What you eat and drink is very important when you’re breastfeeding, especially during the first 2 to 3 weeks when your milk supply is becoming established. Don’t diet during this critical time. Follow an eating plan that includes a generous intake (1,800 to 2,200 calories each day) of nutrients from all food groups. Be sure to make smart choices from each food group now AND all through your life:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Dark green, orange, and yellow vegetables are especially healthy choices.
- Make most of the grains you eat whole grains. Examples include whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. These have lots of healthy fiber and nutrients.
- Choose heart-healthy proteins. Examples include beans, eggs, low-fat cheese, nut butters, skinless poultry, and lean red meats.
If you have chosen to follow a vegetarian diet, you can continue to follow this diet while breastfeeding. Make sure you are consuming enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and zinc.
It’s also important to make sure that your vitamin B12 intake is adequate. This vitamin is only found in animal products. A B12 vitamin supplement is recommended for mothers on strict vegan diets who avoid eggs, milk products, and meat products.
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