Whether you've just had a baby, or you're 6 months down the track, you've got special health needs while breastfeeding your little one. However, it's often the case that once the baby is born, we're more likely to tend to their needs while pushing aside our own.
Keeping yourself healthy while breastfeeding means eating as much as 2000 kilojoules (500 calories) more than someone who is not breastfeeding, and ensuring you're eating plenty of nutrient-dense food. This is because even though you're no longer pregnant, requirements for vitamins and minerals are still higher when breastfeeding.
When you were pregnant, you needed 2-3 times more iron than usual i.e. 27 mg per day. After you've had your baby this target drops to 9 mg
while breastfeeding or 18 mg when not pregnant and not breastfeeding.
Although your iron needs drop dramatically while breastfeeding, it may be likely that you had trouble maintaining healthy iron levels during pregnancy. It's important to continue eating iron-rich foods each day while you're breastfeeding to help your blood iron levels, and iron stores, return to a healthy range.
If you had low iron during pregnancy, it's a good idea to have your blood haemoglobin and ferritin (iron stores) levels checked once you've had your baby. Your midwife, Plunket nurse or GP will be able to help you with this.
for a list of common iron rich foods.
for information on how to improve your iron intake.
For more information on the complete list of nutrients, for all ages and life stages, click here
Check out more information on Iron in Pregnancy here
Check out more nutrition facts and advice here