The Diet of a Breastfeeding Mom
Friday, August 31, 2012
Are there any diet restrictions that come with breastfeeding?
I am often asked by new parents about staying away from the foods that they were told to avoid during pregnancy. There really are no restrictions when it comes to what a breastfeeding mother should or shouldn’t eat. Like everyone, a well-balanced diet and “all things in moderation” usually works well for new moms. However, in addition to eating well, you should continue to take prenatal vitamins as long as you are breastfeeding.
On average, moms will need an extra 300-500 calories each day to make enough breast milk for their baby. Usually, eating about the same amount you did during pregnancy should be fine. On the plus side, many exclusively breastfeeding moms find that they lose weight while breastfeeding, even though they are consuming more calories a day.
Now that your baby is here, most of the things that were on the DON’T list during pregnancy are no longer restricted. Pregnant women are warned to avoid certain foods that could be dangerous for their baby, but you no longer need to worry about that. Some examples are:
- Uncooked vegetables and unpasteurized soft cheeses (and other unpasteurized dairy products) Uncooked food may carry bacteria called listeria. While pregnant women are warned not to indulge in these foods, breastfeeding moms don’t need to cut them from their diet.
While the risk for bacteria harming a fetus is high for pregnant moms, eating sushi from reputable restaurants is considered safe for a breastfeeding mom and baby.
While drinking caffeine isn’t off limits while breastfeeding, you should limit your intake. Any more than two or three cups of coffee a day may cause you or your baby to become irritable, jittery, or agitated, and can contribute to sleeping problems. Keep an eye on your baby’s behavior – if he/she seems to be bothered by the caffeine, you may want to cut it out of your diet for a while to see if that makes a difference.
Now that your pregnancy is over, you are free to eat what you are hungry for, drink to thirst and sit back and enjoy your body’s ability to make enough milk for your baby. Newborns require a lot of care and attention. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you are caring for your new bundle of joy.
What foods are you most excited to eat again? Share your thoughts with other moms.