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Breastfeeding diet and nutrition for healthy mom and baby | Touro

Lauren W. Knapp, MD
Breastfeeding diet and nutrition for healthy mom and baby | Touro

Do I need a special diet for breastfeeding?

You don't have to eat a special diet to make enough milk for your baby. Also, your milk will be of good quality for your baby regardless of what you eat. But your body needs fuel to make breastmilk. So eat your fill of a variety of foods. Breastfeeding isn’t an excuse to eat and drink everything you want. But it’s not a reason to avoid favorite foods either.

Breastfeeding nutrition for mom

A healthy diet is recommended for all women and offers many benefits to the new mother. Choosing a variety of healthy foods creates a pattern for the entire family. Each family member benefits. Women who are breastfeeding need about 500 extra calories per day. Some women might need more, while others might need less. When choosing foods, use the information below as a guide to help you determine the best foods to eat while breastfeeding.

  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Fats, oils, and sweets (use sparingly)

What’s good for you?

Here are some things to do:

  • Breastfeeding women need to drink when they feel thirsty. There is no specific amount of water you need to drink to make enough milk.
  • Follow healthy eating guidelines.
  • Snack on fruit or low-fat dairy products if you’re hungry between meals.
  • If your healthcare provider recommends it, keep taking prenatal vitamins.

What are the foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

Here are other things to consider:

  • Limit fatty foods and foods that are high in sugar (cookies, cakes).
  • Be aware that what enters your body may pass into your breastmilk. Limit caffeine. It is not just in coffee. It is also in cola, tea, and chocolate.
  • Limit the amount of fish that may contain mercury, such as shark and swordfish.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider before taking any medicines. It is important to let your healthcare provider know that you are nursing. Some medicines are not safe with breastfeeding.
  • Remember: Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs also affect your breastmilk and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider.
About Dr. Knapp

  I specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology. I chose to practice OB/GYN because I value the ability to provide care to women throughout their lives, from contraception to childbearing, to menopause and beyond.

My Little Something Extra:
As a new mom myself, I look forward to connecting with my patients on both a medical and personal level.