Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What to Take & Avoid for Breast Milk Production?

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for mother and baby. It can help a new mom lose her "baby weight" and protect her from heart disease down the road. It provides optimal nutrition for the baby as long as his mother is eating a healthy, balanced diet. It gives the baby building blocks for maintaining a healthy weight for life. Several factors are involved in healthy breast milk production. One important factor is the mom's diet.

Caloric Requirements

There are no specific diet recommendations for breastfeeding mothers, although experts agree that they must eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of complex carbohydrates. New moms need to keep blood glucose levels stable. Significant amounts of glucose and carbohydrates are necessary for breast milk production. The body uses about 500 extra calories to breastfeed, so not eating enough can negatively affect milk production.

Fluid Intake

The body uses one milliliter of water for each milliliter of milk it produces. Breastfeeding mothers must drink plenty of fluids to ensure optimal breast milk production. The current recommendation is approximately eight cups of water each day. One way to meet this goal is to drink a glass of water each time she sits down to breast feed. Without adequate water intake, the body cannot produce enough milk.

What to Avoid

Drinking too much water can actually decrease the milk supply. Do not exceed 12 glasses of water per day. It is important to note that tea and coffee should not make up much of the mother’s fluid intake; drinking too much tea and coffee can inhibit milk production.
Avoid simple carbohydrates like white bread and other foods made with refined flour and sugar. Mom's diet should consist mainly of complex carbohydrates, protein and fats. Simple carbohydrates can decrease milk supply by spiking insulin levels.

Sleep is More Important

What mom eats is not the biggest factor in breast milk production. Although she must eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids, it is even more important that she sleep as much as possible. Stress and lack of sleep are a bigger threat to low breast milk production than diet.
Effectively and frequently expressing her milk through feedings or pumping is the last factor that affects breast milk production. Expressing the milk is important to show the body it is being used and is still needed.

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