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Ask the St. Elizabeth Expert: What should mom know about eating while breastfeeding?

What should mom know about eating while breastfeeding? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Local health care providers say that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear when it comes to “foods that you should eat” to promote good health while breastfeeding.

Experts say that not all of those claims are supported by sound science.

There are lots of foods and supplements now promoted as products to help boost milk production during breastfeeding and lactation, so Local 12 asked experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare to clear up some of the confusion about what really might make a difference, and what might not, right after a baby is born.

Little Owen is barely a day old, but his mom already knows that she wants to give him nothing but the best, especially when it comes to good nutrition.

A pump allows mom to give baby breastmilk, even if she's not always able to breastfeed.

“It is a big endeavor, I did it 14 months with my first son,” said Owen’s mom, Anna Ginn.

So before leaving the hospital, Anna is getting some expert advice from Sandy Brown, who is a “lactation consultant.”

“All babies need mom’s milk, it's good for their antibodies it's good for their vision, it’s good for all their organs,” said Brown.

But what about what mom should or shouldn't eat for the perfect food during breastfeeding?

“There’s three things we ask people to limit or omit, and that is nicotine, alcohol and caffeine,” said Brown.

Brown says while a lot of foods and supplements are touted as breastmilk promoting: “Anything that is out on the market, such as oatmeal or herbs, it's all pretty anecdotal, it's not evidence based,” said Brown.

Brown says that, when it comes to really what you should eat after you give birth, it's kind of individualized to moms own needs, and she says if you want to any of these specific products they likely wouldn't hurt you, but you likely may want to consult with a lactation consultant to find out if it's the best thing for mom and baby.

“Certain foods that have a lot of spice to them if they at that during the pregnancy it flavors the amniotic fluid… So the baby will go ‘oh, I like that taste, I like that stuff,” said Brown.

And of course, who wouldn't want to give babies such as little Owen all the stuff they like?

Fluids may be the most important thing for breast milk production. Breast milk is almost 90 percent water.


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