Breastfeeding Diet

Need a Special Breastfeeding Diet?

You do not need a special breastfeeding diet in order to provide the right nutrients through your breast milk. But you do need to eat enough calories daily. Use our breastfeeding calorie calculator to work out exactly how many extra calories you should be eating. It is always a good idea to check your BMI and adjust your calorie intake accordingly.

Whether you make nourishing your body a priority or not, your body will continue to prioritize milk production. Your baby's needs will be satisfied before yours. 

The Best Breastfeeding Diet

Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding

  • Shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. They have a high mercury content.
  • Tuna. Eat no more than one tuna steak, or two 170g cans a week.
  • Coffee (limit to two cups a day). Read more about caffeine and breastfeeding here.
  • Using artificial sweeteners like saccharin.
  • Stay away from processed foods as they contain too many additives.

Extra Vitamins and Nutrients Needed

Extra vitamins & nutrients needed while breastfeeding:

  • Calcium: A minimum of 1,000mg is needed daily. Foods that contain calcium: Sesame seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, tofu and kale. You should eat four serving of any one of these every day. For babies with milk intolerances, the mothers can take a calcium supplement like calcium lactate, which contains no milk proteins.
  • Folic acid: Found in asparagus, cabbage, corn, chickpeas, spinach and orange juice.
  • Zinc: You need 20mg every day. Foods: Eggs, meat, oats, peanuts and prawns.
  • DHA & AA: These are two very important fats that are needed for your baby’s brain development. Foods that contain these fats are: Nuts, green vegetables, and fatty fish such as herring, sardines and anchovies.
  • Choline: Also needed for your baby’s brain development. Foods rich in Choline: Eggs and beef.
  • Don’t forget to add a multivitamin to your breastfeeding diet and make sure that it contains iron. Eat foods containing iron every day. For non-meat sources like breakfast cereal or green vegetables, include some vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice, in the same meal, to increase iron absorption.   Read more about breastfeeding and iron intake.-
  • Vitamin D: Foods that contain Vitamin D, to add to your breastfeeding diet: Oily fishRead more about vitamin D and breastfeeding.

Food Intolerance

Things that can irritate your baby via your breast milk

If you are convinced that something in your diet is causing your baby discomfort, you should get your baby tested for allergies before altering your diet. 

New Research on Infant Food Allergies

Resent research suggests that the introduction of "culprit allergy foods" into your baby's diet in small amounts from the age of 4 months can prevent allergic reactions later on. A mother is now encouraged to eat these foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding, unless she herself if allergic to a specific food. Some culprit foods include dairy products, nuts, fish, eggs, wheat, soy and citrus fruits. Reference for this new information: Allergies - Where are we now? & Early consumption of peanuts in infancy is associated with a low prevalence of peanut allergy.

Breastfeeding Diet Tips

  • Try to consume at least three fat servings daily. Eat healthy fats in the form of nuts and seeds and/or coconut oil or olive oil.
  • Try to drink as much clean water daily as possible.
  • Stay away from tobacco. Nicotine passes directly through the breast milk to a baby. If you cannot do this, then at least make sure that your last cigarette is an hour apart from your next feeding session.
  • Stay away from excessive alcohol intake, as it may retard your baby’s growth. 
  • Stay away from any drugs that are not proscribed by your doctor, such as laxatives. 
  • Try to stay away from excess sugary or salty foods.
  • New scientific studies show that a breastfeeding diet containing organic dairy and meat products, instead of conventional products, increases the fatty acid content in breast milk.

Postpartum Weight Loss

Breastfeeding and weight loss

Your baby will be consuming between 500 to 800 calories from your breast milk each day. Most mothers lose weight after having a baby. Some lose all postpartum weight after just a month. But others say they just don't seem to lose the extra pounds while still breastfeeding.

It appears to be up to the mother's body, her lifestyle and her diet. Genetics may also play a role.

Read more about postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding.

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