5 Questions from Nursing Mothers Answered

To the mom who is nursing a baby, hungry & exhausted all the time…

Now that you are breast feeding, you may be left with many questions about what you should and should not be eating, along with how much you should be eating. I will address some of the most common questions I get about a Nursing Mother’s diet as a certified lactation consultant.

  1. How Much Should I Be Eating??

In the first few weeks postpartum, a range of 2200 to 2700 calories per day is ideal for establishing Breastmilk Supply. After this, an extra 500 calories per day above pre-pregnancy intake is needed to maintain the Breast Milk supply that you have established. At a minimum, 1800 calories per day of a balanced diet should be consumed to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Websites such as the USDA’s Choosemyplate.gov can help guide you on portion sizes and servings.

**If you are nursing twins or Tandem Nursing, discuss this with your Lactation Consultant to determine your ideal caloric intake.

2. Do I need to be guzzling down gallons of water?

As a simple rule: Drink when you are thirsty.

Breast Milk Production increases your body’s fluid requirement, but there is no set number of ounces above the standard recommendation for adults ( 8 glasses of 8 ounces per day).

3. My baby does not sleep. I am exhausted and NEED my coffee — how much is safe?

Caffeine can be consumed in moderation.

Up to to 2 servings of caffeinated beverages per day (8 ounce cup of brewed coffee or a 12 ounce can of soda); daily intake should not exceed 300 mg per day.

**Caffeine will not decrease your milk supply.

4. Which Vitamins should I take? There are a million Vitamins at the store, I don’t know which one I need.

Nursing Mothers can continue to take Prenatal Vitamins during this time — no need to buy a new Multivitamin.

A study published in 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics ( AAP) found that Maternal consumption of 6400 IU of Vitamin D is a safe alternative to supplementing the baby. Most Prenatal Vitamins contain 400 IU of Vitamin D; if you decide to use this alternative to supplementing the baby, make sure you factor this in when buying additional supplements!

Vegans and Vegetarians may need to take additional Vitamin B12 if they are not obtaining it from fortified sources in the diet, i.e. Fortified Milks and Cereals.

5. Should I PUMP AND DUMP?

“I’m excited to go out on our first date night since I had the baby! If I have a glass of wine or drink a beer, do I need to “pump and dump” my milk as soon as I get home?”

No need to pump and dump! Once you are feeling neurologically normal — in other words, sober — you can safely nurse your baby.

I hope this post has been helpful for you as a nursing mother! If you have additional questions regarding your diet, please consult with your Physician and/or Lactation Professional. Stay tuned for my next post, where I cover Skin Care and Breastfeeding!

You can follow Abha on Instagram for a view on Motherhood from a pediatrician’s eyes.

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