Your needs while youre breastfeeding

If you're like most mothers, your attention will be focused intently on the needs of your baby. Although this commitment is completely reasonable, don't forget about your needs. If your baby is to thrive, he or she needs a healthy mother. Consider:

Nutrition

The specific amounts of foods, fluids and calories you need to support breast-feeding aren't universally agreed on, but you may need fewer calories than was previously thought. The best approach to nutrition while breastfeeding isn't unlike the best approach at other times in your life: Eat foods at regular intervals from various food groups — a balanced diet. In addition, drink six to eight cups of fluids each day. Water, milk and juice are good choices. Small amounts of coffee, tea and soft drinks are fine.

There are no special foods to avoid when you're breast-feeding. However, if you know that certain foods bother you or appear to cause a reaction such as fussiness or gas in your baby, then simply don't eat them. Rarely, a breastfed baby is allergic to a component of your diet, such as cow's milk. To determine whether your baby is having trouble with your breast milk, cut out all dairy products from your diet for two weeks. Then slowly reintro-duce dairy into your diet, one food item at a time, while observing your baby for any negative reactions.

Because many demands are made on your time as a new mother, it can be hard to prepare three healthy meals a day. You may find it easier to snack on healthy foods throughout the day. Partners can help support a breastfeeding mother by bringing her refreshments while she's nursing.

Rest

Try to get rest as a new mother, as hard as that may seem at times. You'll feel more energetic, you'll eat better, and you'll enjoy your new baby best when you're rested. Rest promotes the production of breast milk by enhancing the production of milk-producing hormones.

The tranquilizing effect of breast-feeding can make you feel sleepy. Many mothers nurse their babies while lying down or even take their babies to their bed. Nursing's soothing effect may make you both sleep, and lying down may be just what you need. Remember that some adult beds, such as waterbeds or pull-out sofas, can be hazardous for infants.

Ask others to take over daily chores so that you can rest. Younger children may appreciate being able to help out mother and baby by pitching in around the house.

A nursing bra and nursing pads

If you're going to breast-feed, invest in a couple of nursing bras. They provide important support for milk-laden breasts. They help prevent backaches and reduce leakage of milk. What distinguishes nursing bras from regular bras is that both cups open, usually with a simple maneuver that you can manage unobtrusively while you hold your baby.

Nursing pads are handy to absorb excess milk that leaks from your breasts. Slim and disposable, they can be slipped between breast and bra. They soak up milk leakage while allowing air to circulate to the skin. Nursing pads can be worn continuously or on occasion. Some women don't bother with them. You can purchase nursing pads at most baby supply stores and general retail stores. They're often shelved near the disposable diapers.

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