Nutrition and Exercise Guidelines for Lactating Women

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After the baby's birth, gradually resume exercise, ultimately building up to your pre-pregnancy levels of duration and intensity. To lose weight after your pregnancy, do so according to the guidelines in Chapter 1 and the Navy Nutrition and Weight Control Self-Study Guide (NAVPERS 15602A). Consult your baby's pediatrician or your family physician with questions and concerns you have about your and your baby's diet. In general:

  • Energy needs are higher when breast feeding than during pregnancy. Consume adequate kcals (roughly an extra 500 kcal per day).
  • Choose nutrient dense foods (Chapter 3, page 20).
  • Drink adequate fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Consume adequate calcium (see Chapter 2).
  • Lactic acid production during exercise can affect the taste of breast milk, so breast feed prior to exercise.
  • If you drink coffee, drink less than 2 cups a day; the caffeine may cause your baby to be sleepless and irritable.
  • Avoid alcohol; alcohol enters the breast milk and can decrease the baby's appetite.
  • Avoid cigarette smoking; smoking decreases milk production.

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