For mothers who count calories it is recommended that you eat about 2700
calories per day. Many women actually consume less -- about 2200
calories per day. If your activity level is high, you will need more
calories to maintain your energy level and not feel tired. We suggest
that you eat to satisfy your hunger. Some women like to eat 2
well-balanced meals a day plus a snack before bed. Other women can't
find the time to sit for a meal and prefer very frequent smaller meals
to satisfy their hunger. Choose foods that will keep your energy level
and help you resist illness. Fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains
and brans, protein in meats and fish are all excellent choices.
Eating a variety of foods will give your baby a variety of flavors in
your breast milk. Eat the foods that YOU tolerate well, avoid the foods
that you do not tolerate. Occasionally, babies have difficulty with the
foods that mothers eat. If you baby is very gassy and crampy for
extended periods throughout the day, call a lactation consultant for
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are recommended to limit their intake
of any fish that is high in mercury.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently recommends that all
pregnant and breastfeeding women limit their intake of high mercury
fish. These fish include: tuna (fresh and canned), swordfish, shark,
mackerel, golden and white snapper.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends avoiding the fish on
the ePA list and adds tilefish to be avoided.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding the fish on
the EPA list and adds: sea bass, gulf coast oysters, marlin, halibut,
pike, walleye white croaker, and largemouth bass.
The EPA also recommends that children under 25 lbs. limit their intake
of the fish on their list.
Discuss this information with your physician.
Peanuts and Tree Nuts
Current research is suggesting that breastfeeding mothers with a family
history of any food allergy avoid all peanuts and tree nuts while
breastfeeding due to the increasing incidence of severe peanut allergy
in children. Standard tree nuts include: almonds, cashews, pecans and
walnuts. This research also recommends that children who have a family
history of any food allergy should avoid milk and eggs until 1 year of
age and peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shell fish until 3 years of age.
(Discuss these suggestions with your physician).
Drink enough liquids to satisfy your thirst. Observe your urine. Urine
should be pale and clear. Drink more liquids if your urine looks
concentrated or dark yellow/gold in color. Some nutritious sources of
liquids are: milk, fruit and vegetable juices, bouillon, soups and
non-caffeine teas. We recommend that you sip 1-2 large glasses of water
during each breastfeeding session.
Limit beverages and foods containing caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant
and may cause your baby to be wakeful and alert when you want your baby
to be quiet and restful. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, many sodas contain
caffeine in various amounts. Drink these beverages earlier in your day
rather than later. If your baby is very sensitive to your caffeine
intake, limit caffeine to the mornings or avoid altogether. Remember,
chocolate candies and desserts also contain caffeine.
Though lactation places and increased demand on your body for calcium,
absorption of calcium from your intestines is most efficient during
lactation. You will need about 1300 mg. daily. Listed below are foods
that are an excellent source of calcium. You may choose your calcium in
supplement form. If you choose calcium supplements, it is recommended
that you take no more than 600 mg. at a time and with foods high in
vitamins C and D. Ask your physician what type of calcium supplement is
Best Sources of Calcium
Orange Juice w/ Calcium
Monterrey Jack cheese
1 med. stalk
1/8 of 14" pie
Finish any leftover prenatal vitamins then discuss with your physician
or nutritionist if your diet needs to be supplemented with vitamins.
Eating a well-balanced diet is the most economical way to produce
adequate breast milk. If you choose to take a vitamin supplement, an
inexpensive over the counter multivitamin is sufficient. Foods high in B
vitamins will help you fight stress and fatigue. Most physicians will
start baby on vitamins and fluoride supplements if needed at about 6
months. Discuss any concerns with your physician.
The Best Sources of B Complex Vitamins
Chicken, white meat
Egg hard cooked
Flour whole wheat
Kidney beans, dried
Navy beans, dried
Rice, brown, raw
Wheat germ, toasted
You will need to replenish your iron stores after delivering your baby.
Choose from the following list, foods you enjoy that are high in iron.
The Best Food Sources of Iron
Ground beef, lean
Lima beans, dried & cooked
Turkey, dark mean
Turkey, white meat
Chicken, white meat
Endive or Escarole
Some medications may be passed through your breast milk to your baby. If
you require medication for illness, remind your physician that you are a
breastfeeding mother and wish to continue breastfeeding your baby
Request a medication that is safe while nursing. If you have any
concerns or questions concerning a certain medication, contact a
lactation consultant for the newest information on a specific drug and
its safety with breastfeeding. Some drugs can be timed when you take
them to limite the amount of the drug that passes through to your baby
in your breast milk. Another source to contact for drug information and
safety with breastfeeding is your baby's physician. Acetaminophen
(Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil Motrin) are considered safe to take while
you are breastfeeding, if tolerated by the mother -- both are used to
treat babies who are ill. Follow the package information on dosage or
call your physician for advice.
Nicotine, absorbed through your system during smoking, may decrease your
milk production and interfere with your letdown response resulting in an
inadequate milk supply and a hungry, unhappy baby. Second-hand smoke
inhaled by your baby will irritate his/her respiratory tract and make
you baby prone to respiratory infections and increases the risk of SIDS
(sudden infant death syndrome). If you are unable to "kick the habit"
while pregnant or breastfeeding, please smoke after breastfeeding and
outside your home. Consider trying nicotine patches which are considered
a safer substitute than smoking while breastfeeding.
The routine use of alcohol during breastfeeding is not recommended.
Alcohol passes quickly into your blood supply and rapidly into your
breast milk. If you would like to have occasional and limited use of
alcohol, please discuss this with your baby's physician. The effects on
your baby are directly related to the amount of alcohol that you drink.
Slow weigh gain and failure to thrive can result in babies whose mothers
routinely abuse alcohol.
Recreational drugs are illegal. If used by a breastfeeding mother, these
drugs will pass into the breast milk to your baby. The effects on your
baby can be fatal, even with infrequent use. If this is a concern that
you have, please discuss with your physician.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.