Nursing mothers - self-care
BREASTFEEDING DAILY FOOD GUIDE
In general, breastfeeding women should eat a well-balanced, varied diet. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is not a substitute for healthy eating.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, calcium-rich dairy products, and protein-rich foods (meats, fish, and legumes). Make sure you are getting enough calories.
- Milk, yogurt, and cheese -- eat at least 4 servings
- Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts -- eat at least 3 servings
- Vegetables -- eat at least 3 to 5 servings
- Fruits -- eat 2 to 4 servings (choose two foods high in vitamin C and folic acid, and one food high in vitamin A)
- Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta -- eat about 6 to 11 servings
- Fats, oils, and sweets -- go easy!
You should be eating 5 servings of food that have plenty of calcium every day, including milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, broccoli, and tofu.
This is just a guide. You may need to eat more than this based on your size and activity level.
Nursing mothers need enough fluids to stay hydrated. Most experts recommend drinking enough fluids to satisfy thirst. Eight 8-ounce servings (64 ounces) of fluid such as water, milk, juice, or soup is a good goal.
Breastfeeding mothers can safely eat any foods they like. Some foods may flavor the breast milk, but babies rarely react to this. If your baby is fussy after you eat a certain food or spice, try avoiding that food for a while, then try it again later to see if it is a problem.
It is possible that some highly allergenic foods (strawberries, peanuts) may be passed into breast milk, increasing the risk of a later food allergy in the baby. If this is a concern, discuss food allergies with your pediatrician.
Review Date: 07/26/2010
Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital; and Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.