Breastfeeding Your Baby (part 3) - Your Nutrition If You Breastfeed, Breastfeeding More than One Baby

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6. Your Nutrition If You Breastfeed

You need to think about your nutrition when you breastfeed. It’s important in making breast milk.

You will probably be advised to eat about 500 extra calories each day. Your breast milk provides 425 to 700 calories to your baby every day! The extra calories help you maintain good health, so they should be nutritious, like the ones you ate during pregnancy. Choose 9 servings from the bread/cereal/pasta/rice group and 3 servings from the dairy group. Fruit servings should number 4, and vegetable servings should number 5. The amount of protein in your diet should be 8 ounces a day during breastfeeding. Be careful with fats, oils and sugars; limit intake to 4 teaspoons.

Some foods can pass into breast milk and cause baby stomach distress. Avoid chocolate, foods that produce gas in you, highly spiced foods and any other foods you have problems with. Discuss the situation with your healthcare provider and your pediatrician if you have questions.

You also need to continue to drink lots of fluids. Keeping hydrated can help increase your milk production and energy levels. Drink at least 2 quarts of fluid every day. You’ll need more fluid in hot weather. Avoid caffeine-containing foods and drinks; they can act as diuretics.

Keep up your calcium intake. Ask about the kind of vitamin supplement you should take. Some mothers take a prenatal vitamin as long as they breastfeed. Some new moms take lactation supplements that contain higher doses of some vitamins and minerals than prenatal vitamins, and lower doses of iron.

Breastfeeding depletes your supply of choline. You need 550mg a day to replace it.

7. Breastfeed with Confidence—Tips to Get Started

You may have some problems when you begin breastfeeding. Don’t be discouraged if you do. It takes some time to discover what works for you and baby. There are things to do to help make breastfeeding a success. Below are some things to keep in mind as you begin nursing.

It takes practice! Although breastfeeding is a natural way to feed baby, it takes time and practice to get the hang of it.

Breastfed babies need extra vitamin D because breast milk doesn’t contain enough of this important vitamin. Talk to your pediatrician about giving baby 400IU of a liquid vitamin-D supplement every day, beginning at birth.

Feed baby on demand—this could be as many as 8 to 10 times a day or more! A baby usually cuts back to eating 4 to 6 times a day by age 4 months. A breastfed baby will take in only as much breast milk as he needs, so your milk production will usually adjust to his needs.

Hold baby so he can easily reach your breast while nursing. Hold him across your chest, or lie in bed. His tummy should touch you; tuck his lower arm between your arm and your side.

Help him latch on to your breast. Brush your nipple across his lips. When he opens his mouth, place your nipple and as much of the areola as possible in his mouth. You should feel him pull the breast while sucking, but it shouldn’t hurt.

If you’re having problems with breastfeeding, keep a log of the time and length of each feeding and which side you nursed on. This may help you see more clearly how much time you’re spending feeding baby every day.

Nurse baby 5 to 10 minutes on each breast; he gets most of his milk at the beginning of the feeding. Don’t rush him—it can take as long as 30 minutes for him to finish. Baby may not need burping. As you begin, burp between feedings at each breast and when baby finishes. If he doesn’t burp, don’t force it. He may not need to.

Some experts believe you can start feeding baby a bottle almost as soon as you get home from the hospital. If you’re going to give baby a bottle, give him expressed breast milk because he’s familiar with the taste. In addition, feed a bottle an hour or two after breastfeeding. It’s easier to get baby to try a bottle when he’s not starving.

8. Breastfeeding More than One Baby

Feeding multiples can be a challenge. Even if you have more than one baby, you should be able to breastfeed them. Breastfeeding for one or two feedings a day gives them the protection from infection that breast milk provides. Research has shown that even the smallest dose of breast milk gives baby an advantage over babies only fed formula.

If babies are early, and you can’t nurse them, begin pumping! Pump from day one, and store your breast milk for the time babies are able to receive it. In addition, pumping tells the body to produce breast milk—pump and the milk will come. It just takes some time.

You may find your babies do well with breast and bottlefeeding. Bottlefeeding doesn’t always mean feeding formula. You can bottlefeed expressed breast milk.

Supplementing with formula allows your partner and others to help you feed the babies. You can breastfeed one while someone else bottlefeeds the other. Or you can nurse each one for a time, then finish the feeding with formula. In either case, someone else can help you.

9. Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?

You may be concerned about how much breast milk your baby gets at a feeding. There are clues to look for. Watch his jaws and ears while he eats—is he actively sucking? At the end of a feeding, does he fall asleep or settle down easily? Can he go 1½ hours between feedings? You’ll know your baby is getting enough to eat if he:

• nurses frequently, such as every 2 to 3 hours or 8 to 12 times in 24 hours

• has 6 to 8 wet diapers and/or 2 to 5 bowel movements a day

• gains 4 to 7 ounces a week or at least 1 pound a month

• appears healthy, has good muscle tone and is alert and active

There are some warning signs to watch for. Be concerned if your breasts show little or no change during pregnancy, there’s no engorgement after birth or no breast milk by the fifth day. If you can’t hear baby gulping while he feeds or he loses more than 10% of his birth weight, it’s cause for concern. If baby never seems satisfied, discuss it with your pediatrician.

If your baby is a boy, your breast milk contains 25% more calories than if baby is a girl.

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