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What and how much you eat and drink will definitely affect how successful breastfeeding will be for you and your baby. Generally speaking, the breastfeeding diet is similar to the pregnancy diet with a few exceptions.
While breastfeeding, you should consume approximately 500 additional calories a day, which is slightly higher than the recommended 300 calories during pregnancy. These additional calories must be particularly nutrient-dense as your breastfeeding diet will need to include 20-50% more of most required vitamins and minerals.
An ideal breastfeeding diet should include:
- A variety of whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables.
- 30% of your calories should be in the form of fats as the growing baby relies on a variety of fats to be strong and vigorous. Examples of good sources are vegetable oils, cow's milk, dairy foods and meat.
- Get outside on a nice day to build up your vitamin D reserves.
- Consider a regular multivitamin that offers 50-100% of RDA, but void consuming large amounts of extra vitamins, as potential harm to your infant is possible.
- Water is also imperative for your body and milk supply; make sure you consume at least 8 cups of fluid every day.
- Avoid alcohol, as it transmits directly into the baby's system at the same concentration as in the mother's blood.
- Reduce caffeine as it can lead to agitation and sleep problems in a young baby.
- Avoid the consumption of food additives such as chemicals, nitrates, coloring agents, artificial sweeteners, trans-fatty acids and MSG as they have been shown to cause problems in a baby's system.
- Be particularly careful in your consumption of wild fish and check with the State Fish Advisory Board in your area.