Breastfeeding is great for moms and babies, but only if moms keep a healthy breastfeeding diet. The foods which are good for breastfeeding help you keep milk supply high and at the same time they don’t hurt your baby’s digesting.
You will know from this article which foods are good for breastfeeding diet, and which foods to avoid when breastfeeding.
Calories are not an issue when Breastfeeding
It’s quite common to see breastfeeding moms getting hungry more frequently than they would before having a baby. That’s because your body is working hard to produce milk. If you needed some healthy snacks in between your regular daily meals during the pregnancy, the same would be a great idea while you are breastfeeding.
According to this and this research, on average, breastfeeding moms need about 500 calories per day.
So, if you were thinking to start losing weight fast with a Keto diet, or with any other diet immediately after delivery, this might be a too early.
If you are not losing weight in the first 3 months of breastfeeding, this is totally healthy for you and your baby as your body is focused on milk supply and needs extra calories and nutrients.
Good news for breastfeeding moms: statistically, women who breastfeed, experience a natural and fast fat burning process without any extra efforts, after 3-6 months of breastfeeding (research here).
What to eat when breastfeeding?
I know you are relieved now as breastfeeding diet doesn’t seem to be hard, since we learned already that no calories restriction needed. Now let’s look at what foods are good for breastfeeding moms.
- Oatmeal.For breastfeeding diet, oatmeal is the healthiest way to stay full after breakfast, plus, it’s known to help increase your milk supply.
- Salmon.Nothing can be better to help baby’s nervoids system than salmon, rich in protein and DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. One of the best foods to eat as a breastfeeding mom, it doesn’t convert into body fat – a super healthy choice, really!
- Beans.If you don’t get too gassy after eating beans, you shouldn’t worry about the baby. Passed through breast milk, beans don’t pass any gass issues to the baby, only the important iron and proteins!
- Almonds.Again, a little remark before we recommend almonds to all breastfeeding moms, obviously for people with allergic reactions on almonds, this doesn’t work. Allergies aside, for any momma’s breastfeeding diet, almonds are great because they are rich in protein and calcium.
- Yogurt. Just like almonds, this product is packed with calcium and protein – so include yogurts into your breastfeeding diet.
- Spinach.And any other green vegetable, like broccoli or Swiss chard should be on your plate every day, especially if you are a vegan breastfeeding mom. That’s because are nutrient-dense and rich in calcium.
What foods help produce breast milk?
We already mentioned oatmeal and spinach. Both of these foods are known for increasing breast milk supply.
Other products to consider adding to your daily breastfeeding diet:
- Brewer’s Yeast. If you like smoothies for breakfast, it’s easy to add some yeast to them, it will work as a great source of energy and give body a signal to increase milk supply.
- Fenugreek. This inexpensive productcan be on your list for high milk supply not only when your supply went really low. You can take 3 capsules a day for starters, and then reduced the dose a bit to continue taking this supplement throughout all your breastfeeding period.
- Garlic. Well, it’s true that your husband might not be happy to kiss you right after you ate garlic, but your milk supply can be increased quite well if you add it to your food while breastfeeding.
- Apricots. Dried ones are fine too. They are rich in calcium and help you increase milk production.
Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding
You know now what is good for breastfeeding moms, but you might be wondering what not to eat or drink while breastfeeding.
The restrictions here are mostly to keep your baby healthy because some foods or drinks in large quantities may impact your baby’s digestion, growth or may reduce your milk supply.
During the pregnancy you probably avoided alcohol, but having an occasional glass of wine is fine for a breastfeeding mom. Just keep in mind that alcohol can go into baby’s system with breast milk. So if you had some wine and feel that it affected you at the level that you can’t drive or walk as normal, you should make a break in breastfeeding. After a glass of wine, you might want to wait for about 12 hours before you are able to breastfeed again. So, as an occasional drink alcohol can happen, but it can actually be more troublesome to maintain the regular breastfeeding cycle after this.
In moderate doses caffeine is not a no-no for breastfeeding moms. Just make sure you don’t consume more than three cups of drinks with caffeine (tea and soda including).
Another note here: it’s recommended to breastfeed before having a cup of coffee or tea, because just like alcohol, caffeine goes to the baby’s bloodstream with your milk. This way, if you have a caffeine intake about 2 hours before the next nursing session, caffeine will be gone from your blood and milk.
Be selective with Fish
I wrote earlier in this article that fish, especially salmon, is great for breastfeeding diet. However, with some kinds of fish contain neurotoxin, a pollutant that can affect baby’s brain. So, fish types to avoid while breastfeeding, according to the AAP, are shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.
You can have salmon, catfish, Pollock and shrimp about twice a week, also to be safe.
Peppermint, parsley and sage
These herbs are known to decrease breast milk supply. This means, however, that you’d have to eat about 100 grams of herbs a day to affect your milk production. But if you had a cup of mint tea or used peppermint essential oil, and feel that your milk supply reduced, it’s best to avoid these herbs for breastfeeding period.
I share healthy recipes, clean eating ideas, and meal plans for weight loss, as well as give you the best tips on wellness, pregnancy, and parenting advice.