Home > Babies and Toddlers > Babies > Feeding Your Baby > Breastfeeding > Dietary Tips for Nursing Mothers

Dietary Tips for Nursing Mothers

A sad truth is that mother's milk is laced with the chemicals that all human beings are exposed to. Dioxins and other chemicals are stored in fatty breast tissue and enter your baby's body when she nurses. While this is a terrible fact of life for the new mother to face, it should not change your mind about breastfeeding. Breast milk is still the perfect food for babies, and no formula manufacturer can match it.

If you need to boost your milk production, try an old folk remedy that many European women still use: Go to a pub and order up a pint of the darkest beer they have. (Or have your partner bring home a six-pack.) No one really knows exactly why beer helps with nursing, but many mothers will attest to its effectiveness – and as long as you have only one beer, a nursing baby should not be harmed by the alcohol it contains. Herbs such as goat's rue and blessed thistle also help increase milk production. Deep green leafy vegetables can support increased milk production as well. If these veggies don't agree with your baby, try taking small amounts of concentrated sources of green nutrients such as chlorella or liquid chlorophyll.

Diet, Breastfeeding, and Weight Loss
The average mother loses about ten to twenty pounds the first four weeks postpartum, then about one and a half pounds a month in the span of the next four to six months. Contrary to popular belief, not all research shows a difference between nursing and bottle-feeding mothers when it comes to weight loss. Women are often told that they will lose their pregnancy weight faster if they nurse, but some studies show that nursing mothers actually hold on to excess weight a bit longer, because they need that extra five or so pounds to make sufficient milk for their babies.

Nursing mothers need about 500 extra calories a day. If you follow the postpartum guidelines supplied here, your body will tell you how much to eat and what foods to include. You won't need to count calories or measure out servings to ensure that your baby is getting what he needs and that your nutrient stores are being built back up. Don't try to decrease your fat intake, but do pay attention to the type of fat you are eating.

<< Previous: Foods to avoid

From A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health by Dean Raffelock, Robert Rountree, and Virginia Hopkins with Melissa Block. Copyright © 2002 by Dr. Dean Raffelock. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

mother’s day cards & crafts

Let your kids
spoil you with



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!