Bone Health for Breastfeeding Mothers

Author: Shannon Miller

Breastfeeding is a unique experience that affects your body in a variety of ways.

One way has to do with your bones – studies have illustrated that women often lose 3 to 5 percent of their bone mass during breastfeeding, though it is recovered after weaning.  One reason for this loss in bone mass may deal with a baby’s need for calcium.  As a baby grows and develops an increased need for calcium, the baby may draw it from the mother’s bones.  This is why when you are breastfeeding you should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium on a daily basis – more than usual.

To get your fill of calcium, seek out items like:

  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream  (if your little one doesn’t have sensitivities).
  • Vegetables of the dark green, leafy persuasion like broccoli, collard greens, and bok choy.
  • Canned sardines and salmon with bones.
  • Tofu, almonds, and corn tortillas.
  • Foods prepared with calcium, such as orange juice, cereals, and breads.

Exercise can also contribute to strong, healthy bones during breast-feeding, particularly weight-bearing exercise.  Some good examples include:

  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Dancing
  • Weight training

TIP:  Though your baby is your number one priority, don’t forget about you and your own health, Mom.

Source: “Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Bone Health.”  National Institute’s of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center website.   

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