Things You Can and Can't Eat When Breastfeeding

in Breastfeeding

When you are pregnant, it is easy to remember that you are "eating for two." What some mothers may overlook, however, is that as long as you are breastfeeding what you eat still directly impacts your child. Also, your diet can affect how their immune system develops and even what kinds of foods your child prefers as he grows older. The food and substances a mother chooses to ingest can affect the quality of breast milk. As long as you are breastfeeding you are still feeding two people and you will need to eat foods that keep you healthy and full of energy.

1. List of Foods Not to Eat When Breastfeeding

Alcohol

Drink alcohol while breastfeeding may cause problems to both the mother and baby. Mothers who drink can have a problem "letting down," or getting milk to flow easily, as alcohol affects the hormone that causes milk flow. Also, babies may detect the scent of alcohol in breast milk and refuse to nurse. WebMD.com states that mothers nursing should limit alcohol intake to one or two drinks occasionally and should wait at least two hours after an alcoholic drink to begin breastfeeding.

Caffeine

Caffeine can affect a baby the same way it affects an adult. WebMD.com writes that caffeine can cause symptoms of nervousness, edginess, irritability and insomnia in babies who ingest breast milk containing caffeine. Breastfeeding mothers should limit the amount of caffeine and consider cutting foods like coffee, cola and chocolate from their diet to reduce the risk of negatively affecting their babies.

Fish

Eat certain types of fish while breastfeeding can be dangerous, as some fish contain high levels of mercury. Mothers who are nursing should avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that mothers should limit their intake of canned, light tuna and other cooked fish, like salmon and rainbow trout, to 12 oz. a week.

Junk Food

Add empty calories to your diet from sugary snack foods will not help the mother or baby. Instead, complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, apples, berries and melons, are a healthy substitute for junk food. Breastfeeding mothers should also increase the amount of whole grains in their diets by eating whole-wheat bread and brown rice.

2. List of Foods Have to Eat When Breastfeeding

Eat lots of whole grains and cereals. Most doctors recommend these types of foods during pregnancy and you can continue your prenatal diet (minus the sweets if you are trying not to gain any more weight) while you are breastfeeding.

Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet for you means that your baby will also be well nourished. However, steer clear of broccoli and cabbage since they have been known to cause colic.

Make sure you are getting plenty of calcium, protein and iron. It is important for your health that you get enough vitamins and minerals. Your breast milk will sustain your baby, but if you do not maintain a balanced diet while breastfeeding then you will feel weak and lethargic.

Start a light exercise program. Since you will still be eating a fair amount, the pounds may not fall off the way you want them to. Daily exercise in conjunction with your healthy diet will help you get back to the weight that you want to be. However, you must continue to eat normally so that you will continue lactating.

Stay hydrated. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, and more if you feel thirsty beyond this.

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Things You Can and Can't Eat When Breastfeeding

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This article was published on 2010/09/27