Diets for Mom While Breastfeeding 

While pregnant, everything you eat passes to your baby in nutritional terms, and breastfeeding is no different. Making breast milk to satisfy a hungry newborn is hard work, and uses up nearly 500 calories a day, so it is important to make sure you eat well to keep up your energy levels. If you don’t eat enough, you’ll still produce good quality milk, but your energy will remain low and your body will take longer to recover from the rigors of labour.

Make sure to eat enough, and keep your energy up

Try to have one or two high energy snacks during the day, in addition to three main meals. Try a calorie dense food such as  ham or chicken sandwiches, cheese on toast, or dried fruit and nuts (as long as you don’t have any family history of allergies as it may affect your baby). Yoghurt, cereal or fresh soup are good choices too.


Increase your iron intake to fight fatigue

You may need to take iron supplement tablets if you discover you have low iron levels – they really help reduce tiredness. You can also add iron-rich foods to your breastfeeding diet, like red meat, fortified cereals, well-cooked egg yolk and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from eggs, vegetables and cereals, so don’t forget to include foods like potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppers.

Limit your diet to keep baby happy 

It’s thought that some foods can cause problems for babies when passed on through breast milk. These may include: too much gas, colic and even diarrhoea. The most common culprits are tomatoes, excessive citrus juices or fruits, garlic and raw onion, cabbage and Brussel sprouts, strawberries, mushrooms, fizzy drinks, spicy food, chocolate and many kinds of beans. You shouldn’t cut them all out completely, just eat them in moderation and exclude them if you think they are causing your baby a problem.


In certain cases sensitivity to dairy foods can cause colic symptoms in your baby. If you are considering cutting out dairy foods for a while, seek advice from a healthcare professional first, to make sure you still get the vital nutrients you and your baby need.


Another good tip is to try and avoid too much caffeine in tea, coffee, cola and other soft drinks. Otherwise you could find yourself with a jittery and wakeful baby.

Make yourself comfortable to gain confidence

It may help you to feel more confident breastfeeding in public if you practice at home first, without pillows and in different chairs. Try different types of clothing that can be easily unbuttoned, or a nursing top.


When you’re ready to try breastfeeding in public, get yourself settled into a comfortable chair with good support. If you think you’re going to feel self-conscious, sit with your back to the majority of people in the restaurant or café. A scarf or muslin cloth can help you feed more discreetly, too. Just slip it over any bare areas once your baby has latched on.


A good tip is to have a drink of water to hand – breastfeeding is thirsty work! In addition, try and avoid sitting too near a heat source as it increases your body temperature and may leave you sweaty, dehydrated or uncomfortable.

Top 5 Foods To Eat During Breastfeeding


We all know maintaining a nutritional and balanced diet during pregnancy is of paramount importance. But what about after birth? The answer is yes. It is important to fuel your body with healthy, nutrient rich breastfeeding foods after giving birth. Following the food pyramid will ensure that you get the right amount of nutritious foods. Just make sure you don’t skip out on meals as you will need all the energy you can get.  Your body will burn about 500 calories every day in producing milk, so that gives you a little wriggle room to enjoy a piece of chocolate every now and then. Here are some foods to increase breast milk:

  1. Salmon – High in omega-3 fatty acids, this will transfer to your breast milk. It is crucial to the development of your child’s eyes and brain. Salmon is high in omega-3, and low in mercury, making it a safe bet. If you’re not fond of fish, you can eat a handful of walnuts, or use omega-3 fortified eggs for breakfast.
  2. Avocados – It is not surprising that avocados are considered to be superfoods. They are full of healthy fats and fibers. These fats help you and your baby absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and are beneficial to your baby’s brain growth.
  3. Oats – Famous for increasing prolactin levels (hormone that assists your body in making milk), oats are also a great source of fiber. The fiber helps you stay fuller for longer, which is often helpful when you can barely find time to eat. Pack some oats into your morning breakfast so you can feel full throughout the day.
  4. Nuts and seeds – An easy food to snack on while you’re busy, nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats and fibers. They also help maintain milk production. Add some almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds to your diet and derive the benefits of being nutty!
  5. Brown rice – You might be considering on cutting the carbs, so that you can lose weight after pregnancy. Well, you shouldn’t! Brown rice provides your body the calories it needs to keep on producing high quality milk.

In addition to the above, you should also consider adding some other foods that are beneficial to you and your baby’s health. Apricots and dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C – and also help produce prolactin. Legumes such as black beans and kidney beans are packed with iron – and are a great source of non-animal protein.

Top 5 Foods To Avoid During Breastfeeding


Just like there are certain foods that are beneficial to you and your baby’s health, there are also some foods that won’t do much good when it comes to a breastfeeding diet. While they are not harmful in a regular diet, they might not be suitable during breastfeeding. In addition to avoiding these foods, make sure you limit alcohol and caffeine to a bare minimum. Here are some foods a diet for breastfeeding mothers should avoid:

  1. Spicy foods – Let’s face it. Hot peppers, garlic, curries, and garam masala are a great way to zing up any meal. But what may be savory to you may not be so pleasant for your baby. Spicy foods tend to change the flavor of your breast milk, so you may face difficulty in latching. Also, babies have sensitive tummies, and they may not be able to handle the heat.  We are not stopping you from adding some zing to your plate, but it could lead to an upset tummy of your little one.
  2. Peppermint, Parsley, and Sage – While these are certainly not common herbs that are used in everyday cooking, research shows that it may reduce milk supply in some women. As with everything else in life, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Cruciferous Vegetables – These include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and certain types of beans. They may be healthy, but they are also notorious for causing gas for both baby and mother.
  4. Garlic – Your breast milk will taste like the foods you have been consuming. However, most babies do not like the taste of garlic. If your baby refused the teat after you ate garlic, perhaps it’s time to start avoiding it.
  5. High-mercury fish – We recommended salmon because it is low in mercury levels. Other species, like king mackerel and swordfish can be harmful for your child as they contain high levels of mercury, which will show up in breast milk. Whenever possible, choose low mercury fish like tilapia, trout and salmon. Also, avoid sushi due to the possibility of bacteria and parasites.

In addition to the above, limit chocolate to a minimum as it contains trace amounts of caffeine. Limit coffee to 2 cups a day, or if you’re a tea person, 4 cups a day. Caffeine in these beverages can make it to your breast milk, and interfere with your baby’s sleep cycle. When it comes to alcohol, timing and moderation are key. Alcohol takes between one to two hours to metabolize, so you can enjoy one drink after your last feed, when your baby has gone to sleep for the night.  


Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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