What Diet Is Best While Breastfeeding What Diet Is Best While Breastfeeding
If you’re a nursing mom, no doubt you’re concerned about your diet and what to eat when breastfeeding. After all, your baby is still... What Diet Is Best While Breastfeeding

If you’re a nursing mom, no doubt you’re concerned about your diet and what to eat when breastfeeding. After all, your baby is still dependent on you for nourishment just as she/he was while in the womb.

You may be anxious to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. On the other hand, you don’t want to jeopardize your milk supply with crash dieting. Friends and relatives may be telling you to eat certain foods when breastfeeding in order to produce “rich milk”, or to avoid foods that may bother baby’s tummy.

Are you wondering if nursing moms need to be on a special diet in order to produce high quality breastmilk?

The simple answer is: NO.

Studies have shown that  the milk of breastfeeding women from all around the world is nearly identical – and adequate for their own babies – despite considerably varied diets. So it’s not necessary to worry excessively about each bite of food you’re putting into your mouth. The most important factor in having a hearty milk supply is nursing baby frequently. The more baby nurses effectively, the more milk your body produces.

Are There Certain Foods To Avoid While Nursing?

You may have heard advice from friends and relatives such as: avoid “gassy” vegetables like onions or broccoli, or stay away from peanuts or milk while breastfeeding to avoid allergies in your baby. Do you need to avoid certain foods while breastfeeding?


Again, no… with a few exceptions. There are no foods that all women need to avoid while nursing. Apply the common sense test here: if a particular food caused all babies problems, then women who live in an area that use that food heavily as part of their local cuisine would have very unhappy babies! Obviously that is not the case.

There is one exception the rule: trans fats (found in hydrogenated oils, margarine, fast food and other junk food) in mom’s diet do change the fat in breastmilk. So while a mom cannot control the quantity of fat in her milk through diet, she can control the quality. Trans fats aren’t good for anyone’s health, much less a nursing baby so it’s best to avoid them completely in favor of healthier fats.

In rare instances, your baby may be sensitive to certain foods you’re eating if s/he is allergic to that food. (And some babies grow out of these sensitivities when their digestive systems mature.) If your baby is showing signs of being allergic to a food you’re eating (the most common being wheat and dairy), you might want to cut that particular food out. Don’t be too quick to assume that baby is allergic, or you will needlessly stress yourself and limit your diet without just cause. If a baby is truly allergic, there will likely be multiple symptoms (severe/frequent diaper rashes, chronic runny nose/stuffiness, projectile vomiting or reflux, etc). Suspect food allergy if a close relative has allergies. Talk with your baby’s healthcare provider about this if you’re concerned.

What about gassiness?

Gassiness is common while baby is young and his/her system is maturing. It’s rarely cause for concern. Gassiness can be helped with frequent burping, small frequent feeds and nursing baby so that the milk flows more slowly (for instance lying on your back with baby on top, tummy to tummy with you). Foods mom is eating do NOT cause gassiness in the baby. This is technically impossible because gas in mom’s system is caused by fermentation of fibers in her intestines. The fiber in mom’s intestines cannot get into her blood, hence it cannot get into the milk and cause gassiness in baby. This is an “old wive’s tale” that is unfortunately very persistent despite being patently false. At one time, people also believed the world was flat!

What Kind Of Diet Will Support Breastfeeding?

Avoid cutting too many calories while nursing. If you’re eating less than 1800 calories a day, studies show that milk supply may be affected negatively. If a mom is not eating enough calories to support breast milk production, then her body will pull from her nutrient stores in order to make milk. Obviously this isn’t an ideal situation, and mom wouldn’t want to endanger her own long-term health, so it’s important for her to continue eating the same healthy diet she ate while she was pregnant.

A nursing mom usually finds that her appetite and thirst increase while she’s breastfeeding, and she should listen to her body’s cues. Breastfeeding moms should focus on whole foods and avoid junk food for the same reasons anyone else should – so they feel better, have more energy to care for their baby and enjoy good health.

One question about healthy diet that any mom, before eating a meal or snack, should ask herself is:”Would I feed this food to my baby once he’s eating solids?” If the answer is no, then she should avoid it.

Henry Okafor

  • Brittany

    November 1, 2016 #1 Author

    I was never told exactly how important Breastfeeding was. And also I had to be induced and had to have emergency csection so it was harder for me to produce milk .

    Reply

  • Alexia boyle

    November 1, 2016 #2 Author

    A healthy diet is definitely essential when breastfeeding. I learned that early on. An unhealthy diet could easily effect your milk supply && if you have a greedy baby as mine.. YOU NEED A HEAVY SUPPLY!

    Reply

  • Brittany Gordon

    November 2, 2016 #3 Author

    Wow I didn’t know these things about breast feeding .

    Reply

  • Jessica Gregory

    November 2, 2016 #4 Author

    This definitely helps seeing as how I’ve been looking for different ways to up my supply so that I’m able to have a freezer stash.

    Reply

  • Alexis Robinson

    November 2, 2016 #5 Author

    Healthy Dieting while breastfeeding is necessary, but for me it was very difficult. Only because I was so nauseous in my pregnancy, that when I gave birth I couldnt wait to chow down lol.

    Reply

  • Niqua demary

    November 2, 2016 #7 Author

    Breastfeeding is the best thing I could have done for my baby 👶🏼 💪🏽

    Reply

  • Nana

    November 2, 2016 #8 Author

    I wish I had known the importance of eating healthy while breastfeeding.

    Reply

  • Angelica Gilchrest-Moore

    November 2, 2016 #9 Author

    Healthy eating while
    Breastfeeding is very pertinent because the baby is dependent upon the mother just as in utero for all the mothers nutrients

    Reply

  • Shauntell

    November 2, 2016 #10 Author

    I tried with my first and nothing seemed to help. Hopefully with my next one after doing more research i will be successful! Thanks for the read.

    Reply

  • Trenshayla

    November 2, 2016 #11 Author

    I have been exclusively breastfeeding for almost 6 months now and have been told from family and friends what and what not to eat. Being the first in the family to ever breastfeed I’m ore knowledgeable than any of them. This post is wonderful for every mother who have always wanted to breastfeed but didn’t because of this very reason (scared of changing their diet). Thanks again for a wonderful and informative post

    Reply

  • Gloria

    November 2, 2016 #12 Author

    Yeah I would eat healthy but make sure I don’t lose it as well .one my first child it was so hard as I lost the appetite to do so .

    Reply

  • Trenika

    November 2, 2016 #13 Author

    I could barely eat my pregnancy so it was hard…

    Reply

  • Brittany Tew

    November 2, 2016 #14 Author

    I wasn’t able to breastfeed 🙁 I couldn’t produce enough. Tried and tried and my poor baby girl kept losing weight so I had to bottle feed

    Reply

  • Brittani Davis-Dallas

    November 2, 2016 #15 Author

    I am having a problem trying to keep a good diet and work at the post office. Im guessing they dont get a lot of nursing moms because they look at me in disgust. How do or have some of you all balance work and nursing?

    Reply

  • Breyana

    November 2, 2016 #16 Author

    I had my first baby last month (9/16/16). & decided that I wanted to try breastfeeding him, started off a lil rocky but now, it works out just fine.

    Reply

  • Leonne Hennings

    November 3, 2016 #17 Author

    Eating lots of veggies and fruits is key smoothies are great for me but I love my old tasty snacks as well

    Reply

  • Angel Robinson

    November 3, 2016 #18 Author

    Wow this is something nobody ever told me now my 2 month old don’t even wants to take breast milk

    Reply

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