When a woman breast-feeds her baby, she needs more nutrients to keep herself healthy and to make the baby's milk. If you are a young (teen) mother or are the mother of twins or more, your nutritional needs are even greater. Teen moms need more nutrients because their own bodies are still developing.
Mothers of twins or more must produce enough milk for all the babies. Breast-feeding more than one baby can be challenging, but it helps build the bond between you and each baby. It gives your babies excellent health benefits.
A healthy diet includes eating a variety of foods from the basic food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products (such as cheese and yogurt), and meat and dried beans. Eating well during breast-feeding will ensure that you stay healthy and your baby or babies grow and develop normally.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
Include 3 to 4 cups of nonfat or low-fat milk or milk products in your diet every day. These include:
Milk (8 ounces equals 1 cup).
Ice cream (1½ cups equals 1 cup of milk).
Cheese (1½ ounces of cheese equals 1 cup).
Yogurt (8 ounces equals 1 cup).
Eat at least 7 ounces of grains, such as cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta, every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cereal, or pasta.
Eat 3 cups of vegetables each day. Choices include:
Dark-green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
Orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
Dried beans (such as pinto and kidney beans) and peas (such as lentils).
Every day, eat 2 cups of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.
Eat 6½ ounces each day of protein, such as chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs, peanut butter, dried beans and peas, nuts, and seeds. One egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, ½ ounce nuts or seeds, or ¼ cup of cooked beans equals 1 ounce of protein.
Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
If you are a mother of twins or more, consider joining a support group for mothers who breast-feed multiples. Contact your local La Leche League or an organization such as the Mothers of Twins Club (MOTC), who may have support groups.
Limit caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and some sodas. Caffeine can pass to your baby through breast milk. It may cause fussiness and sleep problems in babies.
Your doctor may recommend a vitamin supplement. Take it as recommended.
When should you call for help?
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
You feel that you are not making enough milk for your baby or babies.
You are losing a lot of weight.
You do not think your baby or babies are gaining enough weight.
Care instructions adapted under license by Kaiser Permanente. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.