Breastfeeding Print This Page

Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the proper balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect against common childhood illnesses and infections. Breastfeeding also helps the health of the mother because certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies. Women free from health problems should try to breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months. However, there are some cases when it’s better not to breastfeed. -f you have H-V or active tuberculosis, you should not breastfeed because you could give the infection to your baby. Certain medicines, illegal drugs and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and harm your baby.

See more information through MedlinePlus, a US National Library of Medicine Website: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/breastfeeding.html

Breastfeeding requires extra nutrition, making healthy eating just as important post-pregnancy. Women who are breastfeeding use about 500 calories daily to make the full amount of milk most babies need from birth to six months. Two-thirds of those calories should come from meals and snacks containing foods from all five food groups. The remaining calories come from the weight gained during pregnancy. While many women find breastfeeding helps them lose weight, weight loss varies among mothers depending on physical activity, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy and how much breast milk is produced.

A slow, gradual weight loss of one pound per week or four pounds per month is a safe goal for breastfeeding moms who want to return to their prepregnancy weight. Women who eat less than 1,800 calories per day may reduce the amount of milk their bodies make. Stress, anxiety and fatigue can also decrease milk production. Do yourself and your baby a favor — relax and sit down to eat three meals per day. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and choose healthy snacks between meals. Moderate physical activity, such as walking, is also good for you, and will not reduce milk volume.

See more information from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/resources/health/pregnancy/breast-feeding