Are you trying to figure out how to eat a healthy diet while breastfeeding?
Here you will find some of the best breastfeeding diet tips for how to eat to keep you milk supply up, have more energy and feel your best.
This will cover the best breastfeeding foods to increase milk supply, what not to eat and some tips that can be helpful for losing weight while breastfeeding.
The advice included in this article is meant for informational purposes only. Please consult your care provider before making any changes to your diet.
What is a healthy breastfeeding diet?
A healthy breastfeeding diet includes:
- healthy fats
Much like during pregnancy there are many nutrients needed to support both you and your growing baby. So you want to make sure that you are eating a well balanced, nutrient dense diet.
Extra nutrients needed while breastfeeding:
- B vitamins
- Fatty acids and DHA
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
All of these nutrients are essential for breastfeeding Moms to eat in order to have adequate amounts in breast milk.
If your diet is lacking in these nutrients and your nutrient stores are low (from pregnancy and lifestyle), you may not even be aware of it.
We all want to make to best possible breast milk for our babies.
Which so often leads to worry about what to eat while breastfeeding.
Do you have to eat a certain diet while breastfeeding in order adequately produce enough milk?
Is your breast milk nutritious enough for your baby?
These worries and others contribute to so many Moms quitting breastfeeding.
If you are worrying, don’t.
No matter what you do, (with a few rare exceptions) you can make breast milk for your baby to grow and thrive.
You don’t have to eat a perfect diet.
But taking a mindful approach and optimizing your diet can ultimately only be beneficial for both you and your baby’s overall health.
Eating a healthy breastfeeding diet is just one way to OPTIMIZE your breast milk.
We’ll discuss a few more easy ways to optimize your breastfeeding nutrition below.
Eating a healthy breastfeeding diet contributes to a healthier Mom – mind and body.
Because when you are nourished it is easier to care for yourself, your baby and family.
You have more energy and can respond better when needed.
That’s why eating a healthy diet is so important right now as you nurse your baby.
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Breastfeeding diet tips all Moms should Know
Now that you understand why it’s important to eat healthy while breastfeeding, let talk about simple breastfeeding diet tips that can help.
Because once you understand how to eat while breastfeeding it will take away so much of the stress and anxiety you feel around what to eat.
Whether your goal is optimize your breast milk, lose weight, pump more milk or just feel healthier the tips below are a good place to start.
Tip #1 – Clean Eating while Breastfeeding
This means eating real food and as little processed food as possible. Eating clean while breastfeeding can help ensure that you are providing your baby with a high quality milk supply.
Focus on fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy grains.
Clean up your oils and opt for olive oil, coconut oil or sesame oil.
When buying boxed or processed products, look for ones with real ingredients and as little additives as possible.
Just these simple changes can make big difference in the quality of food you eat and therefore the amount of nutrients you are getting in your diet.
Remember – not everything has to be organic! It just need to be clean of chemicals and additives as possible.
If you are concerned that your breast milk may be lacking nutrients, you can get this breast milk quality test to give yourself reassurance. The cool thing is it actually tells you what nutrients you are low in so you can boost your diet accordingly.
Tip #2 – Eat milk supply boosting foods
This is perhaps the most important thing for breastfeeding moms to know.
Did you know that there are certain foods that can help you make more milk?
These lactation boosting foods are called galactagogues.
Adding more of these foods to your breastfeeding diet is an easy way to pump up your breast milk production.
The benefits of eating more lactation boosting foods:
- Help make a high quality milk supply with proper nutrients that your baby needs
- Make it easier to produce breast milk if you have low milk supply
- Help you produce more breast milk (how much milk you make or pump per session)
Check out this list of the best foods that increase milk supply so that you can start eating more of these daily.
There are even more foods that boost milk supply that can add extra nutrition to your diet.
Tip #2 – Cut the sugar
We all know too much sugar is bad for us. And it’s true while breastfeeding as well.
Eating too much sugar can cause irritability, weight gain, poor skin health and lack of energy.
Not to mention you are hungry all the time because you are feeding your body empty calories, rather than the nutrients it needs.
A good place to start is by cutting out sugary soft drinks and juices. Opt instead for water, tea or another breastfeeding friendly drink like this lactation tea latte.
Getting your sugar cravings under control is also important for jump starting postpartum weight loss.
If you are struggling with eating too much sugar try these 3 things:
Tip #3 – Go low carb – gluten free
This can be really helpful for breastfeeding Moms that are struggling to lose weight. Eating less carbs mean cutting back on breads, baked goods and pastas.
You may even opt to make the switch to gluten free.
Many Moms don’t realize how much gluten taxes their gut. Gluten is just one of the common foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Removing this inflammatory food can help to ease gut irritation especially if you regularly have digestive issues.
You’d be surprised at just how similar gluten free products can be to traditional ones that it is easy to make the switch.
Which leads to…
Tip #4 – Make healthier swaps
There are so many healthier versions of our favorite classic products now. And once hard to get health products are now more affordable and accessible than ever before.
This is one of the easiest way to improve your breastfeeding diet and nutrition.
Look for higher quality products with better ingredients.
Here are 6 healthy food swaps that can make a big difference in your breastfeeding diet:
- Switch out low fat for whole fat
- Remove trans fat for healthy fats.
- Instead of carbonated beverages – drink water or herbal tea.
- Switch out wheat flour for gluten free flour.
- Choose bone in chicken with skin over boneless, skinless chicken
Making a few simple food swaps can make a big difference in the quality of foods you are eating and therefor the amount of nutrients you get from your meals.
Tip #5 Eliminate foods that irritate your baby
So many new moms don’t realize that what you eat can affect your baby’s gentle digestive system.
That does not mean that some foods are “bad” for breastfeeding, it just means that avoiding certain foods could possible help ease discomfort in your baby….
which means a happier baby, and ultimately and happier Mama.
If your baby has issues with gas, reflux or colic you may want to take a look at this list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Eating a diet without some of these foods may seem like a challenge at first, but once you see how much happier you baby can be once you eliminate these foods, you will be convinced that it’s worth the effort.
Make sure to sign up for our email list below so that you can get healthy breastfeeding diet tips delivered to your inbox and to get your free printable!
Tip #6 – Eat more protein
Protein is super important for moms while nursing a baby.
Eating more protein can help build more muscle and strength. It is the building block of everything from bones, to skin and blood.
Plus it gives you more energy and even helps aid with weight loss.
By chowing down on more protein you give you body the fuel it needs to thrive.
3 ways to get more protein while breastfeeding:
- Find breastfeeding snacks that are high in protein
- Drink a breastfeeding protein powder daily
- Include high protein foods at every meal
Tip #7 – Find breastfeeding diet recipes
One of the best things you can do to eat a healthy breastfeeding diet is start collecting recipes.
There are many recipes specifically designed for breastfeeding mothers. Often referred to as lactation recipes, these meals can help support a healthy breastfeeding diet.
There are also many tasty recipes out there that are breastfeeding friendly.
What makes a recipe breastfeeding friendly?
- Clean eating – real food based ingredients
- Dairy free
- Soy free
- Gluten free
- Contains foods that boost milk supply
Many recipes that are categorized as Paleo, Whole 30 and Keto also make really good breastfeeding meals.
Having a breastfeeding cookbook like this one is super helpful! It has recipes for every meal (and snacks) that can help ensure that you are eating lactation foods all day long.
Breastfeeding friendly diet recipes
Check out the lactation recipe collections below for meal ideas that can help you make more breast milk.
For more healthy recipes just for breastfeeding Moms, follow our Pinterest Board below!
Tip #8 – Eat regularly with a breastfeeding meal plan
Just like during pregnancy, eating regularly is important while breastfeeding.
This means 3 full meals a day plus 2-3 snacks in between.
Don’t worry about counting calories! Just focus on eating well balanced meals with plenty of:
- healthy fats
- healthy grains
- nutrient dense vegetables
It can be hard remembering to eat breakfast lunch and dinner every day with healthy snacks in between unless you have a plan.
Check out this simple breastfeeding meal plan that you can download and print.
Tip #9 – Focus on what you can eat vs what you feel deprived of
Having a positive mindset when making dietary changes can make it less miserable.
You may feel like there is nothing you can eat, but really any meal can be made healthier and breastfeeding friendly.
There are lots of ways to indulge while breastfeeding too. Check out these desserts for breastfeeding moms (that are actually healthy).
Just focus on what you can have and how to make it the best that you can.
The more you start to enjoy your food the easier it will be to eat a clean, healthy diet while breastfeeding.
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More Breastfeeding Diet Resources
Our goal here is to help make it easier to eat healthy while breastfeeding, managing mom life and feeding your family. Check out some more great resources below.
- This breastfeeding cookbook is great if you are looking for easy, no fuss recipes with a basic meal plan.
- Trying to lose the baby weight? This program called the Postpartum Cure can help. It includes workouts, a meal plan and recipes for boosting milk supply while getting back in shape. And it comes with an awesome app.
- Find it hard to get dinner on the table with a baby? Try making freezer meals – you prep once and then have meals ready to pop in the crock pot or instant pot. This ebook has some healthy breastfeeding freezer meals that you have to try.
- If you like to learn more about breastfeeding nutrition, there is an excellent chapter on Breastfeeding in the book Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols with lots of research and citations.
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