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Eat a well-balanced diet for your health

The nutrition of a pregnant woman has a great impact on the health of her baby from its life as a fetus through adulthood. Breastmilk provides optimum nutrition for the newborn baby

One of the wonders of breast milk is that it meets your baby's nutritional needs even when you're not eating perfectly.

If, however, you eat a diet that's too low in calories or that relies on one food group at the exclusion of others, this could affect the quality and quantity of your milk

Although your baby won't be harmed by occasional dietary lapses on your part doesn't mean that you won't suffer. When you don't get the nutrients you need from your diet, your body will draw on its own reserves to the detriment of your physical well-being.


Also, you need strength and stamina to meet the physical demands of caring for a new baby. Many moms feel extra hungry while breastfeeding, which makes sense – your body is working around the clock to make breast milk for your baby. Eating small meals with healthy snacks in between (the way you may have done during pregnancy) is a good way to keep your hunger in check and your energy level high.




  • Your baby will take what he needs nutricionally. Maintain a well-balanced diet for your health
  • Keep taking your vitamins - especially a calcium supplement as well as your prenatal vitamins, at least for a few months
  • Avoid alcohol - Alcohol does enter your breast milk, and having as little as one drink may affect your milk letdown reflex. If you're going to enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink, bear in mind that it takes 2 to 3 hours for your body to eliminate the alcohol in one serving of beer or wine.
  • Include a variety of healthy foods - eat a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat at meals and be sure to include omplex carbs like whole grains and cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose good fats - "healthy" fats such as canola oil, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon, as well as avocado, olives, nuts, and seeds.
  • Take extra steps to avoid contaminants - settle for "organic" foods to avoid contamination by pesticides and insecticides and other chemicals - these can make their way into your breast milk
  • Eat fish -Omega-3 fats play an important role in brain and eye development of your developing child. Your baby will get omega-3s from your breast milk . But be picky - some types of fish contain contaminants that can be harmful to pregnant and nursing women and children.
  • Drink plenty of water and limit caffeine - When you're breastfeeding, your body needs about 16 cups of liquid a day (this includes fluid within the foods you eat, like fruits and vegetables).
  • Consider the flavors of what you eat and drink - some breastfeeding mothers claim that certain foods – like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, dairy products, chocolate, citrus, garlic, or chili pepper – make their breastfed baby gassy or irritable.
  • Calory intake - most women who are breastfeeding will need about 200 to 500 calories more than moms who aren't – which would mean a minimum of 2,000 to 2,700 calories per day.


For Baby

  • Infection-fighting: Antibodies are passed from you to your baby through your colostrum and breast milk  and can protect against Infections and illnesses such as :
    • Ear infections
    • Meningitis.
    • Diarrhea
    • Influenza
    • Herpes Simplex
    • Respiratory Syncytical Virus
    • Respiratory Infections
    • Respiratory Infections
    • Wheezing
  • Enhances Vaccine Response
  • Protection From Allergies
  • Enhances Development and Intelligence
  • Less risk of becoming overweight
  • Less risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Less risk of developing tooth decay
  • Breast milk is easily digested by a newborn and avoids digestive reactions found with some formulas
  • Breast fed babies have less frequent diarrhea or constipation.
  • Breast milk is free although you do have to supplement your diet to make sure you stay healthy and have the nutrients for healthy breast milk production.
  • You do not need all the supplies associated with bottle feeding-- no bottles, mixing, or sterilizing and no need to worry about the temperature of the milk.

For Mother

  • Helps with weight loss after child birth
  • Least expensive way to feed a baby
  • No bottle to clean and sterilise
  • Strong bonding with baby


  • Breastfeeding a child in public is frowned upon.
  • Breastfeeding may require patience and persistence to get used to the routine of breastfeeding. You may initially feel uncomfortable and awkward with breast feeding.
  • You may experience nipple soreness
  • You may experience  breast engorgement
  • You may experience  leaking breasts
  • A baby may have difficulty in "latching on" and sucking due to :
    • premature birth
    • small size
    • weak physical condition
    • sucking reflex problems
    • birth defects involving the mouth, lips or palate,
    • certain digestive problems
  • Breast feeding requires a substantial time commitment and many birth mothers are overwhelmed and exhausted by the every 2 to 3 hours, day and night, feedings. 
  • Breast feeding makes it much more difficult to be a working mother, run errands, or travel.
  • The food and liquids you eat and drink get passed onto your baby. You to be careful about what you eat and drink, especially caffeine, alcohol, and other harmful substances:
  • A birth mother may have trouble with breast feeding due to a breast infection, a breast abscess, cancer, or an inadequate milk supply. 




White spots in baby's mouth that don't look like milk or can't be wiped off



You may be suffering from thrush and will need to see the sister at a clinic, or a doctor for medication


Sore or Bleeding Nipples


Usually caused by incorrect positioning or baby not latching on correctly. Baby needs to be taking a large enough mouthful of breast tissue to get well back on the brown area of the breast known as the areola. Nipple shields can help and are easily obtainable from your pharmacy.

Don't let baby drink too long on one nipple before changing to the other side


Engorged breasts

Sometimes nursing mothers experience over-full breasts, which then restrict the flow of milk by compressing the milk ducts



Old wives remedy : put warm cabbage leaves over each breast which will "soften the breast and allow the milk to flow more easily. Many mothers report that this works!!!

Many women find a supportive nursing bra helpful. You may even want to wear one at night. Be sure it fits well and has no underwire. The underwire can cause constriction and clogged ducts.



Mastitis refers to any inflammation of the breast, sometimes with fever or bacterial infection. Symptoms include:
• Intense pain in one or both breasts
• Red, hot, or swollen breast or a hard, tender,

  reddened area on the breast
• Flulike symptoms, including fever


If you notice any of these symptoms, or if you have a cracked nipple that appears infected, see pus or blood in your milk, or detect red streaks on your breast, call your doctor.

you can and should continue breastfeeding.



There are many reasons for putting your baby onto formula :

  • Mother needs to be on medication which will be harmful to breast fed baby
  • Mother needs to return to work as soon as possible either due to finasncial needs or work responsibilities
  • Mother has an aversion to breast feeding - more common than you think!! So don't feel alone!
  • Baby has a poor sucking reflex (common in premature babies)
  • Prolonged mother-infant separation such as when baby needs medical treatmnet in hospital for a long period of time
  • Painful nursing,
  • The fear that your baby isn't getting enough milk,



  • For some parents, or when the baby has certain medical conditions, it is very important to know exactly how much their baby is receiving at each feeding, and formula/bottle-feeding allows exact measurement.
  • Foods, medications, or physical conditions in the mother are no longer a concern for the baby who is receiving formula.
  • The entire family can immediately become intimately involved in all aspects of the baby's care, including feedings, allowing the mother to get more rest.
  • Formula-fed babies actually need to eat somewhat less often since formula is less readily digested by the baby than human milk.


  • Expensive
  • Lack of maternal infection-fighting antibodies that are in breast milk
  • No formula can exactly duplicate the ideal composition of breast milk and there is greater risk of allergies to various formulas
  • Time consuming sterilisation of bottles and teats
  • Formula running out when you forget to stock up. You need to have formula available at all times and bottles must be ready.
  • Bottles may need to be warmed up before feeding - never use a microwave to heat the formula.


How much formula your baby needs

The amount of formula your baby needs each feed depends on.

  • age
  • weight
  • present rate of growth
  • number of feeds each day.


Just as a guideline only :

From 1 week to 5 or 6 months of age, formula requirements for a full term infant (i.e. not premature) can be calculated as follows:

  • 150 ml per kilo of body weight per day for example if your baby weighs 3,6 kgs, he would require approximately 540 ml per 24 hr cycle
  • Divide this figure by the number of feeds your baby has each day, to provide an estimate on how much to formula to offer at each feed. for example he would require about 75 to 80 ml PER FEED
  • It's always a good idea to add a little extra in his bottle just in case he would like a little more.)

Somewhere around the age of 5 or 6 months the amount of milk your baby requires will decrease, because of a natural slowing in the rate of growth, and the above calculations will no longer be applicable.


This natural slowing of growth can occur at a younger age for babies who gained large amounts of weight during the early months, or at a later age for babies who struggled to gain sufficient weight in the early months.


This decrease may also coincides with an increase in the amount of solid foods eaten at this age.


Although solid foods will add value to your baby's diet from 6 months, milk (breast or formula) remains the most important food for babies until 12 months, so care should be take to maintain the right balance between solids and milk.

How to choose nipples and bottles

Don't buy too many bottles of the same kind for for your new baby

Babies have very definite likes and dislakes right from the start. If you think you'd like to use a certain brand or type of bottle, buy one or two at first and see how your baby responds. You can always buy more bottles later on, or try out new brands if baby isn't happy with your initial choices.


Nipple Shape

This can be important If you want to supplement breast feeding with bottle feeding as some babies find it difficult adjusting to a narrow bottle when they are used to the wide latch of breastfeeding, and so you may want to consider buying bottles with nipples that more closely resemble the shape of the mother's breast


If you intend to formula-feed only, the shape of the bottle nipple isn't all that important as long as your baby happily drinks from it.


Nipple Flow Rate

The speed at which formula or breastmilk can come through the bottle nipple varies greatly, and some brands sell nipples designed for fast or slow flow.


Most newborns will need a slower flow nipple at first, so that they don't have to gulp and swallow air.


However, some infants may not like the slowest newborn flow nipples, so you may need to experiment a bit to find a nipple that lets your baby drink at the rate which best suits him.


As your baby growscan switch to faster flow nipples.


Bottle Materials - Glass or Plastic?

Glass baby bottles are regaining popularity because of new awareness of the chemical content in plastic bottles, and the use of microwaves for steilization of bottles.


Glass bottles are easy to care for and last a long time, but do have the inherent danger of breaking and exposing mother and child to the danger of cuts.


Plastic bottles may not last as long, but are economical and easy to find in stores.


Experts disagree on whether plastics leach harmful chemicals into baby's dinner, but if you're concerned :

  • look for BPA-free plastic bottles,
  • Avoid microwaving plastic bottles
  • Hand wash plastic bottles
  • Throw away polycarbonate baby bottles when they get cloudy or scratched.

Some babies swallow more air than others as they drink, and some babies are more plagued by tummy discomforts than others.


For babies who tend to be colicky after meals, bottles with an air vent system, or bottles with an angled shape, may help prevent as much air from being swallowed, which may in turn reduce post-meal fussiness.


If you buy a bottle with an odd shape, check to see if it is dishwasher safe, or if you can buy a special bottle brush to fit inside.


Choosing to formula feed

Formula products are designed to nutritionally simulate breast milk as closely as possible. Powdered formula is considered a safer choice. Even though they can't pass along the resistance to infection that mother's milk does, formulas provide ample nourishment for a growing baby.


Formulas are usually based on cows' milk and should be iron-fortified to prevent anemia. However, soybean formulas are excellent when baby has a milk intolerance or allergy. Talk to your baby's doctor.







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