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A healthy balanced diet1

Breastfeeding women should be encouraged to follow the healthy eating guidelines to help sustain them on their journey.

  • Include 1-2 portions of oily fish every week.
  • Consider their vitamin D intake by recommending the few dietary sourches of vitamin D such as eggs and oily fish or a vitamin D supplement (5ug or 200IU).
  • Take at least 3 portions of dairy foods everyday. For women who may not tolerate dairy food, a calcium supplement may be recommended.
  • Drink lots of clear fluids while breastfeeding, at least 2 litres (or 8 glasses) each day.
  • Limit caffeine to 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks each day.
  • As small amounts of alcohol can be passed to an infant in breastmilk, therefore if a woman has consumed alcohol less than 2-3 hours before the infant is to be fed, she should express and discard breastmilk that may be tainted with alcohol before feeding the infant.
  • As infants must be protected against smoking and passive smoking due to the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome – it is recommended that mothers should never smoke in the house or expose an infant to smoke.
  • Mother needs some rest and relaxation as it will help with her milk supply. Encourage her to take some time to herself for a walk while a family member or partner minds the infant. Family members need to be aware of the importance of breastfeeding so as they offer support where it is needed. Breastfeeding support groups will also give the mother the opportunity to meet with other breastfeeding mothers where they can share their experiences and learn from each other.
  1. Food Safety Authority of Ireland (2012). Best Practice for Infant Feeding in Ireland.

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