Guidelines for Eating while Breastfeeding

Do I need to maintain a perfect diet while breastfeeding?
The short answer to this question IS NO – you do not need to maintain a perfect diet in order to provide quality milk for your baby. In fact, research tells us that the quality of a mother‘s diet has little Influence on her milk. Nature is very forgiving – mother’s milk is designed to provide for and protect baby even m times of hardship and famine. A poor is more likely to affect the mother than her breastfed baby.

It’s common to hear women say that they want to wean (or not breastfeed at all) because they miss drinking coffee, or want to have an occasional glass of wine, or don‘t like worrying constantly about everything they eat. Guess what? You can drink caffeinated beverages (in moderation), have an occasional drink, eat what you want, and still provide your baby with the absolute best nutrition and immunological protection – mother’s own milk.

Are healthy eating habits recommended for mom?
Absolutely! You will be healthier and feel better if you eat well. It is best for anyone to eat a variety of foods close to their naturally occurring state. However, this is not necessary to provide quality milk or to maintain milk supply.

Although it is certainly not recommended, a breastfeeding mother could live on a diet of junk food – mom would not thrive on that diet but her milk would still meet her baby’s needs.

What IS needed for maintaining an ample supply of milk?
The main thing needed to maintain an ample milk supply is simple – The more often and effectively your baby nurses, the more milk you will have. Occasionally, a mother’s calorie or fluid intake can affect milk production.

Calories: In general, you should simply listen to your body and eat to appetite- this is usually all you need to do to get the calories you need. Counting calories is rarely necessary unless you are having problems maintaining a healthy weight. Excessive dieting can reduce milk supply, but sensible dieting is generally not a problem.

Liquids: It is not necessary to force fluids; drinking to satisfy thirst is sufficient for most mothers. Unless you are severely dehydrated, drinking extra fluids is not beneficial. It may cause discomfort and does not increase milk supply. It is not necessary to drink only water – our bodies can utilize the water from any fluid.
The main message on calories and fluids – Eat when hungry & drink when thirsty.

Do nursing mothers need to take vitamin/mineral supplements?
Although not essential if you are eating a well balanced diet. It is a good idea to continue to take a prenatal vitamin daily while nursing. Also if your diet does not contain oily whole fish (sardines. cod liver) a multi omega vitamin (DHA. EPA) is highly recommended.

Are there any foods that I should avoid while I‘m breastfeeding?
There are NO foods that you should avoid simply because you are breastfeeding other than fish high in mercury. It is generally recommended that a nursing mother eat whatever she likes, whenever she likes, in the amounts that she likes and continue to do this unless baby has an obvious reaction to a particular food. There are many myths surrounding certain foods including but not limited to gassy vegetables causing gas in baby and spicy foods making baby uncomfortable. These are not true. Foods can flavor milk but not make it spicy or gassy.