Variety – the key to your breastfeeding diet
All of your baby’s nutrition comes directly from your breast milk. That means every crunchy salad, curry or tuna steak you eat provides them with vital vitamins. And as they taste what you taste, breastfed babies may be more adventurous when it comes to weaning1.
But it's not just your baby who will benefit from the nutritional choices you make. Eating well can help you get the energy and nutrients you need to keep going. And eating the right amount – not too much or too little – will help maintain your milk supply.
“Now is a great time to health-check your diet to make sure you’re getting the key nutrients your baby needs for optimal growth and development."
While you're breastfeeding, it's important to look after yourself too. You might find that you don’t need to make any changes to your existing diet, but as a guide, try to include the following in your breastfeeding diet plan:
- A variety of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, whether fresh, frozen, dried or tinned
- Starchy foods like wholemeal bread, pasta, rice and potatoes
- Plenty of fibre from wholegrains (cereal or bread), pulses, fruit and vegetables
- Protein from lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and pulses
- Calcium from dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt
- At least two portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish
Swap sugary foods for…
While Danish pastries, biscuits and chocolate might satisfy a sweet craving, foods high in sugar and calories often lack nutritional value. For a longer-lasting energy boost, try a handful of sunflower or pumpkin seeds with raisins, cranberries or goji berries.
Or, for something more substantial, choose a wholemeal pitta filled with salad and either lean meat, salmon, sardine or grated cheese; a bowl of high-fibre, fortified cereal with milk; or fresh fruit and yogurt.
Drinking fluids is extremely important for maintaining your breast milk production. For this reason you should aim to drink 2 litres a day – or eight glasses. Water is the very best for hydration, but you can include milk and fruit juice too.