A Guide to Your Diet While Breastfeeding

As a new mom, to eat well is essential for your own health and your baby’s growth during breastfeeding. Here are a few of our recommended practices:

1.Don’t try to lose weight too quickly in the first two months.

It is normal to have gained some weight during your pregnancy, and you may be eager to shed those pounds once the bun is out of the oven. However, if you’re breastfeeding, you should hold your weight loss plan off a bit longer, for losing weight too quickly might decrease your milk supply and drain your energy, both of which are needed for nursing your baby.

2.Eat a well-balanced diet

This is applicable to anyone at anytime, but you should pay extra attention to the quality and variety of food you eat during breastfeeding. It is especially important to eat a diverse range of food, as this limits the chance of you eating one particular food in large quantity, thus reducing the risk of concentrated doses of pesticides, heavy metal and other undesirable contaminants that could affect your baby’s health. A large variety of food also gives a full palette of flavours that help your baby build up a tolerance to different tastes.

3.Take your regular vitamin supplements

If you have been taking vitamins regularly, you can continue this practice while breastfeeding. Calcium, zinc, DHA and Omega-3 are all important to breastfeeding mother and babies. 

4.Watch out for the fish you eat

Cold water fish is rich in DHA and Omega-3, which are essential to baby’s brain development. But some types of fish are also high in mercury, which is detrimental to human health, especially to newborn babies. Avoid mackerel, tilefish, tuna and swordfish as they may be high in mercury. Do some extra research to find out if a particular type of fish you want to eat is considered safe.

5.Alcohol consumption

You can indulge an occasional drink or two during breastfeeding, but the general guideline is to stay off alcohol as much as possible. You could nurse first then have your drink, or store your breast milk to cover the period of time when you couldn’t feed your baby directly. If you’ve had an alcoholic drink, you should wait at least two hours before nursing your baby.

6.Limit your caffeine intake

You will need plenty of fluid while your body is producing milk. It is not necessary to measure the amount of water you drink everyday, but make sure you are well hydrated. Newborn babies can’t break down caffeine properly, so the caffeine they get from breastmilk can accumulate in their body. It is generally recommended that you limit your daily intake to 300mg, but as babies’ tolerance levels can vary greatly, you should start with smaller doses and find out what is the right amount in your particular case. 

To read more about how to diet properly during breastfeeding:

Babycenter.com, “Diet for a healthy breastfeeding mom”, available at <https://www.babycenter.com/0_diet-for-a-healthy-breastfeeding-mom_3565.bc?page=1>, accessed April 24 2017.

Whattoexpect.com, “The Breastfeeding Diet”, available at <http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-diet.aspx>, accessed April 24 2017.

breastfeeding.asn.au, “Diet and weight loss while breastfeeding”, available at <https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/common-concerns%E2%80%93mum/diet>, accessed April 24 2017.

photo by San Roy

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