Help & Advice – What To Eat When Breastfeeding
When eating for breastfeeding: what to eat is as much of an untouched subject as what not to eat when breastfeeding!
Dieting whilst breastfeeding is a no-no! Your baby will get out what you put into your body so if you are eating irregularly and on a calorie deficit diet, this is unlikely to sustain your baby and can affect the quality and production of milk. I’m not saying you need to eat a whole pack of biscuits, but a healthy balanced diet, and choosing the right foods will help you feel and stay healthy while increasing your milk supply and the quality of your milk. The quantity of milk doesn’t always mean good quality milk. Add an extra 300-500 calories a day whilst breastfeeding, but ensure it’s from whole, non-processed foods to keep your milk nutritionally dense. Ideally three meals and two snacks, making sure you eat between every breastfeed – feeding your milk to feed your baby.
Did you know that naturally breastfeeding can help you lose your baby weight? Remember most Mums will hold on to a little weight until they stop breastfeeding.
Eating the right foods also has a positive effect on your mood and can help to stabilise blood sugar, which is much needed when you are tired and sleep deprived.
Water! Drink plenty of it – two but ideally three litres a day. Most women feel very thirsty whilst breastfeeding so have a bottle or jug of water wherever you are feeding. Swap caffeinated coffee and teas for herbal. Fennel is well known for increasing breast milk supply.
Did you know…
Excessive acid from fruit can make a baby’s bums sore, acidity which is alkaline in our bodies stays acidic in your milk. This only bothers a percentage of newborns so if your baby is sensitive then stick to pears, apples and bananas.
If you are struggling to make the time to prepare healthy meals, try quick snack ideas such as:
- Unsalted nuts, eggs scrambled, poached or omelette. They are all good sources of protein.
- Rice cakes, corn cakes or Ryvita with cottage cheese and tomato or topped with peanut butter, carrot with hummus, wholemeal pita bread stuffed with ham and cheese, salmon or tuna with salad.
- Oily fish such as smoked salmon and mackerel are a good source of vitamins A and D as well as Omega 3 which is good for the quality of your milk and baby’s development. Eating good fats are important. Try avocado on sourdough toast with olive oil, black pepper and lime or a good old fashioned jacket potato with healthy fillings.
- Make a salad bowl in the morning packed with nuts and seeds to dip into throughout the day. My favourite at the moment is spinach, tomato, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, pumpkin seeds, avocado and prawns with a wedge of lime – yummy!
- Make sure you get enough calcium and iron by eating lots of spinach, kale and occasionally red meat.
- Use a NutriBullet to create a smoothie crammed full of goodness, including almond or coconut milk, banana, berries, nuts and seeds.
- My new favourite breakfast is a big bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt topped with berries, mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower and chia seeds.
Often the bigger your baby’s appetite, the hungrier you will feel so rest assured you need to eat that big bowl of pasta for dinner and have a little chocolate too if you feel like it!
I must also point out that rest and sleep is as important for your health, recovery, milk supply and emotional balance whilst breastfeeding a newborn, so make sure you have a nap during the day and go to bed early at night to ensure that you stay happy, healthy and enjoying your baby.
Hi I’m Charmian Mead, author of the best selling parenting book 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine, parent coach and lactation consultant. I offer lactation and breastfeeding support to new Mums. As a breastfeeding councillor / Consultant I can help you achieve a breastfeeding routine.