Nutrition for nursing mothers is not only about eating a balanced diet. Caloric intake and hydration are also important factors that nursing moms should consider.
Though breastfeeding mothers should consume a balanced diet, foods not included in the standard food pyramid can be consumed in moderation. For example, pizza and spicy ethnic dishes are safe to eat once in a while. By the same token, foods that appear to irritate the baby can be avoided during the nursing period.
Women should keep an eye on their hydration while nursing since they experience a loss of fluids due to breastfeeding. For most mothers, the standard eight cups of water per day are generally sufficient. A single cup of coffee per day as well as the occasional alcoholic beverage is safe while nursing, though mothers should hold off on feeding until the effects of either beverage are no longer felt.
Nursing moms should make room for an extra 300 to 500 calories in their diets per day, since nursing uses about that many. The exact number of replacement calories will depend on the mother's age, height, weight and activity level.
In an effort to lose pregnancy weight, nursing moms might want to start a strict diet. During this time, well-balanced nutrition is key. Fad diets, and especially those that allow for eating from just one or two food groups, might lead to nutrient deficiencies. Consult a healthcare professional before embarking on any weight loss program while nursing.