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It's more important than ever for you to stay healthy and well nourished.

Dietary Requirements

As a nursing mother, you should maintain a well-balanced diet for good health. You should continue to avoid fish high in mercury, as you did during pregnancy. Otherwise, there are no specific foods that must be avoided due to breastfeeding.

Answers to frequently asked questions about eating fish and breastfeeding is provided by the FDA.

Fluid Intake

As a nursing mother, you will need adequate fluid intake to stay healthy and hydrated. Most experts recommend drinking enough fluids to satisfy thirst. Eight, eight-ounce servings (64 ounces) of fluid such as water, milk, juice or soup is a good goal.

Medications, Alcohol and Caffeine

It is important to remember that a percentage of the substances you consume are passed on to your baby through your breast milk.

Caffeine is safe in moderation, up to about 300 mg daily. This is equivalent to about 2-3 cups of coffee a day. However, some babies, especially newborns, can be more sensitive to caffeine. If baby is especially fussy or irritable, try decreasing your caffeine intake.

Nursing mothers may also drink alcohol on occasion. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 drinks in a sitting. There is no need to pump and discard milk. Simply delay nursing until at least 2 hours have passed since drinking and you no longer feel the effects of alcohol. At that point the alcohol is no longer present in breast milk and it is safe to feed the baby your milk.

You may need to take medication while you are breastfeeding. Our staff will carefully consider the safety of medications you are prescribed in the hospital. Few medications are unsafe during breastfeeding, and often there are alternatives that are safe to use. Contact your obstetrical provider or lactation consultant if you have questions about specific medications.

Maternal Illness

If you are ill, such as with a cold, flu or fever, it is still safe to feed your baby your breast milk. In fact, you can help protect your baby from your illness by passing along antibodies in your milk. If you think you have mastitis, or a breast infection, it is also safe to breastfeed while being treated. Call your obstetric provider if you are worried about mastitis.

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