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Nutrition While Nursing: Keeping Your Newborn (and Yourself!) Healthy and Happy

By HERWriter
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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

Just like during pregnancy, while breastfeeding your diet directly impacts the health of your newborn. Your body is still the main source of all nutrients for this child, and as a newcomer to this world of germs and infections, your baby will need all the natural protection against infection that he/she can get. By ensuring that you have access to a healthy and balanced diet that incorporates essential vitamins and nutrients, you will be taking huge steps to promoting your baby’s health, growth and development.

Furthermore, what you eat while breastfeeding plays a large role in how quickly you return to pre-pregnancy weight and fitness. Breastfeeding consumes around 500 calories each day, so it is important that you get both the quantity and quality of foods necessary, not restricting your caloric intake too sharply in an attempt to shed baby-fat. However, if before you were pregnant you tended to rely a little too heavily on the junk food portion of the food pyramid due to your high caloric output at this postpartum stage, now is an excellent opportunity to initiate healthy eating habits and weight management plans that you can maintain for the rest of your life.

Many mothers find that what they eat impacts their baby’s temperament, as your diet can change the taste and smell of your breast milk. Each child is different and may react more sensitively to certain kinds of dishes, so it is important to expose him/her to a variety flavors and experiment conscientiously with all sorts of options. If you notice a change in your baby’s eating patterns after eating spicy foods, for example, this may be a sign that he/she is not a fan. A few things to watch for: families with a history of allergies may want to avoid eating foods that trigger reactions (like nuts). Though you are safe to slowly re-introduce certain pregnancy food no-no’s back into your diet, keep consumption of caffeine, alcohol and certain herbal supplements at a minimum, as they will be passed through breast milk to your baby.

Due to the hard work it is doing, your body still requires a balanced diet that features energy-producing foods and agents that protect against infection.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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