Your Breastfeeding Nutrition Questions, Answered

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Breastfeeding benefits abound for both you and your baby. To ensure an adequate milk supply that’s nourishing for your little one, keep these breastfeeding nutrition tips in mind.

How many extra calories do I need while breastfeeding?
While breastfeeding and pumping, you need to add only about 400 to 500 calories to your pre pregnancy daily diet, according to Boston Children’s Hospital. Also essential to breastfeeding nutrition? Well-balanced meals of meats, beans, vegetables, fruit, grains and dairy.

Do I need to drink extra liquid while breastfeeding?
Drink at least eight glasses of water a daily, as well as juice, milk or soup throughout the day. Lactation experts suggest drinking an eight-ounce glass of water each time you sit down to nurse or pump.

Can I have caffeine or alcohol while breastfeeding?
Keep in mind that your drinking caffeine or small amounts of alcohol—a glass of wine or a beer—will not be harmful to your breastfed baby, though it may cause some fussiness. If you’re concerned about alcohol’s effect, breastfeed your baby, or pump, before you have a drink, and it will probably be out of your system by the next feeding time. If a woman is very intoxicated (and drinking this much is not recommended for nursing moms), she should give her baby pumped milk until she is completely sober, advises La Leche League.

Is it OK to lose my pregnancy weight while breastfeeding?
Yes—and it’ll probably happen naturally, since your body is expending more energy to produce milk for your baby. In fact, breastfeeding women will lose anywhere from 1 to 4 pounds per month without cutting calories, says the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

By Nicole Gregory

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