Nutrition 101 for Nursing Moms

New moms will have many questions when it comes to breastfeeding a baby. How do you get him or her to latch on? How often should you feed your little one?

What if my baby seems averse to breastmilk? Is it okay to feed him or her alternatives like organic cow milk for babies or sugar free formula? Will he or she get enough nutrients?

Many moms also end up asking themselves, and probably more than once, what’s wrong with me? The truth is simply that there’s a learning curve new moms must face with learning to breastfeed. Before long you’ll master it and enjoy a happy, well-fed baby.

That said, if you’re relying on breastmilk instead of, say, organic infant formula, you might want to think about what you’re putting into your body since it can not only affect your own health, but your baby’s, as well. Here are a few basics of nutrition for nursing moms.

Extra Calories

Having a baby is sure to run you a little ragged, especially when your body is working overtime to provide nutrients for your baby. If you want to sustain your own energy and give your newborn the attention he needs, extra caloric intake is a must.

A good rule of thumb is to consume about 25% more calories than before you got pregnant. This could equate to about 300-500 extra calories, depending on your pre-pregnancy intake. If you’re not sure, speak with your doctor or a nutritionist.

A Balanced Diet

It’s always a good idea to eat a balanced diet that includes appropriate portions of lean protein, dairy, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.  However, it is doubly important to pay attention to the content of your calories when breastfeeding.

Especially significant is protein – you want to make sure you get enough to support the ongoing production of breastmilk. You can get additional information about nutrition and portions on ChooseMyPlate.gov (ostensibly the updated food pyramid), or by speaking to your doctor.

Vitamins and Minerals

A healthy and balanced diet should include a variety of vitamins and minerals.  Many doctors also recommend that new moms continue to take daily prenatal vitamins as a way to ensure that they’re getting adequate nutrients for themselves and their babies.

Hydration

Even if you switch between breastfeeding and cow or goats milk for baby, you’re still losing a lot of fluid that you need to replenish. If you don’t already drink the recommended 64 ounces of water a day, now is a good time to start.  In fact, you should probably drink more. A good trick is to try drinking a glass of water each time you breastfeed your baby.

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