Have You Ever Wondered

  • if you can drink caffeinated beverages while you're nursing? Yes, enjoy your morning coffee, or a soft drink for a snack, in moderation. Caffeine does pass into breast milk. However, caffeine in 1 or 2 cups a day probably won't bother your baby.
  • if vegetarian eating supplies adequate nutrition for breast-feeding? A vegetarian mom who consumes dairy products, and perhaps eggs, can easily get enough nutrients. For vegans, who avoid all foods of animal origin, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12 need special attention. See 'The Vegetarian Mom" in chapter 20. ... if you can pass food allergens through breast milk to your baby? For starters, it's highly unlikely that your baby can't tolerate breast milk; allergic reactions from human milk are extremely rare. While uncommon, some babies react to allergens passed through breast milk-for example, cow milk protein or protein in peanuts. If your family has a history of food allergies, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises avoiding peanuts during the nursing period to lower your baby's peanut allergy risk. If you suspect an allergy, never make the diagnosis yourself! Talk to your doctor. Then get help from a registered dietitian to help you manage any allergy and continue breast-feeding. See "FoodAllergies: Commonly Uncommon" in chapter 21.

Food Safety Issues

Food safety precautions are advised during nursing:

refer to page 449.


Consult your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter medication you're taking, even an aspirin! Most pass into breast milk in concentrations that pose no harm to your infant. But there are some exceptions.

Recreational drugs—which pass into breast milk— are never considered safe for you or your baby! See "Breast-Feeding Your Baby" in chapter 15.

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New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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