The wonderful thing about breast-feeding is that you don’t have to do or eat anything different or special to breast-feed successfully―once your baby has learned the art of latching on, your milk will naturally deliver the best possible nutrients to her. However, since you are the primary source of nourishment for your baby while you breast-feed her, it makes sense to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
Straight to baby
Everything you eat and drink passes through your breast milk to your baby in small amounts. Because of this, experts recommend that you take precautions with some foods, beverages, and other consumables.\
The advice for eating fish in pregnancy remains the same while you breast-feed: eat only two or three servings of fish a week to limit the amount of mercury you consume. It’s best to avoid caffeine and alcohol along with nicotine and medications (unless prescribed by your doctor), although you might have a small drink during hours when you aren’t breast-feeding.
Breast-feeding is demanding on your energy levels so you need plenty of fuel both to deal with taking care of your baby and to produce enough milk. You need to increase your calorie intake by 500 calories a day for as long as you breast-feed. You may want to incorporate an extra snack during the day to make sure you consume enough calories, or have a slightly bigger portion at mealtimes.
You may notice your baby develop a strong reaction to your breast milk. This could simply be a one-time dislike of the taste due to something you’ve consumed that day, or it could possibly be the sign of a food intolerance. Irritability after feedings, cold symptoms, and congestion are all possible symptoms of a food intolerance, although they are not all necessarily caused by diet. Other common symptoms are a rash, hives, itchy skin or eczema, digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, swelling of the lips or eyes, and colic, but again these are not always caused by food. If you think your baby is sensitive to or unsettled by certain foods you eat, talk to your pediatrician, especially if you have a family history of allergies. It’s useful to be aware of the most common food triggers so that you can watch your diet and keep a close eye on your baby for any signs that what you’ve been eating doesn’t agree with him or her. Garlic, chili or spicy foods, cow’s milk, orange juice, soy products, wheat, corn, eggs, peanuts, tomatoes, or shellfish are all common culprits. If you can identify a specific food that you think is causing discomfort, eliminate it from your diet for several days to see if that’s the trigger, but be aware that some products, such as cow’s milk, can stay in your body for up to two weeks. It’s important that you continue to eat a balanced diet, so always consult your doctor before making significant changes to what you eat.