Breastfeeding Diet Breakdown

You now have an extra 500 calories per day in your diet, but you may be wondering what types of foods you should eat.  You certainly don’t want those 500 calories coming from an ice cream sundae daily.  Your nutrition now is very important.

Here’s what you need more of:

Protein: Make sure to have some source of protein with each meal and snack.  Most people don’t have to worry about their protein intake (even when breastfeeding) unless you eat a low protein diet or are vegetarian or vegan.  Foods high in protein are: poultry, beef, fish/shellfish, pork, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy.

Calcium: Low fat and fat free milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese.  Other foods that are high in calcium are calcium-fortified orange juice, tofu, leafy greens, canned salmon with bones, sardines and almonds.

Zinc: Plant and animal proteins, oysters and wheat germ.

Folic Acid: Beans and dark-green leafy vegetables

Vitamin E: Vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, and dark-green leafy vegetables

Vitamin B6: Meat, whole grain cereals, dark-green leafy vegetables, potatoes, and bananas

Vitamin C: Citrus fruit, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, kiwi, cauliflower and kale

Vitamin B12: Animal protein

Ribloflavin: Animal protein, mushrooms,dark-green leafy vegetables, and fortified grains

Vitamin A: Organ meat, fortified dairy products, dark-green leafy vegetables, deep yellow/orange colored fruits and vegetables

As you can see if you eat a varied diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat you will likely get all that you need and take your prenatal vitamin to fill in any gaps.


The Breastfeeding Diet

After giving birth you may think about going on a diet or cutting calories in order to lose the baby weight.  If you are breastfeeding it’s really important not to try to lose the weight too quickly otherwise you may compromise the quality and quantity of your breast milk.  Once breastfeeding, some women drop the weight very quickly and others hold on to the weight and have trouble dropping the rest until they stop breastfeeding.  Either way, know that your diet right now is very important so if you are not able to maintain a good diet with adequate calories then breastfeeding may not be right for you.

During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy you needed extra calories.  But guess what, while breastfeeding you have to keep those extra calories up or have even more!  Approximately an extra 500 calories are needed while breastfeeding.  And those calories shouldn’t come from junk (a little is ok).  You want to make the quality of your diet as good as possible.

Guess what?  You can now say hello to: sushi, deli meats, unpasteurized cheeses, runny yolks and sprouts!

Things to Keep in Mind While Breastfeeding

For Baby: The only supplement your baby needs while breastfeeding is 400IU of vitamin D.  This is essential since the mother’s milk does not provide enough vitamin D.

Many women miss alcohol during their pregnancy, so it’s ok to have some while you are breastfeeding.  Try to have the drink right after your nurse.  I really enjoy a glass of wine now and then.  Right now I feed Hannah around 7pm and she goes to bed by 8pm.  We have dinner once we put her down for the night and it works perfectly to have a glass of wine with dinner since I just fed her.  It’s a great way to relax and unwind (not every night though!).  If you still feel the effects of the alcohol then it’s best not to nurse and instead pump and dump the milk.

Next Post: Breastfeeding Diet Breakdown

To Breastfeed or Not

As a new mom I’ve learned how much pressure new moms feel to breastfeed.  As a dietitian breastfeeding was something I always wanted to do since I know how great it is for mom and baby.  However, it does not always go as smoothly as everyone hopes.  Luckily, Hannah is a good eater and we haven’t had any issues thus far.

The pros of breastfeeding for baby:

  • optimal nutrition
  • it’s easy for the baby to digest
  • strong immune component for baby
  • reduced risk of respiratory infection, gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, hypercholesteremia and childhood lukemia
  • reduced rates of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • promotes bonding with mother
  • reduced rates of allergies and intolerances
  • helps promote proper jaw and teeth development
  • may increase intelligence and school performance through adolescence

The pros of breastfeeding for mom:

  • it’s free and doesn’t involve any preparation
  • promotes strong bond with baby
  • helps shrink uterus
  • helps mom return to pre-pregnancy size sooner
  • reduces postpartum bleeding
  • decreased risk for: type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression
  • improved bone density

Even though there are so many benefits of breastfeeding it does not mean that formula is bad!  You have to make the right choice for your own lifestyle, comfort level and medical situation.  Some women just don’t produce enough milk.  Some babies are not able to latch on properly.  Some women are not around their babies enough to do so and pumping may not be realistic.  Whatever your reason is, it’s important not to feel guilty if you are not able to breastfeed.

Since I have returned to work part-time I pump enough milk to provide Hannah with breast milk even when I’m not home.  I also give her bottles when we’re out in public which makes me more comfortable.  Again you have to do what is right for YOU!  This has been working really well for us and I hope to continue doing this till she is at least 6 months and I’ll evaluate at that point whether I want to continue or not.

Coming up in my next post:  The breastfeeding diet!

I’ll leave you with a couple photos from our recent trip to Bermuda.