Eat, Drink, but Be Wary
What's safe (and what's not) while breastfeeding
•Try to have lead paint removed from your home before you become pregnant. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a young child, hire a certified lead contractor to remove the paint and repaint the area. Stay out of the house completely—even at night—until the job is finished.
•Avoid fumes from dry-cleaning facilities.
•Don’t eat fish that was taken from contaminated waterways.
•Avoid breathing in fumes when pumping gas.
•Eat only organically grown fruits and vegetables.
•Avoid fumes from paint removers and nail-polish removers.
•Avoid installing new carpet or synthetic-wood furniture; they emit potentially hazardous gases. And don’t install a new computer, television or other large appliance that contains plastic, as it may have toxic, flame-retardant chemicals. Most of the chemicals are released over three to six weeks, so if you must buy one of these items, try to avoid the affected room during that time frame, and leave the windows open as much as possible.
Making breast milk even better
So is there anything you can do to improve your breast milk? Most remedies are wives’ tales, Lawrence says, with one exception: rest. “The No. 1 enemy of a good milk supply is fatigue,” she says. “Lie down when the baby rests, don’t try to do too much, and say no to too much company. That’s what makes good milk.”
Proper hydration and nutrition are also important. It’s a myth that you need to force fluids, says nutritionist Gabela. You will naturally be thirstier than non-nursing women, but you don’t need to over-hydrate. Likewise, you’ll be hungrier than non-nursing women because breastfeeding burns calories; you’ll need about 300 more calories a day than in the last trimester, more if you’re exercising.
“A good rule of thumb is ‘eat to hunger, drink to thirst,’” Gabela says.
Above all, relax and savor your new life together. As Lawrence says: “Just enjoy this time and know you’re doing a great thing for your baby that will have a lifetime payoff.”