Eating tips for breastfeeding mums

Friday, October 15, 2004

Breastfeeding mums need more kilojoules than bottle feeding mums – an extra 2500 kilojoules (that’s 600 calories) per day, in fact! Producing milk uses up a lot of energy – which explains why nursing mums often lose the fat built up during pregnancy faster than those who bottle feed.

The extra kilojoules you need when nursing should come from nutritious snacks like yogurt, MILO with reduced fat milk, fruit (fresh, canned or dried) and wholegrain sandwiches with fillings like canned tuna, salmon, sardines, baked beans, hummus, reduced fat cheese and salad.

There are some extra goodies you need when you are breastfeeding.

  • Protein – an extra 16g of protein is needed each day for the first six months of lactation. This is equivalent to either 65g of cheese, meat, poultry or fish, or 2 large eggs.
  • Calcium – in order to keep your calcium stores in tact, you need an extra 400mg of calcium a day (on top of the usual 800mg of calcium). The additional 400mg of calcium can be found in either a large glass of milk, a 300g serve of yogurt, or two slices of cheese.
  • Zinc – you need an extra 6mg of zinc each day when lactating. The best sources of zinc include seafood and lean red meat, so include a variety in your daily diet.
  • Vitamin C – the Vitamin C content of human milk can fall if your own intake of Vitamin C is low. Therefore, an extra 45mg of Vitamin C is needed every day. This can be achieved by having an extra piece of fruit each day.

Keep your fluids up by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Being well hydrated will help your supply of milk for your baby. Aim for around 1 1/2 to 2 litres of fluid every day (or more if you feel the need).

Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and medications pass from your blood into your breast milk. Keep a watch on the number of caffeinated drinks (e.g. coffee, tea, cola drinks) you have and limit or abstain from alcohol. If you wish to have an alcoholic drink, have it immediately after you have breastfed your baby to minimise the amount that passes into your breast milk.

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