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Recommendations for a healthy breastfeeding diet

Thursday, May 5, 2016

It’s true, breastfeeding moms need more calories - 500 more calories each day in fact. If you’re breastfeeding, make sure those extra calories come from foods that will help you stay healthy, keep your energy up and best support your baby’s development needs. Experts recommend following a diet high in antioxidants, protein and other key nutrients. Wondering how that translates into your grocery list?

Woman eating healthy

What you eat matters for your baby AND you

Breastmilk is produced from the mammary glands in your breasts, not directly from the substances you eat. However, your body does draw upon the calories and nutrients you eat and uses the best of them for your breastmilk. If you aren’t eating properly, you’re putting yourself at risk of poor health.

Foods for the best breastfeeding diet

Try to work these foods into your regular diet - they are great for all women but we consider them to be breastfeeding power foods:
  • Berries esp blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
  • Oats/oatmeal
  • Flax/flaxseed
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Almonds and other nuts

Important nutrient boosts to your diet

A normal healthy diet with plenty of liquids is all most women need to keep their milk supply. However, there are some nutrients that provide a boost to your overall health, your milk supply, and a boost to your baby when they are passed on. Look for foods that are high in the following nutrients and you’ll be doing yourself and your baby a favor:

Calcium

Aim for three servings of dairy products per day. You can get calcium from milk, cheese and yogurt. Calcium-fortified juice, tofu and dark greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli are more good sources.

Vitamin D

Yes you can get Vitamin D from the sun but try to ingest some in your diet for best results. Foods high in Vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, fortified milk or orange juice, and yogurt. Some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin D.

Protein

Your best source of protein? Two or three servings of lean meat, poultry, or fish, approximately 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards) per serving. Fish in particularly are great sources because they also provide omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the growth and development of your baby’s brain. Other protein-rich foods: eggs, peanut butter, nuts and dried beans.

Iron

Lean meats and dark leafy green vegetables are good sources of iron. Other sources of iron include fish, iron-fortified cereals, and the dark meat in poultry.

Folic Acid

Spinach and other green vegetables are excellent sources of folic acid, as are citrus fruits or juices, many kinds of beans, and meat or poultry liver. You can also get folic acid from breads, cereal, and grains, which are enriched with folate in the United States.
TIP: Prenatal vitamins aren’t just for pregnancy. Continue taking them while breastfeeding to make sure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Don’t forget the water

You should pay careful attention to how much water you drink. It is easy to become dehydrated while breastfeeding and that can directly affect your milk supply. Dehydration can also make you feel rundown, making it harder to take care of yourself and your baby.

Breastfeeding Support

If you choose to breastfeed, we can help you experience enjoyable and successful feedings. From our free Breastfeeding 101 classes to our full-time lactation consultant, Northpoint Pediatrics is focused on helping moms in Central Indiana successfully breastfeed. Learn more about our breastfeeding services
Baby girl with pony tail in white