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Eating well while breastfeeding

It’s important to keep up the varied and healthy breastfeeding diet you were following during pregnancy.

 

Making breast milk to satisfy a hungry newborn is hard work and uses up a lot of energy – about 500 calories a day. So try to eat a little more than normal. If you under-eat, your body will still make good quality milk, but you’ll feel sapped of energy. It can also slow down your body’s recovery from labour.

Your breastfeeding diet - getting enough to eat


Try to have one or two high energy snacks during the day, as well as your three main meals. Maybe try a ham or chicken sandwich, cheese on toast, or dried fruit and nuts (as long as you don’t have a family history of food peanut allergies)? Yoghurt, cereal or fresh soups are good choices too.

Iron-rich foods


You may need to take iron supplement tablets if you discover you have low iron levels – they really help reduce tiredness. You could also add iron-rich foods to your breastfeeding diet, like red meat, fortified cereals, well-cooked egg yolk and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from eggs, vegetables and cereals, so don’t forget to include foods such as potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppers.

Foods to eat in moderation


It’s thought that some foods can cause problems for babies when passed on through breast milk. These include: too much gas, colic symptoms and even diarrhoea. The common culprits are tomatoes, excessive citrus juice or fruit, garlic and raw onion, cabbage and brussels sprouts, strawberries, mushrooms, fizzy drinks, spicy food, chocolate and all kinds of beans. You shouldn’t cut them all out completely, just eat them in moderation and only exclude them if you think they are causing your baby a problem.

 

Sometimes, sensitivity to dairy foods can cause colic-type symptoms in your baby. If you are considering cutting out dairy foods for a while, ask advice from a Healthcare Professional first, to make sure you still get the vital nutrients you and your baby need.

 

Another good tip is to try and avoid too much caffeine in tea, coffee, cola and other soft drinks. Otherwise you could find yourself with a jittery and wakeful baby.

Feeling comfortable


It may help you to feel more confident if you practice at home first, without pillows and in different chairs. Try different types of clothing that can be easily unbuttoned, or a nursing top.

 

When you’re ready to try breastfeeding in public, get yourself settled into a comfortable chair with good support. If you think you’re going to feel self-conscious, sit with your back to the majority of people in the restaurant or café. A scarf or muslin cloth can help you feed more discreetly, too. Just slip it over any bare areas once your baby has latched on.

 

A good tip is to have a drink of water to hand – breastfeeding is thirsty work! Also, try and avoid sitting too near a heat source as it increases your body temperature.

 

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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