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March 24, 2014

Breastfeeding mother asks about diet

NORMAN — Q: I want to breastfeed my baby; do I need to follow a special diet?

A: Congratulations on your new baby. Breastfeeding is a wonderful and healthy way to nourish your baby. There is currently no special diet for breastfeeding moms. Mothers make healthy breast milk even when their own diets are lacking.

You can keep yourself healthy by choosing a variety of foods and colors. Also, during lactation your fluid needs increase because you are losing fluid through nursing. You may notice that you are thirstier than before. Drink enough water and other fluids to quench your thirst. This also will help keep your milk supply up. A helpful tactic is to keep a full reusable water bottle at your side at all times. A great free resource is Choose My Plate Plan for Moms. Choose my plate offers meal portioning info as well as healthy recipes and is customizable to your body type, weight, age, and gender. Here are some tips from the site to make your plate healthier:

· Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of vegetables, including dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas.

· Make at least half your grains whole. Choose whole grains in place of refined grains.

· Switch to skim or 1 percent milk. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products such as yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy or nut beverages (such as unsweetened almond milk).

· Vary your protein food choices. Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

· Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.

· Make choices that are low in “empty calories.” What are “empty calories?” They are calories from added sugars and solid fats in foods. Examples of food with empty calories are: candy, desserts, fried foods, ice cream, sweetened cereals, biscuits, hot dogs, soft drinks, sweetened tea and fruit drinks.

For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.

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