Pregnant women spend loads of time worrying about every aspect of their baby’s development, starting with their nutrition. But here’s some food for thought: After your little one finally arrives, it is no time to let the cookie crumble. Sure, you’re exhausted, irritable, and moving 100 miles per hour, but postnatal nutrition is just as important, especially when you are breast-feeding. But good news: There’s no reason to stress about it—that’s what a prenatal vitamin is for! Although it’s called a “pre”-natal vitamin, a new mom should continue taking her supplement during this “post”-natal period, especially if she is breast-feeding, to ensure she and her baby get the nutrients they need.
Here are some specifics you need to know about your daily intake:
Protein: You should have two to three servings of protein a day; about three or four ounces of meat, fish or poultry. The Food and Drug Administration, however, recommends that nursing mothers not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish because of their high mercury content.
Calcium: The suggested daily intake of calcium for breast-feeding mothers is 1,300 milligrams per day. The best sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, calcium-fortified orange juice and calcium-fortified tofu. One cup of milk or yogurt contains 300 milligrams of calcium.
Iron: The suggested daily intake is nine milligrams from meat, poultry, some seafood, dried beans, dried fruit and egg yolks. Extra iron from your prenatal vitamin will help prevent anemia.
Vitamin C: Nursing mothers need slightly more vitamin C than they did during pregnancy, about 120 milligrams a day. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, broccoli, cantaloupe, potato, bell pepper, tomato, kiwi, cauliflower and cabbage.
Water: Drink at least eight cups of water a day. Other good liquids are juice, milk, broths, herb teas and soups. Limit your intake of highly caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and some sodas to eight ounces a day. Exercise and high temperatures will increase your need for liquids.
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