Our nutritionist answers your questions on what foods may affect your breastmilk
A: Mothers will typically feel the sensation of increased breast fullness two to three days after birth. From this point onwards, breast milk production is on a ‘supply and demand’ basis. An empty breast encourages faster milk production.
Unfortunately, the production of breast milk is not something that can be controlled with particular foods. The most important thing to do is maintain a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeine based fluids. If you are concerned that you may have difficulties breastfeeding this time, it would be advisable to discuss this with your doctor or midwife prior to the birth, as stress could be a factor.
A: As you suffer from allergies your baby would be classed at higher risk of developing a peanut allergy; it would therefore be advisable to avoid peanut-containing products while breastfeeding and in your baby’s diet up to three years of age. If you are excluding foods for your own allergies, be sure your diet remains balanced to produce nutritious breast milk. Some babies can react to the foods their mums eat through their breast milk, but if your baby is fit and well, further exclusions would only be nutritionally detrimental. Please consult your GP before adapting your diet.
A: When producing breast milk, the body will take nutrients from your stores, so as long as you are well nourished your baby should have all she needs. However, eating one or two portions of oily fish a week is thought to be beneficial for your baby’s development, as the omega-3 fats will go into your milk. It is also important to limit caffeine and alcohol, as these affect your baby in the same way as they affect you. Just eat a healthy balanced diet to ensure you don’t become deficient as a result of milk production. Taking 10mcg of vitamin D a day is also recommended, and as your calcium requirements are increased you need to include dairy products on a daily basis. If in doubt, try a combined calcium and vitamin D supplement.
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