Your Nutritional Needs While Breastfeeding
Make sure you get enough nutrients ¿ not just more calories ¿ when you're breastfeeding your baby.
In addition, Hanna says it's also important to get
enough protein and fat in your diet. Aim for at least three to five servings (1
ounce each) of fat a day. These could be vegetable oils, butter, or even
This, she says, will help your body to make a good
supply of the super-fatty and satisfying "hind" milk that is expressed
during the later half of each feeding, Hanna says.
"In the end we are talking about eating a
balanced diet, with complex carbohydrates, protein, and fats, and with
as little sugar and sugary snacks as possible," says Hanna.
Among the most important nutrients you need while breastfeeding
is calcium -- a minimum of 1,000 mg daily is a must. While dairy foods are a
great source, you don't have to drink milk to make milk. To meet your
calcium needs, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests five daily servings
of any calcium-rich food, including low-fat yogurt and cheese, as well
as nondairy foods such as salmon, broccoli, sesame seeds, tofu, and
Do You Need Nutritional Supplements While Breastfeeding?
As long as you are eating a healthy, nutritious diet,
neither you nor your baby are likely to fall short of any vitamins or minerals.
If you also continue to take your prenatal vitamins after birth -- which many
obstetricians now recommend -- then you and your baby are in even better
The one supplement your baby mightneed is
vitamin D, necessary to absorb calcium into the bones, says Carol Huotari,
IBCLC, manager for the Center for Breastfeeding information at La Leche League
International in Schaumburg, Ill. Vitamin D is in breast milk, but in low
What can you do? The sun naturally converts
certain body chemicals tovitamin D, so Huotari suggests taking baby outside for
about a half hour each day. "If your baby gets about 20 minutes of sun
exposure on their cheeks once a day, then they are probably getting enough
vitamin D," she says.
But be careful about exposing your baby to too much sun, which
can cause sunburn and raise baby's risk of skin cancer in later life. If you're
uncertain about what to do, talk to your pediatrician about this issue, and ask
about the proper dose and type of vitamin D supplements for your baby. The
American Academy of Pediatrics advises daily drops of vitamin D for all
In addition, if you are a strict vegetarian, your
breast milk might be missing adequate stores of vitamin B-12. Ask your
pediatrician if your baby needs supplements of this nutrient as
Finally, while the water supply in most U.S.
cities and towns is boosted with fluoride -- a chemical that can help teeth and
nails grow strong -- the levels can be low in certain rural areas. As your
local water company how many parts per million of fluoride is in your drinking
water. If the level is below 3 ppm, ask your pediatrician if your baby should
take fluoride supplements after 6 months of age. Under 6 months old, your baby
should not take fluoride supplements, even if levels are low in your water