Dietary Tips for Nursing Mothers
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.
More on: Adjusting to New Motherhood
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.
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