What to eat when breast feeding

A good diet while breast feeding is important for your own health and will help to give you the additional nutrients and energy you need to feed your baby. Here is a list of foods that support your body while breast feeding, to help give you the stamina needed to care for a new baby.

  • Grain (cereal) foods

    Try wholegrain cereal varieties as they provide the most fibre and nutrients.

    Grain (cereal) foods

  • Fruit

    Aim for 2 medium pieces of fresh fruit each day.

    Fruit

  • Dairy

    Choose reduced fat milk, yoghurt and cheese. Alternatively, calcium-enriched soy and rice drinks are an option.

    Dairy

  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs or plant based alternatives(nuts and seeds)

    Peanuts and other nuts are an appropriate, convenient snack for breast feeding women.

    Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs or plant based alternatives(nuts and seeds)

  • Vegetables

    An essential part of a healthy diet but many of us do not eat enough. Aim to fill half your plate at dinner and sneak some into smoothies.

    Vegetables

  • Good hydration

    Aim for nine glasses a day, with the majority originating from water. Keep a bottle of water handy while you are breast feeding and add a squeeze of lemon juice to add interest if needed.

    Good hydration

Things to avoid eating while breast feeding

We’ve compiled a list of foods that are better left out of your diet. If you have any specific questions about foods that may affect you while breast feeding, talk to your healthcare professional or dietitian.

  • Caffeine

    passes into your breast milk so you may like to limit your intake of coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks. Babies are sensitive to caffeine and it can disrupt their sleeping patterns, leaving them irritable and unsettled. Recommendations advise that intake be restricted to a maximum of 300 mg of caffeine per day, which is about 2 cups of strong percolated coffee or 6 cups of tea).

    Caffeine

  • What about chocolate?

    Chocolate does contain caffeine and should be considered in addition to that originating from drinks. As a guide, 100g of milk chocolate contains 20mg of caffeine. Chocolate is also high in energy, sugar and saturated fat making it an occasional “extra” or treat food within a healthy diet.

    What about chocolate?

  • Avoid alcohol

    while breast feeding especially in the first month after you have your baby. Your baby drinks what you do, because the alcohol level in your blood is the same in your milk. Therefore not drinking alcohol is the safest option or expressing breast milk before consuming alcohol is the next best option.

    Avoid alcohol

  • Limit your intake of

    foods which are high in energy, saturated fat, sugar and salt. These foods, such as sweet biscuits, cakes, chips, hamburgers, pizza, cordials, soft drinks and sports drinks contain lots of energy with little nutrients your body needs, particularly while breast feeding Instead, try including them occasionally.

    Limit your intake of

  • Breast feeding requires extra energy

    and sometimes it’s difficult to maintain a healthy diet while you are out and about with a new baby. Taking a piece of fresh fruit or some mixed nuts with you can help to keep your energy levels up while you are away from home.

    Breast feeding requires extra energy

  • It can be difficult to maintain healthy food choices

    while out and about with a new baby and having a few go-to nutrient packed snacks can be helpful. Think toasted wholegrain sandwiches cut into handy triangles, single-serve low fat Greek yoghurt, or a piece of fruit with a dozen almonds. Convenient no-preparation snacks include unsalted popped corn, bananas, small cans of tuna, plain low fat milk poppers, and nut bars. Pack some in the pram or handbag to ensure you have a great choice on hand.

    It can be difficult to maintain healthy food choices

Breast feeding and medication

Always consult your healthcare professional (either your GP or pharmacist) before taking any medications whilst breast feeding.

Many prescribed medications are safe to use when you’re breast feeding. That’s because your body’s natural defence makes it difficult for most medications to pass into your milk but it’s really important to check as some can be harmful for your baby.

Advisory Service

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