Healing after Cesarean Delivery

What nutrition tips do I need to know about breast-feeding?

  • You are not really eating for two – an additional 400 to 500 calories a day should be plenty.
  • Choose from nutrient-rich foods such as whole-grain bread and peanut butter (or almond butter), banana, yogurt, cheese or a smoothie with nutrients in it.
  • Help milk production with such foods as meat, eggs, dairy, beans and lentils. Also eat a variety of whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
  • By eating a variety of food, you will change the flavor of your breast milk.
  • Your OB/GYN may want you to continue with prenatal vitamins while you breast-feed to ensure that you and your baby are receiving the necessary vitamins.
  • Hydrate often. Try drinking water before or while you are breast-feeding and also throughout the day.
  • Do not drink much juice or sugary drinks.
  • Limit caffeine as well; two to three cups of a caffeine drink each day is plenty. Caffeine in breast milk could make your baby a little jittery and interfere with your baby’s sleep.

What if I am a vegetarian?

There is no reason why you can’t breast-feed and continue with a vegetarian diet. Just consider the following:

  • You want plenty of food rich in iron, protein and calcium.
  • Iron: lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, peas, dark leafy greens, dried fruit. Also include citrus to help your body absorb the iron.
  • Protein: eggs, dairy, soy, meat substitutes, nuts, seeds and whole-grains.
  • Calcium: dairy products, dark green vegetables, soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu.
  • Supplements: Your OB/GYN may suggest a vitamin B-12 supplement that is essential for your baby’s brain development. You may also need vitamin D supplement.

Is there anything that I should avoid while breast-feeding?

  • Any amount of alcohol in breast milk is unsafe for your baby. So if you have alcohol, you should wait to breast-feed until the alcohol is completely out of your system – this usually is within a few hours. Your OB/GYN or a lactation specialist can help you to know how long that might be based on your weight and amount of alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine to two to three cups daily.
  • While fish is a good source of protein, it also contains mercury and other things that are not good for your breast milk or your baby. Avoid seafood high in mercury: swordfish, mackerel and tilefish.

Some things that you consume may cause a reaction in your baby – fussing, rash, diarrhea or congestion. If this happens, contact your pediatrician. You might want to keep a food diary to help you discover if there are links between what you eat and your baby’s behavior.