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Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding healthy?

09/11/2006

Question:

I just had my baby and I`m breastfeeding and formula feeding but I don`t eat healthy at all right now. I want to know if even though I don`t eat healthy is my milk healthy for the baby?

I have been told that if I dont eat healthy my breast milk is like giving the baby water to eat. Is this true or not? Thanks

Answer:

Breast milk is quite stable in its content regardless of what the mother eats, that is, it contains about 20 calories per oz and has the right proportion of fat, protein and carbohydrate, regardless of what the mother eats.

If a mother is not eating enough food, she may lose weight at first, but her milk will be getting the needed nutrients from the mother’s own body reserves. Breast milk does contain water, but is never nutritionally like water, and is always far better than formula.

Getting sick or dehydrated may cause the quantity of milk the mother is able to produce to go down, but the quality of the milk she produces remains the same. &

Note: It is important to drain the breast well at each feeding in order to get the full compliment of fat to the baby. Breast milk fat comes out last and is what helps the baby’s brain and eyes to develop well.

Congratulations on making the important decision to breast feed your baby. It is a lifelong gift.

Take care!

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati