After birth, your baby still relies on you for nutrients. Without the umbilical cord, it’s a little less immediate, but what you eat mostly determines what you’re giving your baby.
Eating for Two
- Instead of 3 large meals, try to eat 5-6 small meals or snacks each day.
- Since the baby will be waking and sleeping at odd hours, many women find this fits their schedule better anyway.
- You need 200-300 more calories per day than what you ate while pregnant.
- This isn’t a lot of additional food. You can fill these calories easily by:
- Adding an extra cup of milk and half a sandwich
- Grabbing a handful of almond and a slice or two of cheese
- Spreading some apple slices with peanut butter
Can I lose weight and eat like this?
- Nursing a child requires a lot of energy, the same as running about 4-5 miles/day!
- Most women who breastfeed while maintaining a healthy diet will continue to lose ½ to 1 pound per week.
Getting the Right Nutrients
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamin each day! You and your growing baby need the vitamins and minerals it contains.
- Building muscle: Get at least three servings of protein per day. Good sources include:
- Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, nuts, lentils, soybeans, and beans.
- Strong bones: Try to get 1200-1500 mg of calcium rich dairy per day. If you can’t reach the recommended amount with diet alone, take calcium supplements. Good sources include:
- Cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, calcium fortified juice, sardines, almonds, and green leafy vegetables.
- The green stuff: Eat 2 servings of fruits and 4-5 servings of vegetables per day. Be careful with fruit juice, it’s high in sugar – even 100% juice. Limit your intake to 1 glass per day and opt for whole fruits with more fiber, which helps with any constipation.
- Carb-lover: Eat 6 to 9 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta per day. One serving isn’t a whole box of mac and cheese, unfortunately. It’s relatively small, equal to ½ cup of rice, beans or pasta or 1 slice of bread or a ½ of a flour tortilla.
- Fats and oils: 4 servings are recommended per day. Many foods contain some fat, but a serving is 1 tablespoon of oil, mayonnaise, butter, or peanut butter.
- Hydration is key! Pay close attention to your water consumption and aim for at least 8-12 glasses per day.
For more information on Breastfeeding be sure to check out my new book, Nurse Barb’s Personal Guide to Breastfeeding, now out on Amazon.