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 unger. 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 frutis, 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 advice.
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 hisotry 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 n uts, 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 contian 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 thatn 600 mg. at a time and with foods high in vitamins C and D. Ask your physician what type of calcium supplement is better absorbed.
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 breastfgeeding 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 trct 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 inbabies 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.