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Having a Baby - Breastfeeding
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

There are no strict rules about what you should and should not eat while breastfeeding. Eating foods you normally enjoy is the best approach. Eat as well as you can. Try these simple healthy suggestions:

  • Eat frequent small meals and snacks (every three to four hours).
  • Eat foods high in protein, calcium and fiber.
  • Drink enough fluids to keep the color of your urine pale yellow. Drinking water and other fluids will keep you hydrated, but it will not increase your milk supply. The only way to increase your milk supply is to take more milk from your breasts each day by either breastfeeding more often or by expressing milk by hand or pump.
  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamins.
  • Enjoy all foods in moderation.

Healthy snack ideas:

Raw veggies with yogurt dip  
Bagel with cream cheese
Low-fat frozen yogurt
Fresh fruit 
Low-fat yogurt
Low-fat string cheese
Tuna sandwich
Hard boiled eggs
Low-fat milk and cereal
Dried fruit and nuts
Fresh fruit milk shakes (smoothies)
Peanut butter on whole grain bread or celery sticks

Note: It is safe to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week while breastfeeding, but it is best to give your body six weeks to recover from birth before actively trying to lose weight. Talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise or weight-loss program.

Are there any foods I should avoid while I am breastfeeding?

  • There are some "old wives tales" about foods you shouldn't eat while breastfeeding. In truth, most foods are fine as long as you eat them in moderate amounts. Your baby has already tasted your diet by "drinking" amniotic fluid while in the womb.
  • A few babies may be sensitive to a certain food you eat. If you think your diet is making the baby fussy, call the Warm Line (1-800–711-7011) for advice.
  • Caffeinated drinks, in moderation, are safe, but more than five 5-ounce cups of coffee a day may make your baby awake and fussy.
  • Once you have finished your pain medication, you may have one glass of wine or beer on occasion. Nurse your baby, then have an alcoholic drink with a meal. You will be able to nurse two to three hours later.
  • Enjoy chocolate in moderate amounts.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Health advises breastfeeding mothers eat no more than 6 ounces of light tuna (canned or fresh) each week. In addition, you should also avoid swordfish, shark, bluefish, striped bass, and freshwater fish caught in Rhode Island waters (except stocked trout). For more information, go to www.health.ri.gov/healthrisks/poisoning/mercury/about/fish/.
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