Thought you were done eating for two? Think again! Just like during pregnancy, you need to be nutritionally balanced to give your baby the right nutrients when you breastfeed. Like any nutritious diet, you need a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to supply nutrients to keep you and your baby feeling fuller, longer.
In order to get the right nutrients for you and your baby you should aim to eat daily:
- 3 servings of protein (meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, beans)
- 5 servings of calcium (milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, tofu)
- 1 or more servings of iron rich foods (meat, poultry, dried beans, dried fruit, egg yolks)
- 2 servings of Vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, cantaloupe, bell peppers, tomatoes, kiwi, cauliflower, cabbage)
- 3-4 servings of green leafy and yellow vegetables and fruits
- 1 or more servings of other fruits and vegetables
- 3 or more servings of whole grains and complex carbohydrates (oats, brown rice, anything labeled ‘whole grain and ‘whole wheat’)
- Small amounts of healthy fats (olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts, or seeds)
- 2-3 servings per week of Omega-3 (8-12 oz. of low mercury fish, like salmon or sardines)
Additionally, you should aim for about 8 cups of water a day. If you’re worried that you aren’t drinking enough water, you can drink a cup at every nursing session.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for you and your baby for healthy bones. We usually get Vitamin D from sun exposure, but if you live in a place that doesn’t get much sun, you may want to ask your doctor about taking Vitamin D supplements.
Foods to Avoid/Limit
- Excessive caffeine. One or two cups of coffee, tea, or soda a day won’t affect your baby. However, anything more than that may lead to both of you feeling jittery and may keep you and your baby up at night.
- High Mercury Fish. Avoid high mercury fish and limit tuna to 8-12 oz. a week of canned light tuna or no more than 4 oz. of albacore tuna.
- You can have a couple of alcoholic beverages a week, however it’s best if you do drink, drink after nursing and to wait at least 2 hours before beginning to nurse again.
Following these tips will keep and your baby healthier and satisfied! Mix it up from day to day to ensure you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need!