the subcommittee and advisory committee, these recommendations are open to reconsideration as the knowledge base grows.

Diet and Vitamin-Mineral Supplementation

Lactating women should be encouraged to obtain their nutrients from a well-balanced, varied diet rather than from vitamin-mineral supplements.

  • Provide women who plan to breastfeed or who are already doing so with nutrition information that is culturally appropriate (that is, information that is sensitive to the foodways, eating practices, and health beliefs and attitudes of the cultural group). To facilitate the acquisition of this information, health care providers are encouraged to make effective use of teaching opportunities during prenatal visits, hospitalization following delivery, and routine postpartum visits for maternal or pediatric care.

  • Encourage lactating women to follow dietary guidelines that promote a generous intake of nutrients from fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, calcium-rich dairy products, and protein-rich foods such as meats, fish, and legumes. Such a diet would ordinarily supply a sufficient quantity of essential nutrients. The individual recommendations should be compatible with the woman's economic situation and food preferences. The evidence does not warrant routine vitamin-mineral supplementation of lactating women.

  • If dietary evaluation suggests that the diet does not provide the recommended amounts of one or more nutrients, encourage the woman to select and consume foods that are rich in those nutrients.

  • For women whose eating patterns lead to a very low intake of one or more nutrients, provide individualized diet counseling (preferred) or recommend nutrient supplementation (as described in Table 1-2).

  • Encourage sufficient intake of fluids—especially water, juice, and milk—to alleviate natural thirst. It is not necessary to encourage fluid intakes above this level.

  • The elimination of major nutrient sources (e.g., all dairy products) from the maternal diet to treat allergy or colic in the breastfed infant is not recommended unless there is evidence from oral elimination-challenge studies to determine whether the mother is sensitive or intolerant to the food or that the breastfed infant reacts to the foods ingested by the mother. If a key nutrient source is eliminated from the maternal diet, the mother should be counseled on how to achieve adequate nutrient intake by substituting other foods.

A Defined Health Care Plan for Lactating Women

There should be a well-defined plan for the health care of the lactating woman that includes screening for nutritional problems and providing dietary guidance. Since preparation for lactation should begin during the prenatal period, the physician, midwife, nutritionist, or other member of the obstetric



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