Caring For Yourself

When you become a mom, caring for your baby becomes your top priority. Unfortunately, that can sometimes mean that you neglect your own nutritional needs. The best thing you can do for your baby is to take care of yourself, especially when you’re breastfeeding.

Eat Right

  • Eat three balanced meals a day that include:
    • 4 servings of milk foods, including milk, yogurt and cheese
    • 3 servings of protein-rich foods, including meat, chicken, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
    • 2-4 servings of fruit, including apples, watermelon, bananas and peaches
    • 3-5 servings of vegetables including salads, carrots and vegetable juice
    • About 6 servings of whole grains, such as cereal, rice and pasta. 1 serving of oil such as mayo, salad dressing or olive oil
  • Drink at least 8 cups of fluids each day

Watch Caffeine Intake

  • While small amounts of caffeine won’t harm your baby, limit your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee or tea each day if possible.
  • Large amounts of caffeine may agitate babies and interfere with their sleep.

Hold the Alcohol

  • Alcohol affects the let-down of your milk.
  • If you choose to drink, limit yourself to two ounces of alcohol.
  • Talk to your health care provider about drinking alcohol and breastfeeding.

Don’t Smoke

  • While nicotine or other chemicals from cigarettes do not go into your breast milk, you put your baby at risk for other health problems if you smoke.
  • Breathing in smoke increases your baby’s risk for colds and infections.
  • Your doctor can help you find a program to help you quit smoking.

Be Mindful of Medications

  • Many medicines pass into your milk. Discuss any medications with your physician before you begin breastfeeding.
  • Keep in mind that medicines that were safe when you were pregnant may not always be safe when you breastfeed.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Drugs keeps a list of drugs that are safe when you’re breastfeeding.

Question: Can I get pregnant when I’m breastfeeding?

Contrary to popular belief, you can definitely get pregnant while you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding delays the return of normal menstrual periods. But your ovaries will still make an egg before you have your period, so you can get pregnant even before your period begins.

You are less likely to get pregnant while breastfeeding if:

  • Your baby is younger than 6 months old
  • You are breastfeeding only, and your baby does not take any formula
  • You have not yet had a menstrual period

At your post-partum appointment, talk with your physician about birth control. There are many safe options for breastfeeding moms.