5 Nutrition Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 | Comments Off on 5 Nutrition Tips for Breastfeeding Moms


So you’re a new mom who’s made the decision to breastfeed—congratulations! Breastfeeding offers many long-term benefits to mom and baby, including reduced incidence of postpartum depression, reduced rate of infant mortality and illness, higher IQ scores later in childhood, greater attachment bond between mother and baby, and reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer in mom.

While we hope you and your baby reap only the rewards of breastfeeding, we know how challenging it can be too. From latching and supply issues to mastitis and food sensitivities, you may encounter a few road-blocks on your breastfeeding journey. If you’re facing breastfeeding challenges, contacting your local La Leche League or the lactation consultants at your delivering hospital or midwifery center are great places to start getting support. In the mean time, here are 5 nutrition tips for breastfeeding moms to help set you—and your baby—up for nursing success!Baby's Own Room

  1. Eat Enough Calories
    Believe it or not, breastfeeding moms need even more calories than pregnant women. On average, breastfeeding can burn anywhere between 400 and 1000 calories per day, depending on how much your little one eats. To ensure that your supply stays up and that you, the mama, are getting enough nutrients and calories for yourself, make sure you eat at least 500 extra calories per day.
  1. Make Your Calories Count
    Many breastfeeding new moms find that the major hormone shift that occurs after birth leaves them queasy and kills their appetite, much like in early pregnancy. Additionally, a lot of new moms find that they barely have time to eat, and it’s easy to forget to feed yourself when caring for an newborn. Because you may not be on top of snacking and meals, when you do eat make sure your calories count. Healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables are great choices. Think mashed avocado on toast, “green” smoothies with an added scoop of almond butter or coconut oil, and a handful of almonds with a piece of fruit. One avocado alone contains around 250 calories, most of which come from good fats!
  1. Drink A LOT
    As we said, it can be easy to forget that mom needs taking care of, too, when there’s a new baby in the house. Enlist the support of your spouse, parent, postpartum doula, or whoever is around to help you remember to drink lots and lots of water. Those giant water cups hospitals give out in the maternity ward come in handy when you don’t have time to get up and down from the couch between nursing sessions to refill a measly 8 oz glass.
  1. Choose Foods Rich in Iron, Vitamin D, and Calcium
    These three nutrients are essential for the health of new mom and baby, and they also help stabilize your mood and hormones. Go for foods like beans, leafy green veggies, and yogurt. Because many babies are born with milk-protein allergies (and because you may need a little help getting your gut health back to normal, depending on how your delivery went), yogurt is a better choice than milk or cheese because it contains less of the irritating sugars and proteins that give babies gas, reflux, and colic. (Please note: before starting any kind of supplement while breastfeeding, ALWAYS check with your health care provider as well as your child’s).
  1. Avoid Highly Allergenic Foods
    In the first weeks and months of motherhood, it can be helpful to avoid some of the most common allergens in food—fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, and peanuts. Many babies have sensitivities to these allergenic foods, and these sensitivities can cause painful gas, reflux, rashes, and a host of other issues if they are not identified. By starting with a clean slate, you can add these foods into your own diet one by one to ensure that your baby doesn’t react to them.

Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with the help of these tips you’ll be off to a great start and will feel happier, more rested, and more energetic. Happy nursing!



Share Button