Under normal circumstances, breastfeeding offers significant advantages over bottle-feeding for both infant and mother. For a baby, breastmilk gives protection from infections and allergies and may lead to fewer illnesses in the first year of life. For a mother, breastfeeding often helps to strengthen the mother-baby bond. Other physical benefits for the mother include helping to speed the shrinking of the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size.
A well balanced diet during nursing need not be vastly different from that suggested during pregnancy. An extra glass of milk, some citrus fruits, and some additional carbohydrates (cereal or bread) can provide the extra calories and nutrients needed. calcium and vitamin C are particularly important to the growing infant. Extra fluids may help to stimulate milk production. Water, juice, milk and soups are good sources of liquids. While it is not necessary to drink milk to produce milk, milk is a convenient and good source of calcium, protein and liquid. Drink 8 to 12 cups of liquid each day. Choose pure juices, water, and four cups of milk. Choose additional servings from the 4 food groups to help meet increased calorie needs. Avoid alcoholic beverages completely.
Milk and Dairy Products
- Eat four to six servings per day
- Examples of milk and dairy products include: one cup milk, 1/2 cup ice cream, one ounce cheese, one cup yoghurt, or one and a half cup cottage cheese.
Meat and Protein Foods
- Eat two to four servings (seven ounces) per day.
- Examples of meat and protein foods include: one egg, one ounce cheese, 1/2 cup dried beans, beef, chicken, pork, fish or turkey.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Choose four to six servings per day including one source of Vitamin C.
- These include: broccoli, orange juice, tomatoes or greens.
Breads and Cereals
- Eat six to eight servings per day.
- Breads and Cereals include: Cornflakes, Wholemeal bread, oatmeal.