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Your Breastfeeding Nutrition Questions, Answered

The knowledgeable maternity team at All About Women answer your most pressing questions on what and how to eat while breastfeeding

mother breastfeeding newborn: AAW Post Pregnancy Article

You've just undergone the rigors of trying to eat your best for nine months to nourish that little being within. Now that your baby is out in the world, you're committed to nursing, but you're just not sure about what rules from pregnancy nutrition apply to breastfeeding. What shouldn't you eat? Can you have a glass of wine? How much food is too much?

Below, the experienced maternity team at All About Women answers some of the most common questions surrounding breastfeeding nutrition:

I'm really hungry! How much can I eat?

Making milk takes a lot of energy, so don't be surprised if you feel even more ravenous during breastfeeding than you ever were during pregnancy. The general rule of thumb, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is that nursing mothers need about 400 to 500 extra calories per day; about the same or a little more than at the very end of pregnancy.

As in pregnancy, it pays off for you and your baby to make those calories count with nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-mercury fish and high-calcium foods. Whatever you eat, make sure that you're drinking enough water too. Aim for drinking a glass every time you sit down to nurse.

What are the rules? Do I still have to avoid foods like soft cheeses while breastfeeding?

You don't have to be quite as careful about the foods you consume while nursing as you did during the pregnancy. Soft cheeses and lunchmeats are officially okay. However, you do still need to be careful about the amount of mercury you ingest from eating fish. We advise having fish no more than twice a week.

Just like with pregnancy, you should also check to make sure any medications and birth control you choose to use are compatible with breastfeeding. And keep taking that multivitamin until your OB/GYN tells you otherwise.

Is it true some foods make my baby fussy?

Many nursing moms find that certain foods make their baby irritable or cranky. Here's a frequent list:

  • Caffeine (You should try to limit your intake to 200 mg a day, according to the leading obstetric group)
  • Chocolate
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy

The fact is that you'll just have to experiment with your diet. You may find that what you eat doesn't affect your baby at all, or you may discover that certain foods lead to a definite change in behavior.

Can I drink alcohol now?

It's important to know that alcohol passes straight through your bloodstream and into your milk, so a nursing baby in one hand and a drink in the other is out of the question. But you can still be a responsible mother and have a drink. You just want to wait till your baby is going a little longer between feedings so that you have a two-hour window between when you have a drink and when you nurse your baby.

Is it true breastfeeding can help me lose my pregnancy weight?

How much weight you loose during breastfeeding depends on a lot of factors, including:

  • How long and frequently you nurse for
  • What you eat
  • How active you are
  • How much weight you gained during pregnancy

In any case, breastfeeding can definitely help you loose the weight, but you shouldn't take extreme measures to lose weight while nursing because it could adversely affect your milk supply. Talk to your doctor about safe weight loss.

Get Breastfeeding Support

The best approach to eating during breastfeeding is to consume the best food you can without causing undue amounts of stress. You're a new mom, after all, and you'll find that being gracious with yourself is the best approach to eating and life in general.

The midwives and maternity team at All About Women want you to have a successful nursing relationship and we are here to help support you. As a first step, learn more about the basics and benefits of breastfeeding, or pick up the phone and give us a call at our Gainesville or Lake City offices.

Contact us
‹ All About Women OB/GYN Knowledge Center
6440 W Newberry Road, Suite 111
Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 331-3332
Lake City
4447 NW American Lane, Suite 102
Lake City, FL 32055
(386) 754-1744

Gainesville and Lake City OB/GYN Care

OB/GYN doctors at All About Women, Obstetrics & Gynecology offer personalized, technologically advanced obstetrics and gynecology services from Board Certified OB/GYB physicians. Besides expert women's healthcare, permanent birth control and prenatal care, OB/GYN doctors also offers advanced hysterectomy surgery in and around the Gainesville area.

Women's Health Care in Alachua & Columbia Counties

With offices in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida, All About Women, M.D. provides expert OB/GYN services covering the entire range of women's healthcare needs. Our OB/GYN physicians and nurse midwives provide expert care during pregnancy as well as state of the art in-office treatments for gynecologic disorders including Novasure endometrial ablation to treat/stop heavy menstrual bleeding.

Personalized & Expert Prenatal Care

Gainesville obstetricians at All About Women, M.D. help ensure pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible by offering the best prenatal care available. And for those having difficulty getting pregnant, AAW obstetricians and gynecologists offer couples the best infertility help and treatment available.

Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery: daVinci Surgical System

Clinic founder Dr. Anthony Agrios, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist also specializes in the daVinci Robotic surgery system, a minimally invasive option commonly used for a hysterectomy and other procedures. Instead of creating several small incisions like traditional surgical methods, OB/GYN surgeons simply open one incision with the daVinci system to complete the procedure. Not only do patients experience less pain and blood loss, they recover and get back to normal much faster.

Pregnancy & Prenatal Care: Creative Pregnancy Announcement : Fruits for Pregnant Women

OB/GYN Tips: Choosing an OB/GYN : Robotic Hysterectomy

Infertility & Reproduction Health: Infertility Treatment : Permanent Birth Control

Women's Health: Preventive Care : Well Women Care : Mammogram Screenings : Abnormal Periods

Gainesville Maternity Care


FL OBGYN   Services
All About Women
Gainesville and Lake City, Florida Obstetrics & Gynecology

Offices conveniently located in the heart of North Florida (Alachua County & Columbia County). Serving women of all ages and backgrounds
in and around Ocala, Williston, Chiefland, Perry, Live Oak, Lake City, Starke, Palatka and Gainesville.