Maternal Nutrition and Breastfeeding

Feeding Your Newborn - Maternal Nutrition and Breastfeeding

A mother's diet while breastfeeding

One of the most frequently asked questions from mothers who are breastfeeding or pumping milk to feed their babies is, "Do I need to be on a special diet?" In most cases, the answer is no. Women who are breastfeeding should eat a well-balanced diet and drink enough liquids. Although shedding those extra pounds gained during pregnancy may be one of your biggest concerns, strict weight-loss programs are not recommended, especially during the first few months of breastfeeding. There are no special diets a breastfeeding mother must eat, but the following suggestions may help you focus on your eating patterns while breastfeeding:

Other diet considerations while breastfeeding

Alcohol consumption and breastfeeding

Chronic, frequent consumption of alcohol may pose a problem to the baby's motor development. In addition, it can interfere with milk let-down (milk-ejection reflex), which may come as a surprise to mothers who've been told an alcoholic beverage will enhance milk let-down by helping them feel more relaxed. Perhaps the most important point is that alcohol use can affect a mother's ability to properly care for her baby.

Health conditions affecting mother's diet

A few maternal health conditions may have a direct or indirect effect on lactation. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:

If you ever have any questions about nutrition or healthy dieting when breastfeeding, contact your physician, a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), or a dietitian who specializes in perinatal nutrition.

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