After birth you and your baby will need time to learn to breastfeed. You will also need to look after yourself and your baby. Here are some tips:

  • make sleep/rest a priority
  • limit visitors, telephone calls and other interruptions during the early weeks
  • ask for help when needed
  • accept help when offered

Eating well when breastfeeding helps you to:

  • Feel your best
  • Recover from labour and birth
  • Get all the nutrients and energy you need.

Health Canada’s Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating an extra 2 to 3 servings of food each day when breastfeeding.

Balanced Meals

Eat balanced meals that include foods from at least 3 food groups and eat them throughout the day.

Food Group Recommended numbers of servings per day Choose more often
Vegetables and Fruits 7 – 9 Dark green and orange vegetables
Grain Products 6 – 8 Whole grains
Milk and Alternatives 2 – 3 (19 years of age and over)
3 – 4 (18 years of age and under)
Low fat milk products
Meat and Alternatives 2 – 3 Lean meats, alternatives, and fish

 

Tips

  • Eat small meals and snacks every 2–3 hours
  • Have easy to prepare, healthy snacks available
  • Accept help from friends and family who offer you prepared meals
  • Avoid skipping meals. This can make you feel more tired. It may also make it harder to meet your nutrition needs
  • Drink every time your baby feeds
  • Carry your water bottle in your baby’s diaper bag
  • Keep cut-up vegetables and fruit in the fridge and eat them for a quick hydrating snack

Healthy Snacks

Choose snacks that include foods from at least 2 food groups, such as:
  • Carrots and sweet green pepper strips with hummus
  • Handful of almonds and a yogurt
  • Kefir and Muesli
  • Vegetable and rice soup
  • Tortilla wrap with melted cheese

Healthy Fluid Choices

It is common to get thirsty when you are breastfeeding.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty; drink plenty of fluids throughout the day which may include:
  • Water
  • Milk (white or chocolate)
  • Fortified soy beverage
  • Soup
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  • Yogurt drink

Breastfeeding is a proven, natural, short term (6 month) method of birth control.

Breastfeeding is 98-99% effective in preventing pregnancy, but only if you follow these rules:

  1. Your baby is under 6 months
  2. Your monthly periods have not returned
  3. Your baby is fully or nearly fully breastfed
    • fully breastfed means your baby gets all food from suckling at the breast
    • nearly fully breastfed means, in addition to breastfeeding, vitamins, minerals, juice, water or any other foods are given infrequently (no more than 1 or 2 mouthfuls a day)
    • to be fully breastfed or nearly fully breastfed, your baby should be breastfed at least every 4 hours and not have more than one 6 hour stretch between breastfeeding in 24 hours

Other methods of birth control that do not affect breastfeeding include:

  • condoms (male and female)
  • spermicides
  • diaphragm – must be refitted after pregnancy
  • I.U.D. (Intra-Uterine Device)
  • vasectomy
  • tubal ligation

Speak to your health care providers for more information about birth control.

In almost all cases it is safe to continue breastfeeding if you need to take medicine. Call Motherisk (416-813-6780) or a Breastfeeding Clinics for more information.