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
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamin!
- Key nutrients are: protein, calcium, zinc, folic acid, and vitamins E and B6.
- Hydration is very important – make sure to have a large glass of water whenever you are nursing.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Fish recommendations remain the same from pregnancy
- Sugar substitute recommendations are the same from pregnancy
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.
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