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Diet and fluids

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Recreational drugs

Medications and herbs

Diet and fluids

During pregnancy, a woman's body naturally stores approximately 4 kilograms of body fat, in preparation for breastfeeding. This is a design feature of Mother Nature's, to provide the baby with up to 4 to 6 months of breast milk and ensuring their survival, even if their mother is deprived of food in famine conditions. Women who breastfeed will tend to lose this extra weight after the birth more rapidly than women who bottle feed. This is because breast milk is very high in calories and draws on the woman's fat stores, as well as what she eats, to create milk for her baby. As one mother commented, "It's the only time in my life that the calories are coming out of my nipples, instead of going to my thighs!!"

Many women who breastfeed will talk about feeling 'ravenous' in the weeks and months after the birth. Their heartburn has gone, and their appetite is keen. It is important for breastfeeding women to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates (breads, rice, pasta, cereals, potatoes and possibly some sugars), however, you do not need to 'eat for two', as your body's fat stores will complement your diet. On the other hand, you should try not to skip meals either. Many women find that snacking on small, frequent meals throughout the day feels better than 3 large meals. Women breastfeeding twins or more usually find that their appetite has them eating a little more than what they may be used to. This is normal, as the body keeps up with the milk supply of feeding two or three babies. You may wish to revise a healthy diet.

If you have a well-balanced diet, it is usually not necessary to supplement with additional vitamins. If you are breastfeeding, make sure you check any high daily doses of vitamins with your caregiver, as these can pass through your breast milk and may not be good for your baby.

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