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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Nursing Nutrition

I will spare you the logistical details of nursing Basil, but I thought I would devote a few posts nursing and what I have learned since I started a month ago.

The first few days after having the baby are tough for many reasons, but I think one reason the baby is so fussy is because they are living off of colostrum, and it is such a small amount! They teach you in breastfeeding class that their stomach is only the size of a marble when they are born, but I still think they are not getting enough to eat from the colostrum. Once my milk "came in" Basil was a much happier baby!

The first week to 10 days was tough because of pain, cracking, and bleeding. Again, I will spare you the details, but let’s just say it takes some adjusting and you are going to have some discomfort and pain at first. I had to find the right position and use the lanolin ointment to help with all of those things.

Enough about me, let’s talk about what is going on with nutritional needs during lactation.

Did you know?

  • Humans produce very little colostrum, but cows produce 9 gallons!
  • It takes more calories to produce breastmilk than it did to make the baby!
  • Breastfeeding helps you lose body fat. Your body uses 100-150 calories a day from the fat you stored during pregnancy.
  • The other extra energy to produce the milk come from extra energy from food choices.
  • Most women need about 350-400 extra calories for the first six months and 400-500 extra calories for the second six months (baby is eating more)
  • Strict dieting may reduce your milk supply
  • Your calcium needs actually do not increase during lactation, but it is important to get that 1,000 mg per day you were always supposed to be getting. Take a supplement if you do not get 3 servings of dairy per day.
  • You do need more of a lot of the vitamins and minerals, so it is a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin or at least a general multivitamin daily.
  • You need about 15 cups of fluid daily, and more if you are thirsty. Keep water next to you while you are nursing. I keep a 33 oz cup next to the rocking chair at night and during the middle of the night feedings I am drinking and usually have it gone by morning.

For more information on breast feeding:

La Lache League

National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign

International Lactation Consultant Association



Stay tuned for future posts on Nursing No No’s and also Myths and Facts About Increasing Your Milk Supply

Photo on the right is of Basil last week. He looks ready to eat!

Photo of statue (in the Louvre) courtesy of celeste

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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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