of caffeine that you drink daily to keep it out of your breast milk.
Do not drink more than 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day.
Monitor your intake of certain vegetables.
Some vegetables can cause adults to become gassy.
If you are eating these and breast feeding, it may also lead to your baby becoming gassy.
Watch you baby for signs of excessive gas and try to avoid eating any foods that may be causing it.
Keep an eye out for some known foods that can cause excess gas:
- Chewing Gums
- Whole-grain foods
Learning What To Eat
Get enough fruits and vegetables.
Getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet can be a great way to improve your own health as well as the quality of your breast milk.
Eating certain vegetables and fruits can be a great way to get iron, protein and calcium.
Eat around 2 to 4 servings of fruit everyday.
Get 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day in your diet.
Make sure proteins are a part of your diet.
Getting enough protein in your diet is important if you are breast feeding your baby.
You will need to make sure that you are getting the right amount of protein in your daily diet to keep your baby’s diet balanced and healthy.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese can provide protein, as well as calcium.
Lean meat, chicken, or fish are good sources of protein.
Legumes, lentils, seeds and nuts are good plant based sources of protein.
Breast feeding can cause women to feel dehydrated or thirsty.
It is important that you are drinking enough fluids every day to stay hydrated.
Drink enough water to satisfy feelings of thirst, without feeling like you are forcing extra hydration.
On average women should drink around 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water every day.
Women who are breastfeeding may need to increase this amount.
Water, juice, soup and skim-milk are healthy choices that can hydrate.
Try to drink around 8 cups of water per day.
Avoid sugary drinks such as soda or juices with sugar added.
Eat the right amount.
You will need to eat the appropriate amount of food during the time you are breastfeeding.
In addition to eating an amount of food that will allow you to maintain a healthy weight, you will need some extra calories to maintain energy while breastfeeding.
For the first 6 months of your baby’s life, you will need around 500 to 600 extra calories a day.
Try adding supplements to your diet.
Generally it is recommended that you add dietary supplements to your daily diet.
This can help ensure that you are getting proper nutrition during the time you are breastfeeding and provide the healthiest milk for your baby.
Vitamin B-12 is important in the development of your baby’s brain.
Vitamin D is critical in building strong bones and avoiding rickets in your baby.