Food, Drink, and Breastfeeding
When you take a moment to think about what affects breast milk you may not realize that things such as water, caffeine and even different foods can not only influence the amount of milk you produce, but your baby's response after nursing as well. Therefore it is important to watch what you eat and be sure to replenish your liquid supply with the rights types of foods and drink.
Can Certain Foods and Liquids Affect Breastfeeding?
Many people snicker when they hear that drinking too much water can be bad for a breastfeeding mother. The fact is that too much water can decrease the milk supply. Research has shown that if a nursing mother drinks more than eight, 10 ounce glasses of water a day it can reduce the potassium levels in the body. When this happens a nursing mother's milk supply decreases. This may prompt you to ask, “How one is suppose to maintain a healthy supply of liquid in the body if that's the case?” Eating a balanced diet and drinking other liquids is the answer.
Liquids such as natural juices, milk, decaffeinated coffee or tea can be not only healthy, but a way to ensure you have the liquids you need while nursing. Even soups can help in this area. It is also recommended that you not cut water completely out of your diet. Eight to ten 8 ounce glasses of liquid is about the right amount to keep you on an even keel. Including a couple of glasses of water each day will not hurt in anyway.
Being sure to replenish that liquid supply is very important. If you see signs of urine that is not clear in color or has a distinctive smell or if you become constipated, you need to add a little more water to your diet. These symptoms are signs of dehydration so a little extra water becomes necessary to maintain a healthy body.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is also very important. Things such as fresh fruits and vegetables are important. There are many foods though that can cause problems for your baby after nursing. Spicy foods can be a culprit here. Also foods such as broccoli, onions, garlic, dairy products and even peanut butter can affect your baby.
If you eat something and then nurse and your baby becomes cranky or irritable there's a good chance it's probably because of the food you ate. Watch your baby for 24 hours after eating these types of foods. If they seem happy and have no problems then you are safe. If they become cranky and just don’t seem to be happy, stop eating that type of food. It’s pretty easy to tell if your baby doesn’t like the foods you eat and adjusting your diet can make it easier on both of you.
Always remember that you can ask for help if you have any questions or problems. The lactation consultant at the hospital, your own doctor or your child’s pediatrician can be very helpful. Other mothers who have nursed can also help in many areas you might be uncomfortable talking with a professional about. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Breastfeeding is important to the development of a healthy baby. Taking care of you during the nursing period is just as important. Remember you need to feel healthy and happy during this time too. Drink liquids when you are thirsty, eat a nutrition filled healthy diet and ask questions. These are the best ways to ensure the nursing experience is a good one for both you and your baby.