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Dos and Don’ts of breastfeeding – what am I allowed to do?

Once their long-awaited baby has finally arrived and it is time to establish breastfeeding, many new mothers feel insecure. What should I eat and drink, what should I avoid? Can I exercise? Our guide contains some important tips on breastfeeding.

Your diet while breastfeeding

If your baby is breastfed, a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for both of you. Very likely, you will be hungrier than normal as your body is using up more calories with breastfeeding. Fruit, vegetables, wholegrain and dairy products, lean meat and fish provide you and your baby with essential nutrients.

According to popular “wisdom”, pulses and onions may cause wind, tomatoes and lemons may cause a sore bottom – but bear in mind that there is no scientific basis for any of this. Make sure you don’t miss out on certain foods unnecessarily – test different foods in small quantities to find out what is good for your baby and what isn’t.

If you crave a sweet treat, try snacking on fruit, fruit salad and dried fruit (maybe mixed with yogurt or quark). A HiPP fruit jar also makes a perfect pick-me-up during the day.

If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and still want to breastfeed, please talk to your midwife or GP.

Fluid intake when breastfeeding

When breastfeeding, you lose more fluids and it is therefore particularly important to drink sufficient amounts, ideally two to three litres a day. We recommend still water, unsweetened herbal teas such as HiPP breastfeeding tea or, as an alternative, a glass of juice diluted with mineral water. You don’t have to cut out your morning coffee completely, but make sure you don’t drink more than two or three cups a day. Watch out for your baby showing signs of restlessness after you have had coffee – some babies react even to small amounts of caffeine.

Alcohol and nicotine should be avoided completely while breastfeeding.

Exercise while breastfeeding

The old adage that exercise reduces the body’s milk production is untrue. However, it is recommended to wait six to eight weeks after the birth before taking up exercise again. After this point, exercise in moderation is fine – just make sure you don’t wear yourself out completely as this may affect the taste of your milk. This does not mean that your milk will go sour or spoil, just that it will taste slightly different. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you!

Medication

Always talk to your GP before taking medication while breastfeeding. Some types of medication are suitable for breastfeeding mothers; others are best avoided.