4 Nutritional Tips for Nursing Moms

Expert advice on the importance of postnatal nutrition and how it will benefit your breastfeeding baby.

Nutrition-for-breastfeeding Land of Nod

We KNOW that planning healthy meals can be tough when you're exhausted, sore and breastfeeding around the clock. So we asked Trish Britten, Ph.D., a nutritionist at the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, for easy ways to get the postnatal nutrition you need. Her advice:

1. Don't diet

Sure, you want to lose the baby weight, but this isn't the time to drastically cut calories. "You need extra calories for energy and for milk production," Britten says. "Aim to eat just a little less than what was recommended during your last few months of pregnancy."

2. Drink up

You need fluids to fuel milk production, but rather than aiming for a certain amount, just be sure you're never thirsty. Britten recommends keeping a glass of water, milk or juice nearby and sipping throughout every breastfeeding session.

3. Focus on healthy foods

You and your newborn both need a full range of nutrients. "You're providing all the nutrition for your baby and also healing your own body after the stress of pregnancy," Britten says. But rather than obsessing over nutritional numbers, simply get your fill of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean meats and seafood, and you'll get everything you need.

4. Print up a plan

The USDA offers a whole host of nutritional tools for nursing moms, including a personalized daily food plan. Check it out at www.choosemyplate.gov/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.