It is the position of the gafacom that exclusive breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition and health protection for the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding with complementary foods from 6 months until at least 12 months of age is the ideal feeding pattern for infants.
Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of otitis media, gastroenteritis, respiratory illness, sudden infant death syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, obesity, and hypertension. Breastfeeding is also associated with improved maternal outcomes, including a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and postpartum depression.
The average energy costs of lactation are 500 kcal/day in the first 6 months and 400 kcal/day in the second 6 months. Excessive restriction of energy
Daily intake of adequate fluid is encouraged. Current evidence does not support that increasing or decreasing fluid intake by 25 to 50 percent impacts breast milk production
A lactating woman should avoid alcohol consumption, unless it is permitted by her physician.
Lactating women should limit their daily consumption of caffeine to two 5-oz cups of coffee.
The 2002 DRI for adequate intake of total fiber is 29 g/day for all age groups during lactation
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Consistent results from randomized control trials have shown that omega-3-fatty acid supplementation (fish oil, cod, liver oil, or docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]- rich oil) taken by pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers can increase omega-3-fatty acid levels in both breast milk and infants’ plasma phospholipids.
These positive changes in breast milk omega-3-fatty acid compositions, however, do not always show a positive effect on children’s visual acuity and cognitive development at long term follow-up.