While you are breastfeeding, it is important to maintain the healthy nutritional and lifestyle habits you had during pregnancy. Remember, it’s almost everything you put into your body also goes to your baby in your breast milk.

Eating Right

When you are pregnant, your body stores extra nutrients and fat to prepare for breastfeeding. The following tips will help you meet the nutritional goals needed for breastfeeding.

  • You need an extra 450-500 calories a day while breastfeeding. For a woman whose weight is in the normal range, this works out to be about 2,5oo total calories per day.
  • Eat a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry and seafood.
  • Your health care provider ma recommend that you continue to take your prenatal multivitamin supplement while you are breastfeeding. The baby’s health care provider may recommend that you give your baby 400 international units of vitamin D daily in drop form. This vitamin is essential for strong bones and teeth.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and drink more if your urine is dark yellow. It is a good idea to drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed.
  • Avoid foods that may cause stomach upset in your baby. Common culprits are gassy foods such as cabbage and spicy foods.
  • Drinking caffeine in moderate amounts should not affect your baby. A moderate amount of caffeine is about 200 milligrams a day, which is the amount in two to four cups brewed coffee. Remember that tea, chocolate and soft drinks also contain caffeine.
  • If you want to have an occasional alcoholic drink, wait at least two hours after you drink to breastfeed.
  • Always check with your healthcare provider before taking prescription or over-the-counter medications to be sure they are safe to take while breastfeeding.

Storing Breast Milk

  • After pumping, you can refrigerate your milk. Store it in a cooler, or freeze it for later. You can store breast milk at room temperature for 3-4 hours (optimal) up to 6-8 hours.
  • Store breast milk in small amounts (2-4 ounces) to avoid waste. Store milk in a clean glass or BPA-free plastic bottle.
  • To thaw frozen breast milk, put the bottle or bag in a bowl of warm water. You also can let milk slowly thaw in the refrigerator. Do not use a microwave because it destroys the milk’s disease fighting  qualities and can scald you and your baby. Never refreeze milk that has been thawed.

Finally…

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Before giving birth, let your healthcare provider know of your desire to breastfeed so that you can get the support you need from the very start. Keep in mind that many new mothers have problems breastfeeding at first. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.