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Published on September 01, 2014

Moms: Eat healthfully while breastfeeding

By Aynsley Anderson, Special to the Journal-World

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for moms and babies. For example, breastfeeding will:

• Help protect your baby from infection and illness.

• Give you and your baby time to be close and bond.

• Save your family money.

By making healthy food choices, you’ll help you and your baby get the nutrients you both need.

Most people can get all the nutrients they need by making healthy food choices. If you are worried about getting enough nutrients while breastfeeding, ask your health care provider about taking a multivitamin.

Make your calories count. To get the nutrients you need while breastfeeding, make sure to include these foods in your diet:

• A variety of vegetables and fruits

• Seafood, poultry, lean meats, eggs, beans and nuts

• Fat-free or low-fat milk or soy products with added calcium

• Brown rice, 100 percdnt whole-wheat bread, and other whole grains

• Fortified cereals (cereals with added iron and folic acid)

Limit foods and drinks high in “empty calories” from added sugars and solid fats. Foods and drinks with lots of empty calories include desserts, fatty meats, fried foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.

Eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood each week. Fish and shellfish have nutrients that can help your baby see and learn better. Eat seafood two to three days a week. Be sure to include a variety of healthy choices, like salmon, catfish, cod, herring, canned light tuna and white (albacore) tuna (up to 6 ounces a week).

Avoid fish that are high in mercury, especially swordfish, tilefish, shark, and king mackerel. Mercury is a metal that can hurt your baby’s development.

Drink plenty of fluids. Your body needs extra fluids, like water and fat-free or low-fat milk, when you are breastfeeding. Limit or avoid drinks that are high in caffeine or added sugars. Try drinking a glass of water every time you breastfeed.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital encourages breastfeeding, which has many health benefits for moms and babies. On average, 90 percent of new moms who deliver at LMH successfully initiate breastfeeding, compared to a statewide average of 73 percent and a national average of 76.5 percent.

In November, LMH became the first hospital in the state to qualify for designation as a High 5 for Mom & Baby Hospital. The High 5 program encourages Kansas hospitals to approach postpartum care in ways that support breastfeeding, including providing mothers options for breastfeeding support in the community.

The LMH Infant Nutrition Center is located inside the Perfect Fit retail store located on the third floor inside the Cindy Murray Family Birthing Center waiting room area. The center offers free breastfeeding support for parents who have delivered at LMH, up to two weeks after a baby’s birth. Parents who have not delivered at LMH are encouraged to take advantage of these services for a small fee.

The Perfect Fit store at LMH offers a wide variety of breastfeeding supplies and specialized pregnancy support aids including nursing bras, nursing covers, support belts and more. Breast pumps are available for purchase or rental. Additionally, the store offers infant weight checks by appointment. For more information about the Infant Nutrition Center or the Perfect Fit, call 505-2738.

LMH offers a free weekly Breastfeeding and New Parent support group every Monday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Other community resources include the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department BIBS (Breast Is Best Social) support group, which is open to anyone who is pregnant and considering breastfeeding or is breastfeeding. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday for about an hour at the health department. La Leche League of Lawrence also offers support groups in Lawrence.

—Aynsley Anderson, MA, RN, is Community Education Coordinator for Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She can be reached at aynsley.anderson@lmh.org.

Better Health

Exercise Induced Asthma-Bronchoconstriction, Amanda Gudgell, DO Pulmonary Medicine, Lawrence Pulmonary Specialists. Patients who get short of breath, chest tightness, cough about 15 minutes after vigorous exercise may have exercise induced asthma. Pay close attention to when the symptoms are occurring. 

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