Eating well while breastfeeding

Our Healthcare Professional explains why it’s important when you’re breastfeeding to continue with the varied and healthy diet you were following in pregnancy.
Making breast milk to satisfy a hungry newborn is hard work and uses up a lot of energy – about 500 calories a day. Try to eat a little more than you normally would to keep your energy levels up. If you under-eat, your body will still make good quality milk for your baby, but you will feel sapped of energy and it can slow down your body’s recovery from labor.

You may need to eat more depending on how active you are

Try to have one or two high energy snacks during the day, in addition to your meals. For example, a ham or chicken sandwich, cheese on toast, dried fruit and nuts (you may wish to avoid peanuts if there is a family history of allergy), yogurt, a bowl of cereal with 2% milk or fresh soups.

Consult your healthcare professional about whether you need a iron supplement if you have low iron levels. If the level of iron in your blood is low the supplement can help reduce tiredness. Iron rich foods include red meat, fortified cereals, well cooked egg yolk and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from eggs, vegetables and cereals, so include foods rich in vitamin C, such as potatoes, citrus fruit, tomatoes and peppers.

Foods that should be eaten in moderation

Some foods are suspected of causing problems for babies when passed on through breast milk, possibly causing excessive gas, colic symptoms and even diarrhoea. The common culprits are tomatoes, excessive citrus juice or fruit, garlic and raw onion, cabbage and brussels sprouts, strawberries, mushrooms, fizzy drinks, spicy food, chocolate and all kinds of beans. You shouldn’t completely cut out these foods but eat them in moderation, and only exclude them if you think they are causing your baby a problem.

Sometimes, sensitivity to dairy foods can cause colic type symptoms in your baby. If you are considering cutting out dairy foods for a few weeks, seek guidance from a Healthcare Professional first to ensure you continue to eat a well balanced diet containing all the necessary nutrients.

Try to avoid too much caffeine in tea, coffee, cola and other soft drinks. It can make your baby jittery and wakeful.

Quick video answers

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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