Breastfeeding is hard work! Did you know that the exclusively breastfeeding mother uses up about 500 calories per day to produce milk? This means that new mothers should consume between 2100 and 2800 calories for the first 6 months after childbirth, and 2200 to 2800 calories for the remaining six months. Not sure where to start? Here are some creative ways to increase your calorie intake while maintaining a healthy lifestyle that will keep both you and your baby smiling!
Eat and Drink Healthily
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and a reasonable amount of fat to maintain a healthy source of calories. Also remember that breastfeeding drains your body of essential fluids! To compensate for this loss, try keeping a water bottle with you at all times, and check for signs of dehydration (like dark urine, and dry mouth).
Pro-Tip: Eating fish is an excellent way to satisfy your body’s need for healthy, omega-3 fatty acids!
All breastfeeding women should be sure to consume an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D. This is because calcium replenishes lost bone mass from pregnancy, and vitamin D aids in the body’s ability to absorb that calcium. These two vitamins can be found in food sources such as meat, chicken, fish, or dairy products. Both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers should take approximately 600 international units of vitamin D per cup, which can be satisfied by drinking Vitamin D-enriched milk or nutritional supplements. If you are a vegan, be sure to also take a B12 vitamin supplement for a well-balanced vitamin intake.
Pro-Tip: If you are anemic after pregnancy, also ask your doctor about adding iron supplements to your diet!
Pro-Tip: Ask your healthcare provider how to convert international units to milligrams.
While breastfeeding, it is vital that mothers remember to avoid or moderately consume the following substances: alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. When it comes to consuming alcohol, most believe that an average-weight woman should wait about two hours after consumption to breastfeed, since it takes about two hours for alcohol to leave your system. Caffeine intake isn’t as serious and affects breast milk less, but should still be consumed in general moderation (2-3 cups per day). However, mothers should certainly stay away from smoking any tobacco products when raising a newborn, as its exposure to the smoke can cause asthma, pneumonia, ear infections, bronchitis, and even death.
Only your doctor and paramedical professionals can give you the exact nutritional advice for your specific needs, but these guidelines should help keep you on track for a happy and healthy nursing. Download BBy – Milk Sharing in your app store and connect with the professionals at BBy at anytime and buy and sell breast milk for your little ones!