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Breast-feeding mothers - self-care
Alternative namesBreast pump information; Nursing mothers - self-care
Breastfeeding is often an enjoyable and rewarding experience for mothers. A breastfeeding mother must continue to take care of her baby and herself, much like during her pregnancy.
In general, lactating women should get nutrients from a well-balanced, varied diet, rather than from vitamin-mineral supplements. Eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, calcium-rich dairy products, and protein-rich foods (such as meats, fish, and legumes). Make sure you are getting enough calories.
BREASTFEEDING DAILY FOOD GUIDE
This is just a guide. You may need to eat more than this based on your size and activity level.
Nursing mothers need enough fluids to stay healthy and hydrated. Most experts recommend drinking enough fluids to satisfy thirst. Eight 8-ounce servings (64 ounces) of fluid such as water, milk, juice, or soup is a good goal, again depending on your size and activity level.
Breastfeeding mothers can safely eat any foods they like. Some foods may flavor the breast milk, but babies rarely react to this. If your baby is fussy after you eat a
Don't limit your diet excessively. Make sure you are getting enough nutrition for yourself and your baby. If you become overly concerned about foods or spices causing problems, try to remember that entire countries and cultures have diets that contain foods that are extremely spicy. In these countries, the mothers nurse their infants without problems.
It is possible that some highly allergenic foods (strawberries, peanuts) may be passed into breast milk, increasing the risk of a later food allergy. If this is a concern, discuss food allergies with your pediatrician.
CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL
A nursing mother can safely consume moderate amounts of caffeine (equal to 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day) without causing harm to her baby. But any more caffeine than that may cause agitation and difficulty sleeping for your baby.
Since alcohol has been found in human milk and can interfere with the milk ejection reflex, avoid alcohol while breastfeeding. An occasional drink, not exceeding two ounces of alcohol, may be safe, but you should consult your health care provider about the associated risks.
DRUGS IN HUMAN MILK
Many medications (prescription and over-the-counter medications) will pass into the mother's milk. Check with your physician before taking any medications. Do NOT stop taking any prescribed medication without speaking first to your doctor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Drugs releases a periodic statement with a list of drugs and their compatibility with breastfeeding. Your obstetrician and pediatrician are both likely to be familiar with this publication and can answer your concerns about breastfeeding while taking medications.
Most breastfeeding women do not have normal menstrual periods (lactation amenorrhea). Although the risk of pregnancy is less for a woman experiencing lactation amenorrhea, pregnancy CAN occur during this time. Breastfeeding should not be used for contraception, since failure is likely.
Birth control choice should be discussed with your health care provider. Barrier methods (condom, diaphragm), progesterone contraceptives (oral and injectable), and IUDs have all been shown to be safe and effective. Progesterone contraception is generally not started until the milk supply is established, usually at 4 weeks postpartum.
WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME
Mothers face unique obstacles in maintaining adequate milk supply once they return to work. With planning, commitment, and skilled use of a breast pump, breastfeeding mothers can maintain their milk supply and continue breastfeeding even after returning to work outside the home.
A maternity leave is helpful for establishing your milk supply and breastfeeding skills before returning to work. An ideal work place would provide a private room for breastfeeding moms, which could be locked, include a comfortable chair, and have an electric breast pump for use by all nursing mothers.
However, many moms have had success using a hand breast pump and a bathroom stall for privacy. Many women prefer the speed of the electric breast pump. Hospital quality pumps are available for rental through medical supply stores. Personal, portable models are available for purchase.
MAINTAINING YOUR MILK SUPPLY
Here are some tips that have worked well with many breastfeeding mothers who work full day outside the home:
There are a number of breast pumps on the market, with varying degrees of comfort, efficiency, and cost. Most require time to develop the skills to use them. Pumps may
The most dependable, efficient, and comfortable pumps are electric, have intermittent action (creates and releases suction automatically), and require minimal training.
Your local lactation consultant can help you make realistic plans and guide you to a supportive breast pump supplier. A listing of lactation consultants is available at
In general, lactating women should get nutrients from a well-b .
Update Date: 5/31/2002Adam Ratner, Adam Ratner, M.D., Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT