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Nutrition While Breastfeeding

Overview

If you are breastfeeding, your doctor may suggest that you eat more calories each day than otherwise recommended for a person of your height and weight.

Breastfeeding helps build the bond between you and your baby. It gives your baby excellent health benefits.

A healthy diet includes eating a variety of foods from the basic food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products (such as cheese and yogurt), and meat and dried beans. Eating well during breastfeeding will ensure that you stay healthy.

How can you have a healthy diet while breastfeeding?

Making good choices about what you eat and drink when you are breastfeeding can help you stay healthy. It can also help your baby stay healthy. Here are some things you can do.

Eat a variety of healthy foods.
This includes vegetables, fruits, milk products, whole grains, and protein.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Make water your first choice. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase your fluids.
Avoid fish with high mercury.
This includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and marlin. It also includes orange roughy, bigeye tuna, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, eat fish that is low in mercury. Choose canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, catfish, or shrimp.
Limit caffeine.
Things like coffee, tea, chocolate, and some sodas can contain caffeine. Caffeine can pass through breast milk to your baby. It may cause fussiness and sleep problems. Talk to your doctor about how much caffeine is safe for you.
Limit alcohol.
Alcohol can pass through breast milk to your baby. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
Be safe with supplements.
Talk with your doctor before taking any vitamins, minerals, and herbal or other dietary supplements.

Credits

Current as of: May 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology