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

What Should I Eat When I Am Breastfeeding?

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods each day.
  • Fill ½ of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
  • Fill ¼ of your plate with whole grain foods (such as brown rice, whole grain pastas and whole grain breads).
  • Fill ¼ of your plate with protein foods (such as dried beans/lentils, tofu, eggs , fish/seafood, chicken, and lean red meat).
  • Make water your drink of choice. Other healthy fluids/beverages include milk, unsweetened fortified soy beverage and soup/broth.

I’m so Busy with My New Baby, How Do I Make Sure I’m Eating Well?

  • Eat regularly throughout the day. Try not to skip meals because this can make you feel more tired.
  • Eat or snack while the baby is sleeping or napping.
  • Have healthy snacks available such as cut-up vegetables and fruit, yogurt, cheese, nuts/seeds, boiled eggs, hummus and whole grain crackers.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle when you are out and refill with water as needed.
  • Drink fluids every time your baby breastfeeds.
  • Accept help from family and friends.
  • Prepare meals in large batches, freeze and reheat for a quick meal. Freezer friendly dishes/foods (homemade or store-bought) include lasagna/baked pastas, pizzas, chili, soups, stews, curries, meatballs or burger patties, falafel or chickpea patties, perogies, wontons, and frozen mixed vegetables.

Breastfeeding is a proven, natural, short term (six 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 six 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 one or two mouthfuls a day)
    • to be fully breastfed or nearly fully breastfed, your baby should be breastfed at least every four 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)
  • Depo-Provera
  • diaphragm – must be refitted after pregnancy
  • IUD (Intrauterine Device)
  • IUS (Intrauterine System)
  • tubal ligation
  • vasectomy

Speak to your health care providers or call the Sexual Health Infoline Ontario at 416-392-2437 for more information about birth control.

In almost all cases it is safe to continue breastfeeding if you need to take medicine. Call Breastfeeding Clinics for more information.