Top tips for healthy eating whilst breastfeeding

As a rule follow the common sense food choices that you adopted when you were pregnant. Check out our blog on eating choices whilst pregnant. You only need an average of 500Kcals more as a breastfeeding mums so sensible choices is best.
  • Eating a variety of foods will help your baby to acquire different tastes as occasionally the spices and herbs can influence the taste of your milk.
  • Eating lots of fresh foods vegetables and fruit is key and as it minimises the use of processed foods and ready meals it will cut down on hidden sugars, salt and preservatives.
  • Eat 5 portions a day of fruit and vegetables each day
  • If time is an issue prepare some meals in advance and freeze – double up on the basics such as bolognaise that can be used as a base for spaghetti, chilli, curry’s , shepherd’s pie
  • Use left-over vegetables and odds and ends to do soups and stews that are rich and jam packed of vitamins and minerals. These too can be frozen

What should I eat

  • It is good to have a variety of main food sources but having a good balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates and fibre  is essential.
  • Having a good calcium intake helps you to look after your bones and teeth  as well as in your milk.  you can find calcium in dairy, – semi skimmed milk, low fat yogurts cheese,  fortified cereals
  • Protein is important to help with your immunity as well as cell and tissue repair and growth. Having a balance of meat, fish is also advisable.
  • Eating 2 portions of oily fish a week is also important as it helps your milk to be rich in essential fatty acids but also helps to keep you in good mental health. Research now supports that eating omega rich foods protects mums against low mood and may enhance mental well-being.
  • Having energy rich snacks can help eating on the go. Make a sandwich for lunch in the morning, nuts and dried fruit can be taken out with you in your bag, and always have a bottle of water as feeding is thirsty work.

Any cautions

  • Monitor your caffeine intake – check our blog eating in pregnancy on how much is in coffee, can of coke etc but a general rule is 2 cups of instant coffee ( less if you use filter or expresso) 4 cups of tea.
  • It is best to avoid alcohol whilst breastfeeding as small amount of alcohol passes through your milk. It is unlikely that having an occasional drink will harm your baby , it may affect how your baby feeds as they may be more sleepy etc. so when breastfeeding it’s advisable to be sensible and drink  small amounts – eg. no more than one or two units , once or twice a week.

However if on a special occasion you choose to drink more you may want to express milk in advance for your baby sitter

  • If you are finding that your lo is experiencing fussiness and colic occasionally it may be as a result of what is in your diet. Some vegetables, drinks, chocolate  and dairy  can make lo a little more gassy and fretful, so see if what you eat influences the next day but don’t exclude foods without seeking advice from your health professional.

Anything I should avoid?

  • Adopting the same food hygiene and food choices is also advisable as you were when you were expecting. There is nothing worse than getting food poisoning and having to look after and feed a new baby. Wash fresh fruit and vegetables thoroughly, cook your meats thoroughly and make sure that all the juices are clear.
  • Dieting – crash diets are not a good idea. If you want to shift the extra pounds by breastfeeding you will burn these. Increase your activity and try power walking with your little one in the pram. Some healthy eating / diet groups provide plans that support breastfeeding mums and these are better to follow.

Supplements

  • Vitamin D supplements is recommended for all breastfeeding mums
  • If you are vegan then also Vitamin B12 supplements.
  • There are supplements for breastfeeding mothers on the market but if you adopt a healthy nutritious diet you will find that you are getting most of the minerals and vitamins in your diet.