Basically, I'm going to talk about “diet” in two senses of the word. "Diet", in terms of the specific foods you eat and the impact they may have on breastfeeding. We will be discussing "Dieting", in terms of losing weight safely while nursing, in the next post.
CAN I EAT THIS?
Here is a breakdown of the common kinds of foods nursing mothers have questions about: tinyurl.com/8auun
If you have a question about a specific food, click the URL. If not, here's the basic answer to your question:
Yes, you can eat it.
There is no food or list of foods that a nursing mother should avoid simply because she is nursing. In general, mothers can enjoy anything they like to eat and should eat what they like when they are hungry.
It is true that some babies will develop food sensitivities, particularly when they are very young, but each situation will be different. What bothers one baby may not bother another, even another “sensitive” baby.
It can be difficult to determine whether a baby is reacting to something in your diet. Fussiness and gassiness are perfectly normal. The mother's diet is often made a culprit when a baby is doing exactly what babies normally do. To identify a food allergy or sensitivity, you need more. Here are a few things to watch for:
Skin rashes (for example, a sandpaper-like raised red rash on the face), eczema, hives Runny nose, stuffiness, constant cold-type symptoms Red itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, dark circles under the eyes, constant tearing Diarrhea, mucousy stools, intestinal upset A red rash around the anus Generally cranky behavior, fussiness, irritability, colic Vomiting or increased spitting-up Asthma Ear infections Poor weight gain due to malabsorption of food
The following article is a very good overview of when and how to deal with a food problem:
I encourage you to at least skim through it before your baby comes and to read it thoroughly if, after the baby arrives, you think there is a problem. It goes into what to look for, how to figure out which food is to blame, and gives suggestions for which foods are the most common culprits.
This one talks about gas in newborns. It is very normal for your baby to be gassy, especially at night. I highly encourage you to read it so you know what to expect and so you don't needlessly turn your diet upside down to try to counteract normal gas problems. Frankly, the list of foods that could cause gas is endless and you may never get to the bottom of it. The article above is a pretty quick read and should answer all your questions about baby gas and what to do about it.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
You should eat healthy foods from the five food groups when you are hungry. If you LISTEN to your body it should tell you when you need to eat. Many women have forgotten this skill (Raises hand!) but if we try to get back in touch with our bodies and really listen, we can stop being slaves to charts and calorie counts.
The truth is that you don't even need the same number of calories every day. While breastfeeding, you may need more while your baby goes through a growth spurt. Charts can't tell you that – but your body can.
If you want references, I offer two. First, “Secrets of Feeing a Healthy Family” by Ellen Satter. I also recommended “Child of Mine” earlier. These books overlap a lot, but I found the Healthy Family book spoke to me personally and really convinced me, as nothing else ever has, to stop counting calories.
If you absolutely HAVE to have some calorie recommendations, the above article gives you some, but it, too, discourages using this method.
Drink when you are thirsty. Just as your body tells you when it needs to eat, it tells you when you need to drink. PAY ATTENTION! Busy moms can ignore these signals. It's best to keep a big cup of water nearby while you care for your baby so that you can easily drink while nursing or holding the baby.
Water is very important while breastfeeding, but adding losing weight on top of that, and it ups just how important it is!
Adults need half as much water as infants - between 1/2 to 3/4 ounces of water per pound per day, depending on the amount of exercise, heat loss, illness, etc. A 120-pound woman should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day. Be sure to get an extra glass of water for every 20 minutes of physical activity. Here is an awesome site to explain
I would like to give a sweet mama from babyfit a special thank you for giving me permission to use her info. Thank you Christine Amsden!! Also, I want to invite you all to look at her new website! www.christineamsden.com
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