After you deliver your baby, you may be trying to drop your pregnancy weight as quickly as you can. Yet if you are breastfeeding, it is very important you maintain a healthy diet to keep your milk supply plentiful and healthy for your baby.
Breast milk contains a special blend of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals specially tailored for your baby's needs. The ingredients in breast milk come from you and what you eat. This is why it's so important to eat well while breastfeeding.
- Increase your caloric intake. I know how that sounds; you want to lose weight, not gain it. While you were pregnant, you should have been taking in about 2,200-2,300 calories a day. When you are breastfeeding, you need to be taking in about 2,600-2,700 calories a day. All these extra calories are going into your breast milk, so you don't have to worry you're going to be putting on extra weight.
- Drink lots of water. You need to be drinking at least 8-10 glasses of healthy fluids (mostly water) a day. Healthy fluids include fruit juice, milk and non-caffeinated teas. If you are having problems drinking this much, make sure you drink one glass of water each time you breastfeed your baby.
- Continue to take your prenatal vitamin. Your prenatal vitamin contains iron and calcium which are very important for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
- Continue to cut back on sweets, junk food and fast food. While you do not have to be as vigilant against junk food as you did while you were pregnant, you should still be watching your junk food intake. It is also important you continue to eat plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. If you can afford organic products, you may want to make the switch.
- Try not to drink too much alcohol. While you couldn't drink anything while you pregnant, an occasional glass of wine or beer is fine while breastfeeding. However, alcohol does pass through your breast milk to your baby, so extreme moderation is the key here. If you do drink a great deal of alcohol one evening, you should 'pump and dump' for about twelve hours. This means you should pump your milk and throw it away.
- While breastfeeding you should not smoke or do other recreational substances, including marijuana.