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Breastfeeding - self-care

Nursing mothers - self-care; Breast feeding - self-care

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As a breastfeeding mother, know how to take care of yourself. Keeping yourself well is the best thing for breastfeeding your baby. Here are some tips about taking care of yourself.

Eat to Stay Healthy and to Feed Your Baby

You should:

Eat at least 4 servings of milk foods each day. Here are ideas for 1 serving of milk food:

Eat at least 3 servings of protein-rich foods each day. Here are ideas for 1 serving of protein:

Eat 2 to 4 servings of fruits each day. Here are ideas for 1 serving of fruit:

Eat at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day. Here are ideas for 1 serving of vegetables:

Eat about 6 servings of grains like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Here are ideas for 1 serving of grain:

Eat 1 serving of oil each day. Here are ideas for 1 serving of oil:

Drink plenty of fluids.

DO NOT worry about your food bothering your baby.

Caffeine, Alcohol, Smoking, and Breastfeeding

Small amounts of caffeine will not hurt your baby.

Avoid alcohol.

Try not to smoke. There are many ways to help you quit.

Know about your medicines and breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and Contraception

You can get pregnant when breastfeeding. DO NOT use breastfeeding for birth control.

You are less likely to get pregnant while breastfeeding if:

Talk to your provider about birth control. You have lots of choices. Condoms, diaphragm, progesterone-only pills or shots, and IUDs are safe and effective.

Breastfeeding delays the return of normal menstrual periods. Your ovaries will make an egg before you have your period so you can get pregnant before your periods begin again.


Lawrence RM, Lawrence RA. The breast and the physiology of lactation. In: Resnik R, Lockwood CJ, Moore TR, Greene MF, Copel JA, Silver RM, eds. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 11.

Niebyl JR, Weber RJ, Briggs GG. Drugs and environment agents in pregnancy and lactation: teratology, epidemiology. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 8.

Seery A. Normal infant feeding. In: Kellerman RD, Bope ET, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2018. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2018:1192-1199.


Review Date: 9/25/2018  

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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