Nursing moms benefit from eating a well-balanced diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals and protein-rich food, according to the California Pacific Medical Center. Drinking plenty of fluids and limiting foods with alcohol and caffeine influence the quality of the milk supply as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic, breastfeeding moms need between 400 and 500 extra calories a day. Although moms do not need to follow a special diet to nurse, healthy food choices can boost milk production. Healthy food choices include iron-rich foods, such as lentils, whole-grain cereals and dried fruits. Excellent sources of protein include eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. Nursing mothers also benefit from extra calcium. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt and dark green vegetables.
Nursing moms must watch for signs of dehydration, which include dark colored and strong-smelling urine, according to CPMC. To avoid dehydration, moms can drink between six and 10 glasses of fluid throughout the day. Water, milk and juice count toward fluid intake.
Some drinks and foods need to be limited. Alcohol, for instance, can enter the milk supply. The CPMC explains that alcohol may interfere with the release of breast milk as well. Because caffeine also enters the milk, the Mayo Clinic recommends limiting caffeinated beverages to 3 cups per day. When nursing, mothers may benefit from limiting seafood with high mercury levels, such as shark and king mackerel. Mercury potentially interferes with a baby’s nervous system development.