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Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding

Being a mom can be a heavy task, especially for the new ones. Taking care of your precious baby, feeding it, Looking after every small need – the list goes on. Eating the right foods is very important in this period, for every lactating mom. So, what foods can you eat while breastfeeding a newborn?

Many women struggle to select the right ones. The experience can be overwhelming, adding more weights on our backs. One diet plan may not work for everyone. We want to reduce this problem once and for all.

We have listed the foods to eat when you breastfeed. In this article, we will have a full discussion on a mom’s diet – what and whatnot. Stay tuned to learn more about it.

Breastfeeding – an Important Part of Motherhood

Motherhood is a blessing as well as a tough job for most mothers. The nine months and more journey of pain and discomfort, still women won’t skip a beat to do it. Breastfeeding can be quite a challenge, particularly during the first five to six weeks. The period is called the puerperium.

Mom breastfeeding and Happy Face

image credit: stock.adobe.com

Many new parents and caregivers feel so overwhelmed that they tend to neglect their eating. Others may worry about foods to eat or avoid while breastfeeding, and it is an obvious issue.  Making time for your own means shortening time away from your little one. Oh, what a dilemma!

The health of a baby solely depends on the health of the mother. So, caring for yourself is caring for your baby. No need to feel guilty about that. Proper diet and lifestyle ensure enough energy and emotional support you need for the baby. Always try to eat good foods. While breastfeeding newborn, always practice feed on-demand method.

Breastfeeding Diet Plan:

A healthy breastfeeding diet is essential for both the mother and the baby. As absurd it may sound, the diet is the same as any nutritious diet when you are not breastfeeding. Your regular foods can be included. The main difference is more energy requirements. Choose foods to eat while breastfeeding for the baby that serves at least 700-800 additional calories.

While breastfeeding, your baby consumes 450 to 500 extra calories per day. What is the ideal diet for breastfeeding mothers to increase milk? Well, foods with specific nutrients. For example iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, vitamin D, etc. Secondly, choosing from a wide variety of foods is also helpful. It will expose your newborn to different tastes and textures. This is a healthy practice to build up more receptive to solid foods during the wearing period. The list of foods to eat while breastfeeding is given in the respective section.

So, summarizing the breastfeeding diet menu can be:

  • Energy requirement: Basal need+ (700-800) kcal
  • Food distribution: 55-65% from carbohydrate, 20-35% from protein and the rest from fats
  • Iron: 250 micrograms
  • Calcium: 1000 mg
  • Vitamin A: 1 MIU
  • Vitamin D: 100 micrograms

Editor Tip: Read CDC Guidelines For Breastfeeding Mothers.

Which Foods You Can Eat During Breastfeeding?

As long as you are eating enough calories and are getting all the nutrition your body needs such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals – you will be fine. Even if you are on a vegetarian and vegan diet while breastfeeding you should make sure to get plenty of vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. So, choose foods or supplements that will keep you topped up with these vital nutrients.

To be honest, there are no superfoods to eat while breastfeeding. The list of best foods to eat while breastfeeding is given in the following:

Fresh Fruits

Fruits are a rich source of many nutrients. They may also help relieve constipation, which some people experience after giving birth. You should add about 2 portions of fruit per day. Mix different fruits for taste.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following fruits as these are great sources of potassium, and also contain vitamin A: cantaloupe, honeydew melon, banana, mangoes, apricots, prunes, oranges, and grapefruit. Is your baby is constipated after feeding? Try these foods to eat while breastfeeding to make baby poop.

Vegetables

If you are on an exclusive breastfeeding schedule, you should include green vegetables to your diet. The milk production depends on available vitamins and minerals in your body, nonetheless, vegetables are the source. Try to eat at least 3 cups of vegetables per day that equivalent of 250 grams. If you bottle-feed your baby with breastfeeding, just add 2.5 cups or 235 grams of vegetables.

Vegetables are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Eating a sufficient quantity will help your body to replenish the losses of pregnancy. The USDA recommended the best vegetarian foods to eat while breastfeeding is: Spinach, cooked green bean, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, tomato, red sweet pepper, etc.

Some even say vegetables are the foods to eat while breastfeeding to avoid colic. Because they are high in cellulose and dietary fibers, making baby’s poop softer.

Grains

For proper milk production, you need to take an additional amount of carbs. Grains are a good source of complex but easily digestible sugars. Grain offers vital nutrients, especially whole grains. Foods like brown rice and pure wheat are great for you. If you are on exclusive breastfeeding, add 8 ounce or 75 grams of whole grains per day. For formula feeding, add 6 oz or 46 grams.

Grains are the foods to eat while breastfeeding to help baby sleep. Because the baby will be well-fed throughout the night. Few grains, such as quinoa, contain protein, essential for breastfeeding. Fortified cereal formula can be a good alternative. It provides added nutrients. Doctors recommend choosing the whole-grain cereals without added sugar.

Protein

Protein is the building unit of your body. To fulfill the body’s muscle and tissue loss during pregnancy, you need an extra 25 grams of protein per day and it should be 20-30 of total calories. The health experts recommended adding protein with every meal.

The USDA recommends the following sources of protein: beans and peas, nuts and seeds, lean beef, pork, lamb, oysters, crab, mussels, etc. some say proteins are foods to eat while breastfeeding to make baby gain weight rapidly.

Dairy Products

Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can steal your precious calcium from the bones. This puts you at an increased risk of osteoporosis, a bone deforming disease.  If you do not get enough calcium and vitamin D, your baby will suffer, too. Dairy products, such as cottage cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D.

For breastfeeding moms, the requirement is a minimum of 2 glasses of dairy products each day. If you are a vegan,  foods to eat while breastfeeding dairy-free are dark leafy greens, beans, and fortified orange juice. The CDC recommends at least one-quarter of your meal is dairy.

Nutritional Supplements

Your doctor may advise taking nutritional supplements while breastfeeding. In most cases, a well-balanced diet should be more than enough to serve all the nutrients that breastfeeding moms. However, nutritional demands can dramatically increase while breastfeeding, so, better to switch to a new source of nutrition.

It is important to note that any supplement can’t replace a regular diet. People who are breastfeeding should speak with their doctor before taking any herbal or dietary supplements. Those who have dietary restrictions or follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle must be mindful of certain vitamins and minerals deficiency. Anyone who is concerned about meeting all of their nutritional needs should speak to a dietician.

Miscellaneous

We must shed light on a thing, not every food may work for you. One thing for sure, water is your best friend. It is important to drink plenty of water, particularly in the first few weeks of puerperium. The need for fluid also increases when breastfeeding. Doctors of NSH advise drinking a minimum of 1.5 liters freshwater per day.

Breast milk consists of 85% of water. So, not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration and may even affect milk supply. If you are breastfeeding, remember to drink. By keeping a bottle of water in each room in the house, you can easily drink whenever you want.

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding and Why:

During nurturing your baby, you need to be extra careful about the diet. Even, some normal foods you ate in the non-pregnant state, may be harmful to you and your baby. Some specific foods to avoid when breastfeeding babies. Some of these must be avoided throughout the exclusive breastfeeding. Others can be eaten but in a lesser amount.

We have listed the foods not to eat while breastfeeding with the adverse effects below:

  1. Foods to avoid while breastfeeding if the baby is gassy are cabbage, broccoli, turnips, kale, etc. Though these are vegetables, your baby can not digest them. Babies don’t have cellulase enzymes in the gut.
  2. Foods to eat while breastfeeding a colicky baby are complex carbohydrates like cassava, bread, pasta, etc. These foods take a longer time to digest. So, the baby has hard poop.
  3. Foods to avoid while breastfeeding to prevent constipation are fatty foods, animal fats, bread, etc. These also digest slowly and absorbs water out of poop.
  4. Foods to avoid while breastfeeding a baby with eczema and other types of allergy are peanut butter, fishes, eggplant, etc. Babies can be allergic to them. The exact cause is unknown.
  5. Foods to avoid while breastfeeding diaper rash are fishes, cow milk, salty foods, etc. These foods can cause allergic reactions in the skin.

 Why Do You Need to Choose These Foods?

Before adding or subtracting any food from your breastfeeding diet, ask yourself first. Are these foods ok to eat while breastfeeding? Your breast milk carries the flavor and nutrition of everything you eat. So by enjoying a varied breastfeeding diet and exposing your baby to different tastes, he might end up liking those flavors later down the line. If you like spicy dishes, there’s no reason to avoid them when breastfeeding either.

Young babies are often fussy or gassy, and mums naturally wonder if this is caused by something they’ve eaten. Chances are it isn’t. Research suggests the proportion of infants who are allergic to something in their mother’s breast milk is only a little over 1%. Cow’s milk, egg, corn, or soy proteins in their mum’s diet are the most common allergy culprits, rather than the spicy foods, hot sauce, or cruciferous veg that mums sometimes worry will cause a reaction. So, choose foods that you and your child can tolerate. Avoid foods that cause problems for the baby.

How to Prepare Meals For Lactating Mothers?

It can quite tempting for moms to focus on feeding your baby rather than themselves. Well, you need to make sure that you’re not just fueling up on biscuits and sweets. Maintaining a plan is tough, but if don’t do it,  your body not having any favors.

A quick trick for you. Go for easy yet nutritious meals such as scrambled eggs with spinach, or chicken stir fry with brown rice. Eating grain porridge is also a brilliant idea in the morning, as it gives you a slow release of energy from the oats and soluble fiber. Surprisingly, oats is one of the best foods to eat while breastfeeding to increase milk supply.

You can eat chopped fruit and vegetables in the fridge instead of quick snacks or chips. We advise keeping a bag of unsalted nuts in your everyday bag. Easy and fast meal, even easier than trying to peel a satsuma with one hand while breastfeeding!

Benefits of Choosing The Right Food:

Many people worry that they have to measure food portions or that missing a few nutrients will affect breastfeeding. However, people all around the world are able to produce milk with a wide variety of diets. The goal should be a well-rounded diet, not a perfect one. 

Mother eating while baby breastfeeding

Image Credit: stock.adobe.com

Choosing the right food to eat on breastfeeding can weld the following benefits:

  1. These are safe for you and your baby
  2. These help to maintain an adequate milk production
  3. No harmful effect on the growth of the baby
  4. These supply additional nutrition
  5. These help moms to get back to their normal body shape
  6. Easily digested and absorbed in the body

What Recipes You Can Follow?

Preparing foods for yourself can be a hassle. Needless to say, moms have to not just for them, but also for their whole family. So, many avoid extra steps altogether and stick to what they normally eat. Looking for recipes of easy foods to eat while breastfeeding?

Well, we have collected some easy and quick solutions. The USDA’s “MyPlate Plan for Moms” is a good book to start with. The information on the best types and amounts of food for people who are breastfeeding. You can personalize the plan according to your age, height, weight, activity levels, and lactation status.

Some easy solutions for you:

  1. Demand the assistance of your partner is a great way to share the burden. One partner can pump or breastfeed while the other prepares food.
  2. If a supportive partner is unavailable, a few easy-to-prepare meals can ensure adequate nutrition.
  3. Consuming a morning smoothie to load up on fruits and vegetables. Try blending frozen berries, a banana, and an avocado. Add more protein by adding a container of fresh yogurt.
  4. Preparing instant oatmeal as a filling, fiber-rich snack that may support healthy milk supply. To add more calories and increase protein content, use milk or yogurt instead of water.
  5. Snacking on nuts during the day. Try placing a can of nuts in a favorite breastfeeding spot.
  6. Buying pre-cut cheeses. These snacks are high in protein and very filling.
  7. Considering enrolling in a ready-meal service, or asking people to bring meals around a few times a week. Freeze any leftovers to thaw for a quick snack.

Can you Do a Diet During Breastfeeding?

Weight gain is common for moms during pregnancy. Losing weight can be a challenge. The burning question, what foods to eat while breastfeeding to help lose weight? The problem is that no proper guideline available for it.

Some suggested following the usual diet, as there is an increased demand for your body. Some of the best diet foods to eat while breastfeeding is given below:

High Protein Diet:

This will benefit in two ways. You can lose weight and replenish the lost muscle. One downside is it may take some time for your body to adjust to it and the visible result may be underwhelming. But if you follow it correctly, you will lose fats at a fast and steady rate.

Mediterranean Diet:

This diet mostly consists of plant-based foods. What makes it different from a vegan diet is that you can eat animal foods. Simply put, more greens and fewer meats. It works best for women with constipation

Himalayan Diet:

In this ancient form of the diet, the main energy source is protein instead of carbohydrates. Just max up your protein intakes, you are good to go.

One important thing – do not rush your weight loss. Losing 1.5 to 2.5 pounds per week can be a safe limit. For some women, exercise and diet both may be needed. Always consult a doctor before changing anything.

Assessing Your Diet Chart:

Well, we are in the final stage. You have completed every task. How will assess your diet, whether it’s up to your needs? To assess your diet check these criteria:

  • What types of food to eat while breastfeeding, can be an important denominator of your health. Please check back the list of foods to eat or avoid in the above section.
  • The quality and quantity of foods also important. Always eat fresh foods. Divide the meals into smaller and frequent parts.
  • Timing of meals. It should correspond to your baby’s feeding schedule.
  • The health of the baby. If you are baby is healthy and growing, your diet is surely working.
  • And most importantly, your health. If you are well and free of any disease, diet is working for you.

Bottom Line

Well, we are finally finished, aren’t we? The article on foods to eat while on breastfeeding sure was long and tedious. But, trust us, we tried to keep it short and specific, cutting down extra teats and beets. If you still have questions, please do reach out to us. We are here to help you.

We wish every mother lovely and joyous motherhood. Thanks for reading.

The FAQs About Breastfeeding Moms care

Q. What are the best foods to eat when breastfeeding?

Answer: The best foods to eat while breastfeeding is whole grains, red meat, green vegetables, parsley, eggs, etc. You can find your desired foods in the selective section in this article.

Q. What foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

Answer: Foods you should avoid while breastfeeding is cabbage, cow milk, peanut butter, fishes, etc. these foods affect the production and quality of breastmilk. Some may cause adverse effects on the baby.

Q. What foods affect breast milk?

Answer: Almost anything that you eat may affect your breast milk. Some foods improve the nutritional status of it. Some may have a negative effect on the health of the mother and her baby.

Q. What should I eat a day while breastfeeding?

Answer: You should eat foods with more than average calories and nutrients. The extra energy is necessary for good breastfeeding. You can read about more on breastfeeding diet menu in the respective section.

Q. What foods to avoid while breastfeeding a baby with diarrhea?

Answer: You must avoid cow milk and dairy products if your baby has diarrhea. Babies do not have lactase enzymes and therefore can not digest these.

Q. What foods to avoid when breastfeeding a baby with reflux?

Answer: Avoid eating foods with complex carbohydrates and saturated lipids. Such as white bread, pasta, soft drinks, etc. These secrete in breast milk and cause the reflux of the baby.

Related Important Tips For Breastfeeding Moms:

  1. Is pre workout safe while breastfeeding?
  2. Is Meal Replacement Shakes Safe for new Mom?
  3. Is it safe to drink Apple Cider Vinegar While Breastfeeding?

Hi, I'm Umme Hurayra. I am currently studying MBBS in Mymensingh Medical College. Medical science is an incredible thing. I like to share my knowledge with everyone.