We are constantly being told about things we can and can't eat during pregnancy, but the diet changes go far beyond childbirth.
If you're breastfeeding, you're giving your baby wonderful nutrients that will promote his or her growth and health.
You are probably wondering about what foods and drinks are best for you while breastfeeding — and how your diet might affect your breast milk and your baby.
Well, we are here to answer all of your questions and lay down some facts about nutrition and diet while nursing.
What should I eat when I'm breastfeeding?
The recommended daily calorie intake for nursing women is about 330 calories more than what they consumed before pregnancy. It is important to gain those extra calories through healthy snacks and nutritious meals.
To get these extra calories, we suggest you opt for nutrient-rich choices, such as:
- a slice of whole-grain bread with peanut butter
- a medium banana or apple
- a small serving of yoghurt.
- lean meat
- dairy products
- beans and lentils
- seafood low in mercury.
Are there foods I should avoid while breastfeeding?
While you are nursing, all food should be consumed in moderation, with most mums being able to eat almost anything.
However, sometimes a baby will be fussy at the breast or gassy after you eat a particular food, so be aware of this.
Mothers have reported that babies most often object to the following:
- citrus fruits
- fruits with a laxative effect, such as cherries and prunes
Can I drink alcohol if I'm breastfeeding?
Listen, you've gone a full nine months without a drink, so it is important to know that the occasional drink won't harm you or your baby.
However, it's safest not to have more than one or two units of alcohol a week if you are breastfeeding.
Drinking more than two units of alcohol a day while you are breastfeeding may reduce your milk supply.
Two units of alcohol can be classed as:
- a small (125ml) glass of wine
- a pint of lager
- a bottle of alcopop
Can I lose weight while I'm breastfeeding?
Simple answer: yes.
You may have put on a bit of weight while you were pregnant, so losing some of this weight while you're breastfeeding is perfectly normal.
If you aim to lose about 1lb to 2lb a week, it shouldn't affect the amount or the quality of milk you make.
Can I drink tea and coffee if I'm breastfeeding?
As a rule, you should avoid having a lot of caffeinated drinks when you're breastfeeding.
It is recommended that breastfeeding mums have no more than about 200mg of caffeine a day. That's about two mugs of tea, or two mugs of instant coffee, or one mug of filter coffee, a day.
Any other tips? We'd love to hear them!