What affects the content of my breastmilk?
Breastmilk and your diet
Pregnant women usually pay attention to what they ingest because whatever they eat makes its way to the baby. However breastmilk doesn’t work in that same way.
Breastmilk is produced by the mammy glands in your breast. They are not made directly by the food you eat. These glands take nutrients from your diet and from your body’s nutrient stores. If your diet does not contain enough nutrients, your mammary glands will depend on your body’s nutrients store to help provide nutritious milk for your baby. This leaves you with whatever is left to rely on.
As a result not eating well during breastfeeding may not affect your baby but will have an effect on you and put you at a risk of nutrients deficiencies. If you are concerned about your diet , talk to your health care professional about ways to improve your diet.
The mammary glands and its cells actually control how much of what you eat gets to the baby. Moderation is the key. Moderate consumption of coffee, tea, caffeinated soda, wine and alcoholic beverages is okay. However you have to know that babies are very sensitive so you need to monitor how the baby reacts. The good news is that the drug injected for epidural blocks and other regional anesthesia during delivery do not pass into breastmilk sufficiently to cause long-term problem. It may however make your baby sleepy at first.
You should notify your doctor or anesthesiologist in advance about your plans to breastfeed in cases where general anesthesia is used.
Most medications taken during breastfeeding are safe.However a few non prescription substances may cause harm to the baby. Be sure to get the approval of your doctor or pediatrician before taking any medication while nursing.
Excessive alcohol consumption as well as prescription drug or recreational drug abuse should not be encouraged. This is because enough of it could be passed on to the baby and cause serious harm.
What is in breastmilk. American Academy of pediatrics. http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/whats-in-breastmilk/. Accessed March 13, 2016
Breast-feeding nutrition: Tips for moms. Mayo Foundation. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breastfeeding-nutrition/art-20046912. Accessed March 13, 2016