If you are
breast-feeding, you should eat 500 calories more each
day than otherwise recommended for a person of your height and weight. You
may need even more calories if you:
Are very active.
Begin to lose weight
Are breast-feeding more than one infant.
Good nutrition for you and your baby
Eating a variety of foods can help you get all the nutrients you need. Your body needs protein, carbohydrate, and fats for energy. Good sources of nutrients are:
Unsaturated fats like olive and canola oil, nuts, and fish.
Carbohydrate from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), and low-fat milk products.
Lean protein such as all types of fish, poultry without skin, low-fat milk products, and legumes.
Eating healthy foods when you are breast-feeding is good for your overall health and for the health of your baby. You may already have a healthy diet, or you may need to make some changes to eat healthier.
Some health professionals recommend a prenatal vitamin supplement to breast-feeding women, especially for those who:
Don't eat dairy products but need extra
Don't eat animal products. These women may need calcium,
vitamins B12 and D, zinc, and iron.
Are at risk of a poor diet,
such as teenagers, low-income women, and women who are consuming less than
1,800 calories a day. These women may benefit from nutritional counseling and
taking a vitamin and mineral supplement.
Talk to a nutritional counselor or registered dietitian or
to your doctor about a safe and healthy diet. For more information,
see the topic Healthy Eating.
How foods you eat affect breast milk and your baby
Most foods you eat probably won't affect your milk or cause colicky
symptoms in your baby. But some infants develop a sensitivity to the protein in
cow's milk. If this occurs, you may need to stop eating milk and dairy
If you drink a lot of caffeine, it can pass to your baby
through breast milk. Caffeine can cause irritability and sleep problems in
babies. Limiting your caffeine intake, such as having no more than 2 or 3
caffeinated beverages a day, will help. Caffeine is found not only in coffee
but also in tea, cola, and chocolate.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.