Your Nutritional Needs While Breastfeeding
Make sure you get enough nutrients ¿ not just more calories ¿ when you're breastfeeding your baby.
Do You Need Nutritional Supplements While Breastfeeding? continued...
As you probably already know, alcohol and pregnancy
are a dangerous mix. Surprisingly, however, the evidence is far less clear when
it comes to alcohol's effects during breastfeeding.
With studies on both sides of the fence -- some
showing it may increase the risk of problems, others failing to prove it --
it's not surprising that experts are divided on the subject.
As a result, breastfeeding moms should err on the side
of caution. Limit alcohol to one or two drinks occasionally, says Huotari.
"Until we know more, it's better to drink less," she says. Her advice
is also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you do decide to have a drink now and again, have
it right after you finish nursing, at least two hours before it's time
to nurse again. Two hours is the least amount of time it takes to eliminate
alcohol from the body.
If you do try nursing while alcohol is active in your
system, don't be surprised if you have difficulty "letting down"
(getting the milk to flow easily). One now-classic study published in 1992
reported that alcohol inhibits the production of oxytocin, a hormone that
encourages the flow of breast milk.
Nursing with alcohol in your body might also cause
your newborn to shy away from feeding. Huotari sites studies showing the scent
of alcohol can be detected in breast milk and might turn baby away from your
When it comes to caffeine and breastfeeding, many
doctors advise caution. The American Academy of Pediatrics points out that a
caffeine overload can cause the same symptoms in your baby as it does in you --
nervousness, edginess, irritability, and insomnia, as well as poor feeding
Indeed, because babies can't process caffeine as
quickly as moms, an overload can occur much faster in their systems than you
To reduce risks, pediatricians recommend you drink
fewer caffeinated beverages while nursing. Limit coffee, tea, colas, and
chocolate. If you notice your baby appears nervous or edgy after feeding,
consider cutting all caffeine from your diet.
Smoking and Breastfeeding: What You Should Know
Although you may have quit smoking while pregnant, you
could be eager to start again after baby is born. Experts say this is not a
good idea for a number of reasons.
First, whether you are breastfeeding or not, studies
show smoking around a newborn dramatically increases their risk of sudden
infant death syndrome (SIDS).
What's more, depending on how much you smoke, nicotine
and other harmful chemicals in cigarettes can head straight for your milk
supply, leaving your baby with a variety of ills.
"Essentially, anything that gets into your body,
gets into your breast milk. So whatever chemicals are in a cigarette are going
to end up in your baby's body," says Hanna.
Indeed, if you smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day, La
Leche League experts say your baby may have nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps,
At the same time you may have problems with milk
"let down" and reduced milk production, making it harder for baby to
If you're thinking of using a nicotine patch to tame
your cravings, the news is good: According to the textbook Medications and
Mother's Milk by Thomas W. Hale, PhD, RPh, the average daily dose of
nicotine in a patch is only about 17 mg, less than half of what you would get
in 20 cigarettes.