Nutrition while nursing

Have you heard about all the food you supposedly need to eat for optimal nutrition while you’re breastfeeding? And what about the foods you need to avoid?

The experts at St. Elizabeth say not all of those claims are supported by sound science.

There are lots of foods and supplements now promoted as products to help boost milk production during breastfeeding and lactation, so Local 12 asked experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare to clear up some of the confusion about what really might make a difference – and what might not – right after a baby is born.

“All babies need Mom’s milk; it’s good for their antibodies, it’s good for their vision, it’s good for all their organs,” said Sandi Brown, a lactation consultant at St. Elizabeth

 

But what should or shouldn’t Mom eat while breastfeeding?

“There’s three things we ask people to limit or omit, and those are nicotine, alcohol and caffeine,” said Brown.

Brown says while a lot of foods and supplements are touted as good for mothers who are supplying breast milk, “anything that is out on the market, such as oatmeal or herbs, is all pretty anecdotal; it’s not evidence-based.”

When it comes to what you should eat after you give birth, it’s kind of individualized for moms’ own needs, and she says if you want to eat any of the specific products promoted for breastfeeding moms, they likely wouldn’t hurt you, but you also may want to consult with a lactation consultant to find out if it’s the best thing for you and your baby.

“If they eat [certain foods that have a lot of spice to them] during the pregnancy, it flavors the amniotic fluid … So the baby will go ‘oh, I like that taste, I like that stuff,'” said Brown.

One more thing – fluids may be even more important than what you are or aren’t eating when it comes to breast milk production. Breast milk is almost 90 percent water.

During your newborn’s first weeks, baby weight checks and telephone consultations are available at (859) 301-2631. Lactation consultants are available in The Family Birth Place at St. Elizabeth Edgewood.