Breastfeeding and your diet

A healthy diet is always crucial, but it ’ s particularly authoritative if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding uses a bunch of department of energy and nutrients. It is important that your diet supplies the nutrients you need during breastfeeding, such as protein, calcium, iron and vitamins. You need these nutrients for your own health and wellbeing. Try to eat regularly and include a wide diverseness of goodly foods.

How to get your daily nutrient requirements

Breastfeeding burns up a lot of department of energy ( kilojoules ). Some of the energy will come from the fat you laid down in pregnancy. however, most women will need to eat extra snacks to meet their energy needs. A steadily weight loss back to your pre-pregnant weight should be the goal, rather than rapid weight loss. Use your appetite and burden to work out your energy needs.

Snack suggestions

ideal snacks that provide nutrients and energy include :

  • Sandwiches, bread and raisin toast
  • Milk drinks
  • Cereal with milk
  • Fruit
  • Yoghurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado
  • Cheese and biscuits
  • Dip and vegetables.


many women are very thirsty during breastfeed, a polarity that you need to drink batch. Expect to drink up to two litres a day. All fluids reckon but water is the best source of fluid, thus include a bombastic plowshare of your fluids as water system.


It is important to include plenty of protein in your diet, including :

  • Meat, fish and chicken
  • Eggs
  • Cheese and yoghurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes – for example, lentils, baked beans and split peas.


You need around four serves of calcium-rich foods daily to protect your bone strength. calcium is another major component in breast milk. good sources of calcium admit :

  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt (these are the best source of calcium)
  • Soymilk fortified with calcium – look for a brand that includes around 120mg calcium per 100ml soymilk.

If your diet does not contain enough of calcium, your body will use calcium from your bones to meet your increased needs. This may weaken your bones and increase the hazard of developing osteoporosis later in life.


pregnancy uses up your iron stores. During breastfeed, you need to rebuild your iron stores with iron-rich foods, such as :

  • Red meat, chicken and fish
  • Legumes – for example, baked beans
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Wholegrain bread and cereals
  • Green leafy vegetables.

Folate and vitamins

Breastfeeding besides increases your need for :

  • Folate – for example, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts
  • Vitamin C – for example, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruit, tomatoes, capsicum and potatoes
  • Vitamin A – for example, dark green and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and pumpkin.

Getting back to your usual weight

Although breastfeed burns up a distribute of energy ( kilojoules ), it can take several months to get back to your common weight, sol be a small patient. Some women do have a problem with extra weight unit. Tips for losing burden include :

  • Grill, steam, bake or casserole lean meat, fish and poultry.
  • Eat vegetables – at least five servings per day.
  • Eat fruit – at least two servings per day.
  • Choose low fat dairy products.
  • Use butter and margarine sparingly.
  • Avoid high fat foods, such as chips, rich desserts or greasy takeaways.
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, sweet biscuits, cakes, and lollies.
  • Exercise – for example, push the pram around the block. Build up to 30 minutes daily.
  • Enjoy healthy snacks to meet your energy needs (see above).

Foods to avoid

There is little evidence that sealed foods upset babies or give them diarrhoea or colic.

Caffeine passes into breast milk, sol large amounts of tea, coffee and cola drinks are good avoided. Drinking small amounts of drinks with caffeine ( three or less drinks a day ) should not be a problem.

Vegetarian mothers

A vegetarian diet can meet the nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mother angstrom long as it includes a variety show of foods, such as :

  • Legumes
  • Eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Fruit and vegetables.

check with a dietician to make sure your diet contains the right amount of kilojoules and nutrients. This is particularly authoritative if you follow a vegan diet.

Don’t go on a strict diet

Strict diets and skipping meals are not recommended because you could miss out on vital nutrients.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Dietitians Association of Australia Tel. 1800 812 942
  • Maternal and Child Health centre
  • Lactation consultant
  • Australian Breastfeeding Association Tel. (03) 9885 0653

Things to remember

  • It’s important to eat a diet rich in protein, iron, calcium and vitamins while you are breastfeeding.
  • If you want to lose weight, do it gradually. Don’t go on a ‘crash’ diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
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Category : Healthy