Many breastfeeding moms have questions. Do you need to avoid certain foods? Will physical activity affect how much breastmilk you make? Will the medicine you take affect your baby? Can you drink alcohol? Learn the answers to these questions and more.
Many new mothers wonder if they should avoid certain foods while breastfeeding, but the answer is no. For most breastfeeding moms, there are no foods you have to avoid. But you may find that some foods cause stomach upset in your baby.
Watch your baby for the symptoms listed below, which could mean your baby has an allergy or sensitivity to something you eat:
Talk to your child's doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. If your baby ever has problems breathing, call 102 or go to your nearest emergency room.
If your baby is sensitive to a food you're eating, such as cow's milk, you may notice these signs of a reaction right away or several hours after breastfeeding. The symptoms may last up to a day.
Write down what foods you eat and when you notice the symptoms in your baby to help you find out what foods are causing your baby's symptoms. You can then not eat these foods for two or three weeks to see if your baby's symptoms go away. Once you stop eating the problem food, your baby's symptoms should go away in one to two weeks. You may find that after a few months, when your baby is older, you can eat the food again without your baby having any symptoms.
To eat healthy while breastfeeding:
The short answer is no. When your baby gets all of his or her food from breastfeeding, the baby also gets what you eat, drink, and breathe. If you wouldn't want your baby to smoke, drink, or do drugs then you should not smoke, drink too much, or do drugs while pregnant or breastfeeding.
No. But babies can be sensitive to some foods you may eat. Research shows that what you eat affects your milk only slightly. Babies love the flavors of foods that come through the milk. Sometimes a baby may be sensitive to something the mother eats, such as eggs or milk and cheese.
Maybe. Vitamin D is needed to build strong bones. All infants and children should get at least 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day.
To meet this need, your child's doctor may recommend that you give your baby a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU each day. This should start in the first few days of life. You can buy vitamin D supplements for infants at a drugstore or grocery store.
Even though sunlight is a major source of vitamin D, it is hard to measure how much sunlight your baby gets, and sun exposure can be harmful. Once your baby is weaned from breastmilk, talk to your baby's doctor about whether your baby still needs vitamin D supplements. Some children do not get enough vitamin D from the food they eat.
If you follow a vegan diet or one that does not include any forms of animal protein, you or your baby might not get enough vitamin B12.
In a baby, B12 deficiency can cause symptoms such as:
You can protect your and your baby's health by taking vitamin B12 supplements while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about your vitamin B12 needs.
An active lifestyle helps you stay healthy, feel better, and have more energy. It does not affect the quality or quantity of your breastmilk or your baby's growth.
Follow these tips to help you be more comfortable when working out while breastfeeding:
Yes. Stress can make you more likely to get sick or have trouble sleeping, stomach problems, headaches, and mental health problems. But breastfeeding can help mothers relax and cope with stress better. Skin-to-skin contact with your baby often has a soothing effect.
Take these steps to help lower stress while breastfeeding:
You can take certain medicines while breastfeeding, but not all. Almost all medicines pass into your milk in small amounts. Some have no effect on the baby and can be used while breastfeeding. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medicines you are using and ask before you start using new medicines. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements. For some women with chronic health problems, stopping a medicine can be more dangerous than the effects it will have on the breastfed baby.
You can also search for your medicine at Tabletwise.com to find out if your medicine passes through your breastmilk and any possible side effects for your nursing baby.
Some women think that they should not breastfeed when they are sick. But most common illnesses, such as colds, flu, or diarrhea, can't be passed through breastmilk. In fact, the antibodies in your breastmilk will help protect your baby from getting the same sickness. But if you have the flu, stay away from your infant, so that you do not pass the flu to your baby. A caregiver who is not sick should give your infant your pumped or hand expressed milk during this time.
Your doctor may tell you not to breastfeed if you:
Maybe. Talk to your partner about his or her worries before you have the baby. Talk together about ways your partner can get involved in breastfeeding..
No, but you may have to make some adjustments to make sex more comfortable if you have the following:
Yes. Your doctor will probably discuss birth control with you before you give birth. Breastfeeding is not a sure way to prevent pregnancy, even though it can delay the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. Talk with your doctor about birth control choices that you can use while breastfeeding.
Yes. Vaccines are very important to your baby's health and are safe. Breastfeeding may also help your baby respond better to certain immunizations that protect your baby. Follow the schedule your doctor gives you and, if you miss any vaccines, check with the doctor about getting your baby back on track as soon as possible.
Breastfeeding while the shot is given to your baby or right afterward can help relieve pain and soothe an upset baby.
Usually. Breastfeeding does not affect the vaccine, and most vaccines are not harmful to your breastmilk. However, vaccines for smallpox and yellow fever can be passed through breastmilk. If possible, do not get these vaccinations while breastfeeding and talk to your doctor.