Breastfeeding Diet for Mom
In this article:
How to build a balanced breastfeeding diet
Did you know that baby is already learning to like the foods you’re eating right now through your breastmilk? So bring on the veggies, because exposing him to a variety of healthy foods now can lead to a less picky eater later.
Here are some basic tips for a balanced breastfeeding diet:
- Make half your plate veggies and fruits. They provide the vitamins and minerals you and baby need.
- Make a quarter of your plate protein. This includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Protein is vital because it builds and repairs tissue. Many protein-rich foods are also a good source of iron.
- Make a quarter of your plate whole grains. This can be anything from whole-wheat breads to brown rice to whole-grain cereal. Whole grains have fiber, vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, which is important for baby’s development.
- Don’t forget the dairy. Dairy has calcium and vitamin D, which are important for healthy bones. Add cow’s milk, cheeses and yogurt to your diet. If you don’t eat dairy products, then be sure to get these nutrients from other sources. Options include spinach, kale, tuna, salmon or other foods fortified with these nutrients, such as soy milk.
Do I need to eat more while breastfeeding?
What if my breastfeeding diet isn't perfect?
Do I need a supplement when I'm breastfeeding?
When you’re breastfeeding, you have more of a need for some vitamins and minerals. While vitamin and mineral supplements aren’t a replacement for a healthy diet, a prenatal vitamin is generally recommended. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
Should I avoid certain foods for baby?
Most moms don’t have to worry about which foods they can and cannot eat during pregnancy, but you may have heard that you should avoid certain foods, such as broccoli or beans because they can make your baby gassy. However, a gassy baby doesn’t necessarily mean he’s reacting to something you ate. After all, formula-fed babies can get gassy too. If your baby is gassy, try these tips first before eliminating healthy foods from your diet:
- Burp them more frequently. Extra air causes gas.
- Be sure baby isn’t getting anything other than breastmilk or formula. If your baby is still a newborn, their digestive system can only handle breastmilk or formula, and anything else can lead to an upset stomach. For older infants who have started solid foods, the only other drink they need besides breastmilk or formula is water.
- Be sure they aren’t gulping air while they eat. Your milk flow may be faster than he can handle. If this is the case, try unlatching as you have a letdown, and re-latch when the flow slows. You can also try a different position.
If you still feel as though your baby’s gas is being caused by something you are eating, try keeping a log of what you eat and how baby feels. Some foods that can cause trouble include: foods with caffeine, milk and dairy foods, soy, peanuts and more. Try eliminating a suspected food and see what happens. And if you see any signs of a food allergy (such as inconsolable crying for long periods of time, rash, hives, eczema, wheezing, or stools with blood or mucus), call your baby’s pediatrician.
What (and how much) do I need to drink?
If you have any questions about alcohol or caffeine while nursing, talk to your doctor.